The Yoga props you will need for this remote class include a mat, two blocks (or one block and a similar-sized item), and two blankets.
Please note that the Yoga videos are not “real-time” in terms of duration for holding the poses, but simply meant to show the basic movements into, within, and out of each pose.
Supta Dandasana (Reclining Staff Pose), hold main pose for 10 breaths, arm variations 3-5 breaths each
Place one block under thoracic spine (upper-mid back) and a slightly taller block under the head. The video shows two block orientation options. Lie back and take the arms away from your sides turning the palms up, allowing the shoulders to roll back. Release into this position for 10 full breaths. This is the restorative and calming variation. To progress to the more active variations, activate the legs by elongating through the heels, grounding and internally rotating the thighs. Then lower the block supporting the head to the same height as the thoracic block. Extend the arms up, press your open palms together and extend the arms beyond the head. Hold for 5 full breaths, then fold the arms and release them back and down. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then repeat changing the fold of the arms. To progress to a deeper variation (as shown in the video), lower the head block or remove it. Add the arm actions again. To come out of the pose, replace the head block to its original height, bend a knee, press your arms into the floor and slowly sit up. Key actions:
- Externally rotate the shoulders.
- Legs active, thighs rotate inward, ground the thighs and extend through the soles and heels of the feet.
- Keep the face passive, especially the jaw when adding arm variations.
Ahdo Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), hold for 3-10 complete breaths
Come down to your hands and knees, place the hands at the front of the mat slightly wider than the shoulders and with the wrists aligned and equally long on both sides, spreading the fingers and thumbs widely apart. Externally rotate the shoulders and press all the knuckles of the hands equally into the floor. With the feet hip-width, tuck the toes, exhale and raise the hips up, initially keeping the knees slightly bent. Draw the torso back toward the thighs, then exhale to straighten the legs and press the heels toward the floor. You can alternate bending one knee at a time to work on ankle/ calf flexibility. Ground and internally rotate the thighs, pressing the upper thighs back. Keep the shoulders rolled out and the hands pressed evenly down across the knuckles. Relax the neck and let the head drop. Place a block between the head and the floor. Added option is to do this pose with the heels at the wall. Key actions:
- Shoulders externally rotated.
- Base of thumb and index finger pressed downward.
- Thighs grounded and internally rotated.
- Relax the neck and let the head rest on support
Balasana – AKA Adho Mukha Virasana (Child’s Pose), hold for 5-20 complete breaths
While kneeling and sitting on your heels, spread the knees wide apart to allow space for the torso, exhale and bend forward, resting you forehead on support (block, book or the floor). Extend the arms forward and spread the fingers and hands, just as in Downward Dog. Relax the shoulders and let the sit bones rest on your heels, or on support on your heels if knee flexibility requires. Key actions:
- Relax the neck and let the full weight of the head be supported.
- Let the full weight of the hips sink onto your feet.
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) Variation, hold for 5-10 complete breaths
Standing in Mountain Pose at the wall, step the feet 2-3 feet apart. Have a chair and block or similar to support the head. Press the upper thighs back into the wall and exhaling bring the hands onto the chair. Take a moment to adjust the actions of the legs and allow length in the spine. Then exhale and bend forward fully, resting the crown of the head on something (block, book, etc.) on the chair, letting the hands and forearms rest on the chair seat as well. Hold for 5-10 full breaths. To come out, inhale the spine back to neutral, then with the hands on the chair, adjust your feet back to hip width and slightly away from the wall. On your next inhalation, stand up back to Mountain Pose and take a couple of conscious breaths before transitioning to the next pose. Key actions:
- Legs active, grounding the thighs back into the wall.
- Let the weight of the head be supported by the props.
- When placing the head on block, maintain same weight on feet and avoid leaning forward or placing added weight through the head.
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) – hold for 5-10 min
Have two block and two blankets at the wall. Fold one blanket to approximate the size of a bolster. The second blanket will be to support the head. Sit in Bound Angle Pose with your toes at the wall (see image below), sitting as close to your heels as possible. Pull the blanket-bolster to the sacrum and lie back on it, with another blanket or similar under the head. Let the knees descend toward the floor and support them on blocks. Release and relax into the pose, holding for up to 10min. To come out, exhale and roll to your right side then sit up sideways. Toes at the wall:
- Let the props do the work for you. Just receive.
- Prop the knees so that the groin muscles can fully relax.
- Head propped so that the forehead is higher than the chin.
Matsyasana (Fish Pose) – hold for 5-10 min each side
Cross the legs into either a simple cross-legged position or fold the left leg on the floor in front of you and take the right foot onto the top of the left thigh with the sole of the foot facing up into Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus). If and tension is felt in the knee at this point, prop the knee on something (block, book, etc.). Exhale and lie back onto the floor, releasing the knees down. Extend the arms back and onto the floor with the palms up. Release and relax into the pose, holding for up to 10min. Inhale to sit up, change the cross of the legs and repeat. Key actions:
- Prop the knee in any tension is felt in the joint.
- Release into the floor.
