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Practice with Clara

Cohesion (22-min) Vinyasa

About

A short and simple vinyasa flow to create space in the body, this class includes core work and stimulating pranayamas to generate heat. You’ll move through side body stretching, heart-opening, and breathwork, including Kapalbhati and Nadi Shodhana.

Mantra for class: with cohesion, there is harmony; with harmony, there is grace.

Style: Vinyasa

Duration: 20-minutes

Level: open

Props: 1-block

Focus: a full-body flow.

Location: Vancouver, BC

MusicCohesion

Meditation

Come to a seat and close your eyes.

Take a couple of deep breaths to align in your body.

Set an intention to anchor your practice or simply breathe into how you feel.

Seated pranayama flow

  • Inhale and take your arms wide and to the sky
  • Exhale and bring your palms down the central channel in prayer
  • Repeat several cycles

Flow 1

Bharmanasana (table top)

Marjaiasana/Bitilasana(cat, cow)

Adho muka svanasana (down dog)

Uttanasana (forward fold) at the back of your mat

Tadasana (mountain) variation

  • Inhale and bring your hands forward
  • Exhale and take your arms behind you
  • Inhale and take a gentle backbend
  • Exhale and bow forward, taking hands to the earth.

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (halfway lift)

Phalakasana (plank pose) variation

  • Inhale in plank pose with your feet wide
  • Exhale and lower both heels to one side
  • Inhale and come back to the center
  • Exhale and lower your heels to the opposite side
  • Repeat three times on either side

Phalakasana (plank pose)

Balasana (child’s pose) variation

  • Walk your palms over to the far side of your mat and breathe into your side waist.
  • Stay on the side for five breaths
  • Repeat on the other side.

** The second set, you’ll take anahatasana (heart pose)

Come to your shins with hands in prayer

  • Inhale and bring your hands forward
  • Exhale and take your arms behind you
  • Inhale and take a gentle backbend
  • Exhale and sit back on your heels

Seated Kapalbhati for 45-seconds

  • Set 1 – hands by your sides
  • Set 2 – hands overhead with Venus Mudra

Kapalabhati translates from Sanskrit as Kapal, meaning the forehead, and Bhati, meaning light or knowledge. Kapalabhati is energizing pranayama, also known as Skull Shining Breath, which clears the lungs. This pranayama brings lightness and clarity to mind and frontal cortex of the brain.

This style of pranayama involves sharp, active exhales through the nose to stimulate the clearing of the lungs by clearing the stagnant air that collects around the sides of the lung cavity. The sharp exhale pulls the stale air toward the center of the lungs and pushes it out. Energetically, we’re drawing the air upwards to revitalize the mind and body. The inhale is passive, and as kapalabhati breath is performed, the abdomen repeatedly contracts on the exhale and releases on the inhale. This pranayama is best done on an empty stomach during the earlier partition of the day as its excitatory and stimulates the digestive fire.

Benefits include:

  • Enhanced mental focus and clarity
  • Clearing of the lungs and nasal passages
  • Excitatory to stimulate blood flow and boost circulation
  • Tones the abdomen and lower organs
  • Sharpens senses and concentration
  • Balances nervous system
  • Stimulates the digestive fire and appetite
  • Purifies the nadis (energy channels) of the body through prana (breath)

Uttanasana (forward fold) at the back of your mat

Tadasana (mountain) with Maha Bandha – the great seal

Read more about Maha Bandha in this article. 

Tadasana (mountain)

Repeat the same sequence for a second round.

Flow 2

Tadasana (mountain) variation

  • Inhale and bring your hands forward
  • Exhale and take your arms behind you
  • Inhale and take a gentle backbend
  • Exhale and bow forward, taking hands to the earth.

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (halfway lift)

Phalakasana (plank pose) variation

Chaturanga

Shalabasana (locust pose)

Pranayama – Nadi Shodhana, aka alternate nostril breathing

Nadi Shodhana set up:

  • Take your thumb to your right nostril,
  • Take your ring and pinkie fingers to the left nostril
  • Place your index and middle finger on your third eye between the brows.

Nadhi Shodhana how-to:

  • Plug your right nostril and inhale on the left side
  • Plug both nostrils and hold at the top
  • Release the right nostril and exhale from the right side
  • Pause at the bottom
  • Inhale on the right nostril
  • Plug both nostrils and hold at the top
  • Release the left nostril and exhale
  • Pause at the bottom
  • Repeat several cycles on your own.

Nadhi Shodhana benefits:

This pranayama carries more oxygen to the blood than regular breathing; it also soothes the nervous system, helps create calm in the body and mind, and balances the subtle body. Nadi Shodhana lowers the heart rate and reduces stress and anxiety as it purifies the subtle energy channels so the Prana (breath, life force) can flow easily.

Sushumna is the body’s central channel and largest energy line. It is the home to the seven chakras. Two energy lines traverse Shusumna—the spine—called Ida and Pingala. Ida and Pingala represent the other two main energy lines that move from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. These two energy lines refer to the right and left sides of the brain; through these energy lines, or Nadis, we create balance in the body and connect the two hemispheres through the breath.

Savasana or seated meditation to close.