We're back at the mat today and the daily dose focus of the day is concentration. So during class today we're going to concentrate and see where that takes us. As I mentioned, there are no props in this entire course with the exception of a mat and a towel because you can find a towel anywhere. So today we are going to use a towel and I've rolled mine like a little Burrito, a little thicker to support through my low back. Perhaps you'll change up the shape when we get to it. Let's get started.
So I'm going to take my feet right at the front or the front of my mat, just at the edge or maybe even a little bit off the Mat, depending on where you are. Hold onto the legs and sit tall. Settle in. Spend a couple of moments feeling both sides of your pelvis, both sitz bones equally weighted. Feel that lifting up through your center and then here, allow your legs to open and notice that you might be able to lift a little higher. Feel your heart opening. Allow your legs to come in round back through your spine. Let your shoulders come forward, let your neck stretch using your core and some arms.
Open the legs and lift a little higher with your heart. Rounding back, allow your shoulders to stretch. Allow your neck to stretch. Allow your back to stretch. I'm using my hands to keep me there and as a little bit of traction basically to allow myself to feel a little more sensation. I intend to move quite slowly today, so I hope you enjoy the very deliberate pace.
So pause for just a couple of moments with your two pelvis, two sides of your pelvis. Equally weighted. I hope you don't have to pelvises bring your legs back to center, take your Burrito, your towel burrito and place it just behind your tail a little bit back. Perhaps depending on your back flexibility, you can always make a change. Send your arms forward, Curl your pelvis underneath you and hopefully the towel is there to help hold you up a little bit. Mine is exactly where I want it to be. I'm using the towel pressing with my abdominals into the towel to feel a little bit of work and round and roll up.
So many of you might have plenty of flexibility in the low back, plenty of strength in the low back. And this is not a necessary move, but it still is quite a lovely move. Quite a lot of work in the abdominals and you can use that a resistance to create just a little bit more intention here. So breathing in and breathing out and breathing in and lifting up. So adding on here. So if you need to move your towel, we'll move your towel at any time so you can get a little bit more range perhaps. So you can go a little lower. So here I'm going to dig deep into my core. I'm going to lift one leg up easy, like put it down, lift the other leg up nice and slow.
Think about pulling your leg in against resistance. In fact, what I just did there with my hand is really quite nice. Perhaps put your hand on your thigh and create just a little bit of resistance. And one more time each side.
Adding rotation in how you use the exhale to curl back again. Find that place where you've got the towel to support to you. And we're just going to open our body up and come around. Do that same side three times. Open up and come around and open up and come around gently come back up.
Nice. So for me, with a little bit of a tightness in my low back and sometimes having a difficult time staying fully connected to my abs, this is allowing me just a little bit of support to make a slightly bigger move, opening up and come in. And one more time opening up. Come in an round and well all the way up. Allow your knees to open. Hands on your shins, sit tall, reach around and find your towel Burrito. And then we're going to place that between the legs, somewhere around the knees or the thighs, wherever it feels like a good idea.
And just make your way back onto the mat nice and slow and perhaps your low back feels a little more ready for that. Or perhaps your abdominals are a little fatigued, whatever. Whatever you sense is fine. So settle in here and try to feel that your body is aligned. It's your in position. You're ready to go for your pelvic curl.
Nice and slow here. Engage the abdominals to scoop the pelvis up. But just feel this for a moment without yet using your legs, using your abdominals to ground down through those bones and lower back down. So really feel abdominals connected to scoop that pelvis up. And then we just gently lower back down. And one more time there. Nice and slow. Feel that from here.
Find the backs of the legs energetically. Pull your body forward to wake up those hamstrings a little more. So it's like you're pulling your pelvis away from you and then stay breathing in and breathing out. See if you can scoop your pelvis a little bit higher. Pubic Bone, a little higher than hipbones. Notice the hamstrings. Hopefully they're awake.
Notice that holding that little towel roll might make it challenging in a different way and then lower down one vertebra at a time. Reach up and hold on to your towel roll. Just place it down by your side. Take your arms wide and then let your legs float to one side and then relaxed to the other. Nice and easy like and just more time each side. Nice and easy. Like now lift your two legs up, one at a time. Supporting with your abdominals. Glue the legs together. We inhale two twists, stretch the two legs straight, pull back to center and bend again to West reach and come back to center. I want you to put your concentration on what's happening in your shoulder blades, your upper back. Think about that.
The backs of your arms and your shoulder blades are staying weighted. So really keep that engagement and limits your range of motion according to that. Also, be mindful about what's happening in your core in your center. Can You keep your abdominals engaged so that you're not stressing your low back specifically when you straight in those legs, really feel that shape, that grounding down in rotation. Last one. Okay, and just one more in the other direction. Nice rotation, nice reach. We come back in and we just draw those legs in for a little hug here, so hopefully your towel is near enough by so that you can use it now as a little strap. So we're going to use it to stretch.