Baddha Padmasana (Bound Lotus) – hold for 2-5 min each side
Sit on a blanket or similar, adjusting the height so that when the legs are crossed and sitting upright, the spine does not round and the shoulders stay over the hips. Cross the legs into either a simple cross-legged position or fold the left leg on the floor in front of you and take the right foot onto the top of the left thigh with the sole of the foot facing up into Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus). If and tension is felt in the knee at this point, prop the knee on something (block, book, etc.). Exhale and bend forward, resting the forehead on something (block, book(s), floor), keeping the hips from rolling forward. Please see video for examples of head support height options. Once the forehead is supported, fold the arms behind your back and release into it. Stay in the pose for up to 2-5 min then inhale and come up, changing the cross of the legs and arms to repeat on the second side. Key actions:
- Sit bones stay connected to the floor.
- Forehead supported, release the head and neck completely.
Ahdo Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), hold for 3-10 complete breaths
See description above. Balasana – AKA Adho Mukha Virasana (Child’s Pose), hold for 5-20 complete breaths
See description above. Prasarita Padottanasana (Spread Foot Forward Bend), hold for 5-10 complete breaths
From Mountain Pose, step the feet wide apart, turning the toes in slightly to align the outer edge of the feet with the ends of the mat. Exhale and hinge from the hips, placing the hands down directly beneath the shoulders (variations with blocks shown in video). Maintain a slightly concave spine. If no low back issues, stack blocks to support the crown of the head and exhale, releasing the head, neck and torso downward, resting the head on the block(s). Hold for 3-5 full breaths. To come out, bring the torso back to neutral spine, strong legs and inhale to come up. Step the feet back together into Mountain. Key actions:
- Legs active, drawing upward from the arches of the feet through the hips.
- Feet well-connected to the floor, even when bent forward.
- When placing the head on block, maintain same weight on feet and avoid leaning forward or placing weight through the head.
Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose), hold for 5-10 complete breaths, repeat 2x
Lying on your back, bend the knees and bring the feet under the knees. Hips, knees and feet all line up to the same width and should not change. Be sure to keep the knees at this width throughout, and keep the feet pressed evenly into the floor. Inhale to lift the pelvis up, inwardly rotating the thighs. Interlace the fingers underneath you and roll the shoulders under you as well. Place a block either at its intermediate height and wide, or tall and narrow underneath the sacrum. Be sure the block does not come in contact with your lumbar spine (low back). Hold for 5 full breaths. To come out, inhale to lift the pelvis up, remove the block and exhale to release the hips back down to the floor. Stay in that position for at least 2 full breaths before rolling to your right side and coming back up sideways. Key actions:
- Thighs rotate inward, feet well connected and evenly weighted, knees remain at hip width.
- Externally rotate at the shoulders underneath you.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Supported Bridge Pose), hold for 20 complete breaths (or longer if desired)
Lying on your back, bend the knees and bring the feet under the knees. Hips, knees and feet all line up to the same width and should not change. Be sure to keep the knees at this width throughout, and keep the feet pressed evenly into the floor. Check the distance to the block placed at the wall (see video). Inhale to lift the pelvis up, inwardly rotating the thighs. Interlace the fingers underneath you and roll the shoulders under you as well. Place a block either at its intermediate height and wide, or tall and narrow underneath the sacrum. Be sure the block does not come in contact with your lumbar spine (low back). Then place the feet on the block at the wall and press the soles of the feet into the wall, keeping the thighs rolled inward. Hold for 10-20 full breaths. To come out, bend the knees and place the feet on the floor. Then inhale to lift the pelvis up, remove the block and exhale to release the hips back down to the floor. Stay in that position for at least 2 full breaths before rolling to your right side and coming back up sideways. Key actions:
- Thighs rotate inward, feet pressing firmly into the wall.
- Externally rotate at the shoulders underneath you.
Viparita Karani (Inverted Lake), hold for 5-10min (or longer if desired)
Fold two blankets in half lengthwise to create a flat-shaped bolster, placing them ~6 inches or more from the wall. Hamstring flexibility may require placement further away. Sit sideways to the wall at the and of the blankets and rotate your legs up the wall and torso down onto the mat, keeping the pelvis on the blankets. Extend the legs up the wall, feet together. Extend through the heels then relax the feet. Take the arms away from your sides, palms facing up, allowing the shoulders to roll back into the floor. Close your eyes, breathe and receive. Please note: Inversions should not be practiced if you have a tension headache or migraine, women during menstruation, or if you have very high or very low blood pressure. An inversion is any pose where the legs are higher than the pelvis and the pelvis is higher than the heart. The alternative to Viparita Karani is to simply remove the blankets/ bolster and keep the pelvis on the floor. Key actions:
- Let the back of the neck be long, and allow the chest to open, drawing closer to your chin.
- Let the shoulders roll back into the floor.
Savasana (Corpse Pose), hold for 5-10 min (or longer if desired)
Lie back on your mat with the head supported slightly on a blanket. A rolled blanket or bolster can support the knees if the low back is tight or uncomfortable in order to passively ground the thighs. And eye bag or similar works well to minimize brain stimulation. Arms away from your sides, palms facing up, shoulder roll back. Allow the legs to roll out as well. Let all your weight to sink into the floor. Relax the jaw, throat, tongue and eyes, letting the muscles of the face become soft. Hold for 5 minutes or more. To come out, bend your knees and roll to your right side, keeping the eyes closed. Come up sideways, raising the head up last. Go slowly and come to a seated position. Hands in Namaskar (prayer), tilt the chin toward your chest and take 2-3 conscious breaths. Bring the head back to neutral and slowly open your eyes. Key actions:
- Relax and let go.