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Practice with Clara

Join Clara for a slow flow vinyasa that opens the hamstrings, side body, shoulders, heart, and chest, that builds toward shoulder stand as your peak pose. Focusing on the 5th chakra, Vishuddha, you’ll explore themes such as communication, authenticity, vulnerability, and expression. The color for the 5th chakra is blue, and the element is ether. Vishuddha acts as a portal between the esoteric and the exoteric.

Style: Slow Flow

Duration: 36-mins

Level: Open-level class

Props: 1-block

Focus: Shoulders and hamstrings. Peak pose: shoulder stand

Location: Lila Familia Production Studio, Vancouver, BC

This class includes wave theory; students will flow with Clara through a progressive series of postures towards a peak pose. As you move, ask yourself: there anywhere in your life where you’re in-between, here and there? Are you in a place where you’re not ready to share what you have inside? Are you able to wait, to stay in this holding pattern, this potential for what can be? Are you able to stay as you are, without going forward or back as if holding your little secret? This asks you to examine where you may be holding in your body and breathe to release any physical tension.

Start seated for several rounds of Bhramari breath with hands at the throat to stimulate Vishuddha. Bhramari is also known as bees breath, has a calming effect on the body’s nervous system. It relieves cerebral tension, anger, and anxiety, and stimulates the pineal and pituitary glands. The humming lowers blood pressure and relieves hypertension. Perform Bhramari by inhaling deeply, and every time you exhale, purse your lips and hum Aum. This pranayama is ideal for creating a state of ease and relaxation in the body as we wind down after a busy day. Bhramari relaxes the throat and the neck, which are areas we tend to strain and clench when under duress.

Exploring Vishuddha chakra asks us to examine how we express ourselves, speak our truth, and communicate how we feel. Saraswati is the Goddess of music, wisdom, and learning, and is represented as Vac as the goddess for sound and speech. Saraswati is identified as the inventor of Sanskrit and is said to have been the first one to give Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity, the gifts of pen and ink.

Blockages and issues of Vishuddha chakra are expressed in the throat with issues in the thyroid and parathyroid glands, neck and jaw problems, and confusion of speech. Imbalances may include unexpressed feelings of grief, anger, sadness, shame, judgment, fear, and guilt. Symptoms of blockages or imbalance may appear as a tightness in the throat and jaw, stiffness in the neck, and headaches.


Opening Sequence

Balasana (child’s pose) with a block under the forehead. Anahatasana (heart pose) to open the shoulders and chest. Bharmanasana (tabletop) on hands and knees for scapula presses. This pose involves lowering the torso and hugging the shoulders on the back. Press the palms into the ground and dome the upper back, so the shoulders pull wide to either side. Scapula presses wake up the shoulder girdle, equally stretching and strengthening the muscles around the shoulder blades. The muscles around the shoulder blades (scapula) are the serratus anterior, rhomboids, and trapezius.

Wave 1 

Adho Mukha Śvānāsana (downward dog)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Tadasana (standing, mountain pose)

Standing, draw knee to chest

Ashta Chandrasana (high lunge)

Anjaneyasana (low lunge) variation with arm movements to open the side body

Adho Mukha Śvānāsana (downward dog)

Phalakasana (plank)

Bhujangasana (cobra)

Adho Mukha Śvānāsana (downward dog)

Anjaneyasana (low lunge) flow with Ardha hanuman (half splits) to open the hamstrings

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Wave 2

Standing, knee to chest with hip mandalas (circles) to open inner thigh and groins

Ashta Chandrasana (high lunge)

Anjaneyasana (low lunge) with hands clasped at the back, draw chin to chest neck. This variation releases the trapezius at the neck and upper back.

Lunge to Parsvottanasana variation (pyramid) flow lengthens the hamstrings Janushirshasana (head-to-knee pose) seated.

Dandasana (staff pose) chin to chest to create *Mahabhanda, the great lock

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Maha Bandha is known as the great lock as it requires holding three bandhas (locks) while holding the breath out in a pose. Maha Bandha helps balance blood pressure and assists with poor circulation, glands, nerves, and menstrual cramps. The three locks are Mula Bandha (root lock) Uddiyana Bandha (diaphragm lock) Jalandhara Bandha (throat lock). Mahabhanda involves all three.

Peak Pose Wave

Sarvangasana (rabbit pose)

  • Deep flexion of the spine and back of the neck
  • Calming effect on the mind and relieves tension at the neck
  • Activates the thyroid glands to keep hormones in control
  • Relives stress and delivers fresh oxygen to the crown of the head

Viparita Karani (legs up, option to have a block under lower back)

  • Regulates blood flow
  • Alleviates menstrual cramps
  • Relieves swelling in the feet and legs
  • Improves digestion

Halasana (plow pose)

  • Calms the brain
  • Stimulates abdominal organs and thyroid gland
  • Stretches shoulders and spine
  • Therapeutic for backaches, headaches, insomnia, and sinusitis
  • Relieves symptoms of menopause

Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) variation alternate lowering legs

  • Calms the mind and relieves stress and mild depression
  • Stimulates the thyroid gland, prostate gland, and abdominal organs
  • Improves digestion
  • Tones legs and buttocks
  • Stretches shoulders, back, and neck
  • Reduces fatigue and alleviates insomnia

Floor Series

Block under the lower back, lay, and breathe into how you feel.

Place hands on opposite shoulders with elbows pointed up at the ceiling to open the back of the shoulders. Gently pull the shoulders away from each other to either side, to widen the back of the heart.

Supta Matsyendrasana (reclined twist) stretches the back, hips, and shoulders while restoring the spine’s natural range. Lay on your back, place your palms on your belly, and breathe. Come to a seated to meditate to close or take savasana on your back.


Draw breath in around the throat and pause. Exhale gently and release the breath through the nostrils and out into the world. Honor your process and trust in your unfolding.