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Quiet Fire (61-min) Vinyasa

A slow and fiery vinyasa practice that works with creating strength in the core stabilizers. This class features core strengthening from the back with exercises targeting the transverse abdominals and obliques to assist SI stability. Leg balancing poses, twists, heart-opening, and Natarajasana (dancing Shiva) stoke the heat and build strength in the body. Bridge pose is featured as a bookend for class, and Mula Bandha is repeated to ignite the root lock and maintain engagement at the stabilizing muscles around the spine to protect the low back. Close practice with a longer meditation and visualization practice.

May this practice remind us of our inner strength on a physical and energetic level.

Style: Vinyasa

Duration: 60-mins

Level: open

Props: 1 block, 1 resistance band

Focus: core strengthening, twists, and heart-opening

Location: Lila Familia Production Studio, Vancouver, BC

Music: Kurmasana Spotify Playlist

Opening Core Series

Come to lay on your back and bend your knees.

Place the resistance band around your feet at the tops of the feet and the soles.

Press your feet on the ground and take five deep belly breaths.

  • Inhale and puff the belly up.
  • Exhale and hug the belly in, drawing the navel to the spine.

Mula Bandha is the pelvic floor in physiological terms.

Mula = root

Bandha = seal / lock

When we inhale and exhale by drawing the navel in like this, we engage Mula Bandha.

When the lower abdominals engage, it stabilizes the pelvis and engages the core stabilizes that attach to the low spine. The more we engage the muscles around the lower spine and the pelvis, the better we have to support the low back and decrease the risk of injury.

Mula Bandha, on an energetic level, sustains the energy in the spine and prevents it from leaking out.

Core exercise 1

Setu Bandha Sarvāṅgāsana (bridge pose) variation with the resistance band at your feet

  • Lift your hips off the ground and press your feet into the ground.
  • Breathe into the front of your pelvis.

Core exercise 2

Take your feet up off the ground, so they are in line with your knees.

Press your feet outwards into the resistance band.

Take your hands behind your head.

  • Inhale and lift the knees a little bit higher.
  • Exhale and curl your shoulder blades and head up from the ground.
  • Inhale and lift the knees and heart a little bit higher.
  • Exhale and suck your belly button into your spine.
  • Inhale and lift your heart a little bit higher.
  • Exhale and lower your head and shoulders to the ground.
  • Repeat 5 times.

Core exercise 3

Bicycle legs

  • Inhale and take your head and shoulders up from the ground
  • Exhale and twist to one side, bend your knee and take the opposite elbow to knee
  • Inhale and lift your knee to elbow and hold
  • Exhale and twist to the same side
  • Inhale one more time
  • Exhale and come to the center with shoulders and hips aligned.
  • Take 4 cycles alternating twisting to either side.

Core exercise 4

Slide the resistance band to your thighs above the knees

Come into bridge pose with hands by your sides.

Begin to press the knees outwards against the band, find a pace that serves.

This activates the glute med, the outer buttock muscles.

Strengthening the gluteal muscles also helps to support the low back and the front of the pelvis.

Keep breathing and move your knees outwards in little pulses for 6-seconds.

2x Sun Salutations 

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Urdvha Hastasana (hands to sky)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Anjaneyasana (lunge)

Balasana (child’s pose)

Marjaryasana (cat pose)

Bitilasana (cow pose)

Marjaryasana (cat pose)

Ashtangasana (eigth pointed pose)

Bhujangasana (cobra pose)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Eka pada adho mukha svanasana (3-legged downward dog)

Anjaneyasana (lunge)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Urdvha Hastasana (hands to sky)

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Repeat the same sequence starting on the opposite leg.

Wave 1

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Urdvha Hastasana (hands to sky)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Anjaneyasana (lunge) variation

  • Lower the back knee to the ground
  • Create two 90-degree angles with your legs
  • Cactus your arms alongside you
  • Draw your belly button in
  • Inhale and extend one arm over your head
  • Exhale and twist to the opposite side of your mat
  • Inhale and come back to the center with cactus arms
  • Exhale and lift your chest a little higher
  • Repeat 3 cycles of this moving meditation from a lunge pose

Anjaneyasana (lunge) variation

  • Lift the back knee off of the ground
  • Come onto your fingertips, so hands are barely on the ground
  • Squeeze your inner thighs
  • Engage the legs and press your feet into the earth
  • Stay as you are, or cactus your arms and reach your chest forward
  • Hold and breathe for 5 cycles of your breath

