Allison, Doug, Hope, Jessica, Charlie, Kate, Alana, Donn, Patty
No major constraints.
It was a cloudy misty day and almost everyone was lying supine when I walked into the studio, so I went with that. My practice this day had been a 2 hour yin/restorative in an effort to release a sticky spot in my sacrum. So my mood was mellow and relaxed.
Theme: Emphasis on feeling the breath in the whole spine with particular awareness towards the exhale.
1. Attention to Breath
a) Lye supine in Constructive Rest Pose with knees bent, feet as wide as the mat, knees falling towards each other. Hands on belly. Bring attention to using diaphragm to draw breath towards belly. Once that seems to be happening, shift awareness and attention to the exhale. With one hand on heart and one on belly, focus on the quality of releasing the breath. About 5 minutes here.
b) Supported Breathing
Roll up to sitting and place rectangular bolster behind you so that the short end is up against the sacrum and the body can lie over it. Use expanded shape to assist breath to finds nooks and crannies of ribs and lungs but then bring attention back to exhale. About 5 minutes here. When complete, roll to side and come up to sitting.
2. Attention to Tailbone
a) Cross Legged Forward Fold
With attention on moving from the tailbone, round and arch the spine a few times before folding forward. About 10 breaths. Roll up and repeat other side.
Paying attention to drawing tailbone under to round back and rolling it up to draw the legs to straight.
3. More Breathing Room
a) Side Waist Stretch
Interlock fingers in front of body. Turn palms to face away from you and bring arms over the top of the head. Lean right and left and twist hips back and forth to wiggle out of waist. Emphasizing the top side of the stretch, press up through left wrist and down through left heal as you take the body up, out and over to the right. To release, come back up to center and repeat other side.
b) Forward Fold Shoulder Stretch
Bring arms behind back and interlock fingers, stretching arms away from you. Tip tailbone up, as pelvis spills forward. Bend knees and allow the chest to rest on the thighs. Dangle your head and allow arms to reach up and away from you. To bring stretch into legs, draw tailbone up. 5 breaths or so. Bring arms back to sacrum, release interlock and roll back up.
Repeat above, but emphasize the underside of the stretches. Specifically, in the side waist stretch, lengthen the right side before bending towards the right. And in the shoulder stretch, feel the back body big before you compress it.
4. Moving with the Breath
a) Attention to tailbone
Practice drawing breath all the way to tailbone. To help establish this awareness, exaggerate the natural rhythm, allowing tailbone to lift a little on the inhale and descend a little on the exhale.
b) Quarter Salutations
Inhale arms over head, Exhale hands to the heart. About 5 rounds
c) Half Salutations
Inhale, circle arms over head. Exhale, fold forward over legs. Inhale, half arch. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, use the legs and lead with the heart as arms circle back over head. Exhale, hands to the heart. Repeat about 5 times.
d) Modified Lunge Salute
From a half sun salutation, step right foot back and bend left knee into a low lunge. Explore the action of the tailbone and then relax into the lunge for about 5 breaths to create some space in inner groin and thigh. Lift back knee and step forward into a half arch and dangle Uttanasana. Roll back up to standing. Repeat other side.
5. Warrior 2 Breath Sequence
a) Step feet wide apart for Warrior 2.
b) Turn Left foot away from you, turn right foot in.
c) Lift arms over the top of head and focus on drawing breath down to tailbone as spine lengthens.
d) Take big inhale and move into posture on exhale, bending left knee and allowing arms to open out from shoulders. Inhale and draw front leg straight, reach arms over the top of the head. Move through 5 rounds like this. Repeat on the other side.
e) Return to original side with Left foot forward.
f) Move in and out of Warrior 2 again, three rounds, holding shape at end of 3rd round. Emphasis on feeling the breath and movement of the spine in the shape. Hold at least a minute.
g) Windmill the body to release hands around left foot and move into a Twisting Lunge.
h) Release into a low wide lunge, placing left hand on the inside of the foot.
i) Organize to step forward into a half arch, folding into Uttanasana.
j) Roll up to standing.
Turn on mats to face opposite direction and repeat entire Warrior 2 breath sequence.
6. Hip Openers
Come to floor from Uttanasana into a Squat and roll onto backs.
a) Knees to Chest
On One Side
b) Hip Rotation Exploration
With left foot on floor, knee bent, allow right leg to extend up to sky. Bending the right knee slightly begin to explore the external and internal rotation of the hip. Use the foot as an indicator, but slowly direct attention and awareness to how the movement feels in the hip joint.
c) Eye of the Needle (aka Reverse Pigeon)
d) 1/2 Happy Baby
Repeat other side.
e) Supta Padangusthasana Sequence with Strap
Emphasizing the action tailbone, we explored curling the tailbone under to draw extended leg closer to face and then keeping it there, rolling hips back onto floor. Let leg open to side and then finished with the abdominal. Repeat other side.
f) Happy Baby
Explored different arm positions to help roll tailbone up and bring knees closer to head.
g) Supine Baddha Konasana Play
Pressing feet together, draw toes to third eye, rolling tailbone up off floor. Then bring heals to groin, sending knees wide. Release into Happy Baby.
h) Knees to Chest
i) Easy Spinal Twist
j) Knees to Chest
About 3 minutes to prepare for Savasana.