Certainly if you have a band or a strap, you may use that, but if you have a towel, then this works well and you can do this anywhere. You could do it in a hotel room or while you're traveling or wherever you may be. So start with your other leg grounded. So I just have whichever leg up is fine. Bend the knee a little bit and pull down with your arms against the foot and exhale to press the leg to straight. Feeling a bit of a stretch. Now if the stretch is so severe that you're wincing, you've gone too far, loosen up a little, bend your knee and stretch your leg to a straight so you're feeling a little bit of a stretch. Now if this is asking too much from your flexibility, you can do a couple of different things. You can, you can actually elevate your head on something if you needed to, so you can straighten your leg or you could just go to a straight of a leg as you're able to. I'm quite flexible. I'm pretty comfortable here, so I'm able to straighten my leg, but that's not absolutely necessary.
Now hold your legs straight and gently with the weight of your arms. Pull into your foot and slide the other legs straight and notice that your stretch should become a little bit more interesting. I hope you feel the idea of grounding down through the other legs. Try to soften the flesh on the front, allowing the back of the leg to weight down, and then just gently take the leg in the air slightly across the body, back to center. Just one more time across the body. Back to center and we happen to be in the perfect shape for legs. Circles.
Hold your towel with Todd taught. And if you're comfortable, take your arms over head if you need to modify that. Modify. So the top foot is flexed and very slow circles. We're gonna circle around with one full inhale, staying engaged and circle around with one full exhale. So I said around, and I mean across the body first and then around focusing on abdominals. Really controlling that movement. Nice and slow. Just one more full breath and one more full exhale here.
Point your foot, bend your knee, keep your arms back there. If you're able to go into a little bit of a spinal rotation, come back through, foot down, other leg comes up, lift your towel. It should be ready to go. Go ahead and put your foot in the towel and gently pull down with your arms. So I really am not pulling with my arms. I'm resting my arms. So essentially it's the weight of my arms helping me stretch here.
Allow the knee to bend with the inhale and exhale to reach up to straights again. I'm ultimately asking for a straight leg here. But also you should be able to do it with a sense of ease rather than torture. There should be some muscle discomfort, but not overwhelmingly. So remember this is self care and it should be at least somewhat pleasurable. Hold this position, whatever it is for you.
Try sliding the other leg too straight. Feel that leg grounding down. Feel the flesh, the tissue on the front of the thigh. Softening. Take the leg across the body just a bit. The sides a little tighter for me. I feel a lot more sensation as I come across the body. And just one more time there. Beautiful.
So my leg is ready to go for leg circles. So go ahead and unhook your towel. Take it taut and overhead if that works for you. So here we take the leg across the body, nice and controlled and again, Nice and control. Feel that breathing in for one full circle and breathing out for one full circle. Just one more breath here. Inhale
Just let your arms kind of come back to you. Let your legs come back to you. Place your towel to the side, rediscover your pelvic curl with an exhale. Curl your spine up. Feel abdominals first. Feel the backs of the legs. Feel the inner thighs. Feel that openness through the front of your hips. Now you can stay here if that's better for you.
If you'd like to push this range a little bit, try taking your hands in the direction of your Tush and see if you can kind of your tush up a little bit. And as you push your tush up, you may find yourself with the backs of your arms down in a position where you're supported. If this is too much, come down, just try bringing your hands toward one another and press your pelvis up and press your body up with your legs so you can actually borrow from yoga and roll your shoulders together. Yeah. So it's a couple of options, but if you're able to push your tish up, we're actually setting up for an exercise that we can do later on that requires you to be in this position. It's a big stretch across the front of the chest. Breathing in and breathing out requires quite a lot of openness through the front of your hips. Breathing in and breathing out. Gently release and lower yourself down. Allow yourself to pause for just a moment. Head, neck and shoulders relaxed. Reconnect with your towel. Stretch your two legs to straight.
So I'm just going to ease myself over a little cause I'm gonna roll to face you. So if you want to make sure in stay on your mat, you should do the same. I'm going to reach my arms straight up to the ceiling and then send them over head. I'm gonna take the leg that's back and I'm going to just gently push myself onto my side. Now here, the goal is to balance. If this is too much with the arms, just put an arm down, put a leg down, whatever. But here I'm going to ask you to find your balance on your side.
You have your bottom arm grounded, your top arm is lifted. Yeah, we're going to lift the two legs up nice and controlled and down. So I'm not resting my legs, I'm staying balanced the whole time. Think about keeping that bottom arm really grounded. Your head is resting in your hands and just two more like that and just one more. Gently lower down top leg goes behind. Just guide yourself back to where you came from. Be relaxed for a moment.