Parvrtta Anjaneyasana (revolved lunge) variation with wide arms

Phalakasana (plank pose) variation

  • Place the block on the second width between your inner thighs
  • Coe to forearms or palms
  • Hold and breathe for 8 breathes
  • Squeeze your block each time you exhale

Come to lay on your belly

Shalabasana (locust pose) variation

  • Cactus your arms beside you
  • Hug your block and lift your thighs and legs from the ground
  • Stay as you are, or lift your torso and arms wide from the ground

Rest on your abdomen with your forehead on your hands

Bhujangasana (cobra pose)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Eka pada adho mukha svanasana (3-legged downward dog)

Virabhadrasana II (warrior 2) variation

  • Clasp your hands behind your back
  • Lift from the crown of the head
  • Breathe into the front of your body

Trikonasana (triangle pose) variation

  • Keep your arms behind you
  • Lower your torso a quarter of the way down for a floating triangle
  • Press the front foot into the ground
  • Breathe into your side waist
  • If you feel pain in the lower back, take a regular triangle with hands on the ground.

Garudasana (eagle pose) variation

  • Keep your arms at your back with your palms clasped
  • Stay upright, or bow over your legs, taking belly to thighs and hands to the sky.

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Tasasana (mountain pose)

Urdvha Hastasana (hands to sky) variation

  • Clasp your hands over your head and reach your palms to the sky
  • Inhale to lengthen the side waist
  • Exhale and release your hands to your sides

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Repeat the same sequence starting on the opposite leg.

Pranayama with Maha Bandha 

Maha Bandha is the great seal.

Wave 2

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Urdvha Hastasana (hands to sky)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Anjaneyasana (lunge) variation

  • Lower the back knee to the ground
  • Create two 90-degree angles with your legs
  • Cactus your arms alongside you
  • Draw your belly button in
  • Inhale and extend one arm over your head
  • Hold and breathe in the side waist stretch
  • Inhale and come back through the center
  • Exhale and twist to the opposite side of your mat
  • Hold and breathe in the twist
  • Inhale and come through the center
  • Exhale and take your arms wide with fingers touching
  • Twist to the other side of your mat
  • Hold and breathe as you are, squeezing your oblique

Anjaneyasana (lunge) variation with hands clasped behind your back

Garudasana (eagle pose) variation with hands clasped behind your back

Natarajasana (dancers pose) variation with one hand to heel and the other hand to the back of your head.

Tadasana Janu Hastasana (standing hand to knee pose) variation with one hand to knee and the other to the back of your head.

Urdvha Hastasana (hands to sky) variation

  • Clasp your hands over your head and reach your palms to the sky
  • Inhale to lengthen the side waist
  • Exhale and release your hands to your sides

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Repeat the same sequence starting on the opposite leg.

Floor Series

Setu Bandha Sarvāṅgāsana (bridge pose) variation with the resistance band at your feet

  • Lift your hips off the ground and press your feet into the ground.
  • Breathe into the front of your pelvis.
  • Stay as you are, or extend your arms towards the sky.
  • Keep one arm up and lower the opposite arm to the ground
  • Stay here, or lift the opposite leg from the ground
  • Press your legs out into the resistance band
  • Take a couple of breaths and then lower your arm and leg
  • Switch sides and repeat the same sequence on the opposite arm and leg

Setu Bandha Sarvāṅgāsana (bridge pose) variation with the resistance band at your feet

Come to recline on your back and bend your knees.

Come to Savasana or a seated meditation for a guided meditation.

Body Scan

Start at the top of the head and begin to scan the body taking your inner gaze from the crown down the torso, arms, and legs. Explore each body part to see if you have any tension and as you exhale, imagine releasing the tension from your body.

Resources on Mindful Meditation

This practice may help you feel more aware of the sensations of your body. It also provides a means to examine how you feel and respond accordingly.

In this 2017 study on mindful meditation and chronic pain, meditation is shown to lessen the effect of chronic pain on the body.

In this 2014 study on meditation and the effect on stress, meditation is explored to show the effects on anxiety, depression, stress/distress, positive mood, mental health-related quality of life, attention, substance use, eating habits, sleep, pain, and weight.

Visualization

Imagine two balls of light at the ball of each foot. The light is a soft glow; it is the colour of the dawn. Warm and reassuring. Envision these balls of light moving up your legs to your torso, arms, and head. As the balls of light move, they heat the body.

Professional athletes have discovered the power of visualization practices and use visualization to enhance performance.

Visualization in meditation practice also helps with slowing the nervous system to aid in self-regulation and relaxation.

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