Class 1 - Grounding in
This Grounding Flow is all about
Presence of Mind and Body.
Not past, not future, here and now. There are lots of alignment cues to firm up your foundations, creating a sense of strength, stability, support and connectedness within yourself and in the world around you. A sense of knowing your place in the world.
As life is such a busy occasion, Getting Grounded and taking time to be present is a Vital element to finding balance in yourself and in your day. Making time to be completely present with your breath and in your surroundings cultivates mindful awareness in all aspects of your life both on and off the mat.
If you are new to Yoga Asana (Postures), they probably won't feel 'Awesome' at first!
It is common to feel a little awkward as you 'think' your way through learning the new techniques. Notice the thoughts that arise, there is often judgement and criticism of self, expectations of where you think you should be. Just notice them without becoming attached, keep bringing your awareness to your alignment and breath.
A deepening joy and great benefit comes with practice and consistency. Soon I promise they really will feel awesome!
Take just 10minutes each day for 1 week to 'Get Grounded' and notice how you progress, deepen and ENJOY the postures using simple awareness. Notice also how your relationship changes to the world around you simply by being present.
Walk in bare feet often, hug a tree, feel the earth beneath you, the breath in your body and the warm sun on your face. Enjoy!
in Sukasana – easy cross leg position. If this position is not
available to you due to knee injury, sit against a wall so that
your back is supported and legs are stretched out in front of
Close your eyes. Allow the palms to rest face down on the knees. Rock gently side to side on your sit bones connecting both it bones to the earth
From this steady seat, lengthen your spine, allowing the elbows to bend in towards your waist and the shoulders to softly glide down away from the ears. Gently lift the heart broadening your collarbones and draw your chin gently in towards your chest allowing the spine to lengthen up to your crown.
Start to follow your breath as it moves through your body. Subtly suggesting your breath travels in through the nose and down into the belly. Allow the belly to be soft and receiving and follow the breath as it moves back up and out of the nose as the navel draws in toward your spine.
Take 10 rounds of breath in this way. Maintain an awareness of your connection to the earth, a lightness in your spine, and an evenness in your breath. Sense Your Connectedness to the Earth and the constant support that it provides you.
Release the legs to straight out in front of you, pick up your right foot and place it over the left leg jut beside the knee, pressing the big toe mound into the floor. Keep the left straight and active flexing the foot.
Then take your left arm and turn towards the right knee, hooking your elbow around the knee and drawing it into your chest as the right arm stretches back to the floor behind you and supports your spine to lift and lengthen. This pose is Ardha Matsyandrasa. As you breath down into your belly, feel the organs being massaged, exhaling deeply.
Inhale lift and lengthen the spine, Exhale, draw the belly into the spine and twist, belly first then following with the ribs and finally the head looks around – without straining the neck. Take two more rounds of breath, inhaling length into the spine and exhaling twisting deeper.
Inhale back to face front and exhale release the right leg straight alongside the left with feet flexed, hip distance apart – or as wide as you need to make space for your belly to fold. With hands resting on thighs, inhale and lengthen spine, exhale and reach your chest toward your feet as you fold forward, sliding hands down toward feet, maybe catching hold of the toes, and if necessary slightly bending the knees. Without straining or pushing just meet yourself where you are, there’s no guarantee of enlightenment if you can touch your toes! Simply allow the inhale to lengthen your spine, and exhale to softly fold you further into Paschimottonasana. Hold this pose for 3 rounds of breath. Inhale uncurling, exhale. Inhale pick left foot up and place it over the right onto the floor near the right knee, ensure big toe presses into floor. Turn towards your left hooking the right elbow around the left knee and as you exhale twist from the belly to look behind you. Remember to be gentle and allow the breath to facilitate the depth of your twist, rising and lengthening with inhale and deepening with exhale. Taking 3 rounds of breath and inhale return to centre.
Make your way onto your knees, supporting the knees if necessary with a rolled up towel for extra cushioning. Step your right leg forward so that the Right ankle is directly under the right knee. Spread your toes wide and feel each of the toes and the four corners of your feet – big toe mound, little toe mound and inner and outer heel- all pressing into the floor and evenly weighted. Scoop your tail under, drawing your pubic bone up and your navel into spine, creating space in the lower back.