Perhaps move yourself to the other side just so that you can stay on your mat but not absolutely necessary. Again, energize your arms for me so I'm pulling out on the towel a little bit. Take the other leg and just roll yourself over onto your side. Stay there hovering your legs, hovering your waist. Press down through your arm and be here. Now you want to think of lengthening a little through your low back to make sure as you lift in lower that you don't feel cranky in your low back.
This is a balance exercise certainly, but there's a lot of things working. Primarily we should be focusing on the waist muscles, the oblique muscles. So we'll just do two more here. Hopefully you were moving [inaudible] and one more there and then gently lower down and find yourself once again on your back. So go ahead and place your towel away. We don't need it for a little bit.
Lift one leg up, lift the other leg up. Find yourself in a nice, lovely little flex position and just get that rocking and rolling, going again and find a little stretch. And then sit nice and tall, opening your legs, lift your heart, look up, enjoy that open sensation and then just slide your body back a little bit on your mat. Cross your legs and transitioned to your hands and knees. Now always remember if that transition does not work for you, you can do it however you'd like. Of course, hands and knees became plank real fast, didn't it? That's where I want you to meet me. So meet me in plank for a few moments and just be here powerfully in your plank. Use your feet to push forward a little bit, stretching a little bit through your wrists, and then come back.
So really focus here on your breath. Concentrate on keeping your body lifting, lifting up through the back of the body. And just one more time like that. Gently placed one knee down, placed the other knee down, and just spin yourself around to face me. Let's lie down on our bellies. So here, place your hands just outside of your shoulders. And again, let's visit that feeling of traction through your spine. So you're going to press down through your pelvis a little bit, soften the legs, and just pull your body forward and then come right away to your beautiful back extension position. Placed one arm forward, place the other arm forward, and pull your body into a stretch. Here.
I know you think I'm going to have you move, but really I just want you to concentrate for a few moments on growing taller, on being in this position with a little more energy. Can you lift your legs? Can you Bree, can you open your heart? Can you feel that while you're very active here, you're also very light and then gently come to rest. Go ahead and send one arm overhead and the other arm overhead, Hubbard two arms away from the Mat. Keep your head down, hover two legs, and then gently lift your head and chest only as high as you're able to. Also keep your arms out of your peripheral vision.
So if your shoulders are not flexible, stay low and let's swim here. Nice and slow. Inhale and exhale. I want slow controlled movements.
Turn your head to one side and take a moment of rest, a moment of pause. Shake out your pelvis if you need it. Now one, we can do a rocking prep, bending, just one leg prep prep. We'll call that. Option two, I'm going to ask you to hold one foot with each hand. Rest your head down, engage your belly muscles, press your pelvis into the mat, press your feet to your hands and find that shape that allows you to bend and stretch through the front of your body. Lifting the legs, opening through the heart, lower down nice and slow. Two more times, pushing the hands to the legs.
Think of lifting the heart, maybe bend the elbows a little bit, opening through the chest and gently lower down.
Make your way in a very comfortable fashion to a child's pose or a rest pose.
However you'd like to get there. I like to lift my hips, let my head dangle and then find myself standing. We're going to finish here with a nice lunch. So go ahead and step forward with one leg, whichever you'd like, and find a lunge where you feel quite comfortable bending right? And find a place where it feels like a good idea to be. Lengthen through the crown of the head, lengthen down through the pelvis and play for just a couple moments with these little movements from your pelvis and notice where you feel more stretch and try to hold that and then play for a moment here with this idea of opening through the heart.
Maybe taking your gaze up and see if you can move just your thighbone back without the pelvis responding, right? So I'm using my abs and I'm moving my firo thighbone backs. I'm really concentrating here on opening through the front of my hip by way of engaging the back of the leg and the abdominals. And then hold where you feel a stretch and see here if you can maybe bend a little deeper. Do you feel more sensation and press? So as I bend deeper, I'm going to press my chest in my hips forward, bend a little deeper. And then I'm going to press my hips forward.
Now take your arms up, reach your, um, my, it's my away arm at the moment. I'm going to hold it or hold my other arm with it and I'm going to reach myself into a little bit of a side bend. And that just feels really lovely. Now if you go too far, you might fall over. So don't let that happen.
Explore some pelvis movement. Once you settle on what it is you need to feel, try going a little deeper. Try pressing the thighbone back and then try pressing the chest and the pelvis forward and then take your arms up and then reach around and feel just a little bit more stretch. Really paying attention to where you feel the stretch and enjoying that stretch because we're all gonna feel it in a different place depending on where we're stuck. For me, it's a little less about the perfect picture. It's more about feeling a sensation. Let that go.
Bring yourself to an upright position. One deep breath together. Opening the heart.