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Practice with Clara

Dancing Shiva (60-mins) Vinyasa

Enjoy this slow vinyasa class that builds strength in the abdominals and back to prepare you for backbends. The peak pose is Dancing Shiva and a bow variation. This class will start wit lengthening and strengthening the back and side waist. This will will open up psoas, quadriceps and chest. Leg strengthening and balancing will build heat, while poses like Anahatasana (heart pose) create space. Enjoy a poem by Hafiz as you breathe and ground in your body.

Spotify Playlist

Style: Vinyasa

Duration: 60-minutes

Level: open-levels

Props: 2 blocks, 1 strap

Focus: backbends with core and back strengthening

Location: Lila Familia Production Studio, Vancouver, BC

Shiva is the Lord Transformation and is often seen dancing the tandava, the dance of destruction and creation. As you move through the practice, consider what your dance looks like right now—is it dance for destruction or creation? Both creation and destruction are a choice. We choose what we create or dissolve in our own lives, so feed your own dance. Feed your body and breath. Feed the transition that you are in.

Poem by Hafiz Read in Class:

I’m happy even before I have a reason

I’m full of Light even before the sky

Can greet the sun or the moon.

Dear companions, we have been in love with the Divine

For so very, very long.

What can we now do but forever Dance!

Opening Sequence

Take a seat of your choice and close your eyes. Connect to your breath and bring your awareness into your body. Take in the sounds all around you.

Come to stand in Tadasana (mountain pose) with hands in prayer at the heart. Bring your feet hip-distance and close your eyes.

Chant Om three times together to symbolize the essence of something greater we all connect and contribute to.

Move through two Sun Salutations with Clara or on your own, connecting each movement to your breath.

Wave 1

Utkatasana (chair pose) variations with hands clasped overhead with palms flipped upwards to the ceiling.

  • Inhale your arms and chest a little higher,
  • Exhale root your heels and sit your butt down a little lower.

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Anjaneyasana (low lunge) variation with hands reaching to either side of the mat to stretch the side waist.

  • Option to take a hand to the hip, thigh, or a block on the ground.

Anahatanasana (heart pose)

  • Take elbows to the ground, OR
  • Place elbows on blocks to bring more space to the side waist

Salamba Bhujangasana (spynx pose) variation with cat/cows

  • Inhale arc the spine look up to the sky,
  • Exhale round the spine and hug the belly button in

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (upward dog)

Phalakasana (plank pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (downward dog)

Virabhadrasana || (warrior 2)

Viparita Virabhadrasana (dancing warriors)

  • Inhale to peaceful warrior
  • Exhale to modified side angle pose

Trikonasana (triangle pose)

Parsvottanasana (pyramid pose)

Virabhadrasana ||| (warrior 3) variation with cat/cows

  • Inhale your leg back and up and your chest forward,
  • Exhale bend your knee and curl knee to nose

Uttanasana (forward fold) variation with toes crossed

  • Option to walk your hands to the opposite side of your mat to release the outer glutes

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Nataraja (dancing Shiva) variation

  • Take one heel to your bum,
  • Take both hands to your heel, OR
  • Take the opposite hand to the heel and the other hand to the back of your head.

Tadansana (mountain pose)

Repeat the same sequence on the other side.

Wave 2: Peak Flow

* Grab your strap to set up for the peak pose; make a small loop with the strap to fit your ankle. 

Utkatasana (chair pose)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Anjaneyasana (low lunge) variation

  • Take your back heel to your bum,
  • Bring your looped strap to your foot and over the shoulder,
  • Draw the shoulders toward the front of your mat,
  • Take both hands to the strap and reach the hands to the sky,
  • Hug elbows into the forehead and lift the chest.


  • Keep one hand on your heel and take the other hand to the back of the head.

Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana (runners lunge)

Phalakasana (plank pose) hold for 8-breath

Take the half vinyasa, down dog, or child’s pose (yogis choice)

Repeat the same sequence on the other side.

Nataraja (dancing Shiva) variation with strap

  • Loop your strap over the arch of one foot,
  • Bring your heel to your bum,
  • Take your hands to the strap and extend your hands overhead,
  • Kick the foot into the strap and hug your elbows toward the head.

If you’re doing this without a strap, take one or both hands to your heel and kick your heel into your bum, OR take one hand behind the head.

Dhanurasana (bow pose) variation with the strap

  • Hook the strap over both of the heels,
  • Secure your legs and thighs to the ground,
  • Bring your hands to the strap and extend your arms above your head,
  • Kick your legs back and pull back against the strap with your hands.

Cooling Sequence 

Supta Matsyendrasana (reclined spinal twist)

Back traction to clear the spine after deep back bending

  • Bend knees and place the soles of the feet on the ground,
  • Flatten your spine on the ground,
  • Take your hands to your thighs,
  • Press your palms away from your chest and lengthen your spine.

Ananda Balasana  (happy baby pose)

Savasana or seated meditation