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Open Channel (55-min) Vinyasa

A spicy vinyasa class with inversions and arm balancing blends the crown chakra lightness with the depth and stability of the core. This intermediate/advanced class builds toward a peak pose with Sirsasana A & B (headstand). Sirsasana is known as the King of all Poses, according to B.K.S. Iyengar, and is a way to activate the crown chakra. This class includes core, twists, and side waist lengthening. Open your practice in seated meditation with deep breath and mantra; you’ll chant Aum, the bija seed sound for the 7th chakra.

Style: Vinyasa

Duration: 55-mins

Level: intermediate/advanced

Props: 1-block

Focus: Inversions, Core

Location: Lila Familia Production Studio, Vancouver, BC

We discover universal consciousness when we light up Sushumna’s energy line. Sushumna is also known as the spinal column and is the home for each of the seven chakras from muladhara at the tailbone to the crown chakra at the top of the head. One of the crown chakra themes is the portal between the ego-self, the small ‘s’ self, and the universal or collective consciousness, the big ‘S’ self that represents the divine. Our ego-self meets the divine at the crown chakra. Yoga means to yolk; it’s the union of mind, body, and breath. Yoga also represents the merger of the individual with the collective. As you sit in meditation to open your practice, you may consider who you are as an individual and who you are as part of a collective, and how these relationships co-exist.

Opening Sequence

Start seated for mantra. You’ll chant Aum and place your palms in various mudras as you chant. The first mudra is hands placed at the solar plexus. The second mudra is hands at the throat. The third and final mudra is hands overhead with palms creating a v-shape. As you chant you might imagine a beam of light at the top of your head at the crown chakra that travels along the spinal column, lighting you up. Sit in the silence after each cycle and feel what arises as you bring your palms to Anjali mudra, prayer at the heart.

Stay seated for neck rolls, drop chin to your chest, and alternate, taking each ear over to the shoulder line to stretch and release the muscles at the neck. The scalenes and the sternocleidomastoid are the major neck muscles where we tend to clench when under duress. Breathe deeply, begin ujjayi breath, inhale and exhale through the nose to create a soft constriction at the back of the throat that sounds like a cat purring. Come to Uttanasana (forward fold) a the top of your mat to begin your vinyasa flow sequence.

Wave 1 

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (halfway lift)

Anjaneyasana (low lunge) variation with cactus arms pulsing to breath

Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana  (3-legged downward dog)

Eka Pada Phalakasana (1-legged plank pose)

  • Tricep taps with the extended leg, shift from a 3-legged dog into 1-legged plank pose

Phalakasana (plank pose)

Bhujangasana (cobra pose)

Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana  (3-legged downward dog)

Eka Pada Phalakasana (1-legged plank pose)

  • Nose to the knee, round back and hug thigh to the abdomen, hold here for a breath

Parivrtta Anjaneyasana (revolved lunge) variation with wide arms

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Repeat on the other side

Wave 2 

Utkatasana (chair pose) variation with hands at elbows overhead to open triceps

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (halfway lift)

Anjaneyasana (low lunge) variation with eagle arms twist to stimulate the core

Ashta Chandrasana (high crescent lunge) variation with the back knee bent to open the quadricep

Eka Pada Phalakasana (1-legged plank pose)

  • Tricep taps to stimulate the oblique muscles

Parsva Vasisthasana (side plank) variation with the top arm bent at the elbow

Patita Tarasana (fallen triangle pose)

Adho Mukha Śvānāsana (downward dog)

Chaturanga dandasana

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (upward dog) or bhujangasana (cobra pose)

Adho Mukha Śvānāsana (downward dog)

Virabhadrasana II (warrior 2)

Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose)

Eka Pada Phalakasana (1-legged plank pose)

  • Nose to the knee, round back and hug thigh to the abdomen, hold here for a breath

Utthita ashwa sanchalanasana (lunge pose)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Repeat on the other side

Wave 3 / Peak Flow

*** If you have any shoulder/neck/wrist sensitivity, please skip the peak pose(s) and stay in a forward fold, yogic squat, or another symmetrical pose of preference. 

Bhakasana (crow pose)

Sirsasana A & B (tripod headstand /& forearm headstand)

Wave 3

Shalabasana (locust pose) variation, lifting and lowering with each breath

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (upward dog) or bhujangasana (cobra pose)

Adho Mukha Śvānāsana (downward dog)

Ashta Chandrasana (high crescent lunge) variation with eagle arms

Parivrtta Anjaneyasana (revolved crescent lunge) with eagle arms, option to open arms

Transition: Step forward, tuck back knee to your nose and grab your leg as you roll to stand

Garudasana (eagle pose)

Virabhadrasana II (warrior 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (triangle pose) variation with the top arm bent

Phalakasana (plank)

Half vinyasa or downward dog

Repeat on the other side

Backbending

Setu Bandhāsana (bridge pose)

Transition to Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) and back to bridge pose

OR simply hold bridge pose

OR take Viparita Karani (legs up the wall)

Cooling Sequence 

Gomukhasana (cow face) OR hip opener of choice

Baddha Konasana (bound angle pose) variation with heels tucked under the bum

  • The bum and knees will lift off of the ground for this variation. Press your heels together to stabilize and help balance. Option to come down to your forearms.

Take a seat in meditation to close or lay down for savasana.

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