Hold this scoop as you inhale and grow taller in your spine, exhale and allow sit bones to move forward, opening up the left hip. The front shin moves slightly forward, keep pressing into the right foot and maintaining space in the lower back. Take 3 rounds of breath here.
Inhale lengthen spine, exhale rock back, moving sit bones behind you and hands to the floor, drawing right toes back towards you flexing the foot, you feel a strong stretch in your hamstrings- the back of the right leg, if they are very tight it is kind to bend the knee slightly to decrease the intensity as you are warming up. Inhale lengthen spine and reach chin towards the right foot, exhale soften and fold with breath. Take 3 rounds of breath in this way.
Inhale lift up, exhale bring knees back together. Repeat on Left leg. Finish with knees back together.
Bring hands to floor under shoulders with the weight slighty forward off your kneecaps. Scoop pubic bone draw navel to spine and with broad chest and eyes looking slightly ahead of you, build strength and integrity as you mindfully take your time to lower down to the floor maintaining strength in the belly – no belly flops!
Once on your belly, with legs stretched out straight, bring elbows directly underneath shoulders propping you up, hands outstretched and fingers spread wide connecting the whole hand into the floor into Sphinx pose. Press into the tops of the feet to engage the legs - the knees will lift off the floor. Scoop your navel away from floor and into spine, and gently broaden collarbones and offer your heart –like a proud lion- as the shoulder heads draw back.
Inhale and breath across the chest, exhale and turn the head to look around at the right leg, get a sense of squeezing into the kidneys and adrenal glands, nourishing, squeezing and soaking our stress glands, replenishing and calming them. Inhale to front, exhale to the left. Inhale front, exhale lower to floor. Inhale draw navel to spine, and press strong into the hands to life to knees again.
Inhale step the right leg forward as before. Get grounded though the whole foot and toe pads. With hands on hips curl the back toes under and press firmly into the front foot and back foot to lift you to a standing lunge please ensure your front knee is above your ankle and that you can see your first two toes if you look down at it – (if this is too strong for you right now, feel free to stay in a low lunge as before, honour your body and face challenges - keep practicing!).
Become very aware of your foundations, your front foot pressing into the earth, scoop pubic bone and draw navel into spine, as you shift front shin forward and drive back heel toward the floor you will feel a strong opening in the left hip. Either keep hands on hips or extend arms up above the head. Take 3 rounds of breath.
With hands to hips, Inhale and step the back foot in so that you are about 3/4stance instead of full stretch. Both feet are flat and toes face forward, feet hip distance apart. Drive the back heel down into the floor and the ball of the front foot presses in, there is energy in the legs supporting a lightness in your spine.
As you inhale lengthen your spine and exhale fold forward chin reaching towards toes. Inhale lengthening spine, exhale folding maybe releasing hands to a chair, or a block for support, or maybe to the floor.
Keep awareness in the feet and strength in the legs here in Pasvottanasana pyramid pose. Your hamstrings are probably screaming at you right now you can slightly bend the front knee to take the hit out of it if necessary. Always listen to what your body needs. Take 3 rounds of breath, then inhale up to a straight spine, exhale step back foot up to meet the right. Take a round of breath here as if drawing energy up from the earth through your feet to the crown, and sending it back down on the exhale. Step the Right leg back into a high lunge and repeat.
Find yourself stepping up to the top of your mat, feet hip distance apart. Spread the toes, press through all points of the feet evenly, scoop pubic bone, navel in, lift heart and draw shoulders down and back as spine lengthens. With the arms by your sides enliven your fingers, close your eyes and feel the breath move through your body, inhale drawing up from earth to crown of head, exhale sending it back down for 3 breaths.
Then on an exhale gently fold your body forward, draping your chest over your thighs, bending knees as much as you need to to allow the hands to touch the floor, softening the head allowing it to relax and hang like a coconut. Give it a little shake and wiggle your shoulders releasing any effort and tension. You may wish to use a block or a chair for support here if the backs of your legs (your hamstrings) are very tight. Take 3 breaths here, deeply releasing and softening and quieting on the exhale. And gently make your way back to Sukasana, easy cross leg or supported wall sit.
Bring your hands into your heart, bow the mind down to heart, and take a moment to give gratitude to yourself for taking the time to practice and gratitude for the connectedness and constant support of earth beneath you. Namaste. You have prepared your body and mind for Meditation.