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The Great Balancer (60-mins) Vinyasa

A playful and powerful practice that builds towards Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand) as the peak pose. Today’s class invites you to find your balance in breath, movement, and within the effort and intention in each pose. Lunges, warriors, leg balancing, core strengthening, twists, and hamstring lengthening prepare you for Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand). Cool down with hip and inner thigh opening, a longer-held backbend, and neck release.

***For anyone with wrist sensitivities or injury, please modify as needed. Coming down onto your forearms and taking a forearm plank or a forearm stand is one option if you’re not playing on your hands today. You can also skip the peak pose and stay in standing splits. 

Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4fl9w6jLaL14T1fnnUnnlw?si=SggmmNKxSYqXmBjRuAv_kg

Style: Vinyasa

Duration: 60-minutes

Level: open-levels

Props: 1 Block

Focus: core strengthening as we work towards handstand

Location: Lila Familia Production Studio, Vancouver, BC

Opening Sequence

Come to a seat using a prop or cross-legged and close your eyes.

This practice honor’s Vishnu, the sustainer. He’s part of the Trimurti with Brahama, the Creator, and Shiva, the Destroyer. Vishnu is known as the one who gives hope. We’ll use Vishnu to inspire our peak pose as we sustain and find balance.

10-15 breath to move as you like, options:

  • Balasana (child’s pose)
  • Adho Mukha Shvanasana (down dog)
  • Uttanasana (forward fold)
  • Bidalasana (cat pose)
  • Bitilasana (cow pose)

2x Sun Salutations opening to your breath.

Follow Clara’s cues or move at your own rhythm.

We’ll meet in mountain pose.

Wave 1

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (hands to sky)

Utkatasana (chair pose) variation with heels lifted from the ground

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Ashta Chandrasana (high lunge) variation twisting open to the side

  • Take the top hand to the sky, OR
  • Take the top hand behind the head and draw the elbow to the sky.

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

  • Hook the extended leg behind the leg on the ground to open the hamstrings.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (down dog)

Phalakasana (plank pose)

  • Take eight chaturanga pushups with knees on or off the ground, OR
  • Take eight breaths in a plank with knees on or off the ground.

Balasana (child’s pose)

Ustrasana (camel) variation sitting on your heels at the back of your mat

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (down dog)

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

Virabhadrasana II (warrior 2) variation with elbows to the sky

Trikonasana (triangle pose)

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

Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (standing splits) OR take little hops.

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Urdhva Hastasana (hands to sky)

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Repeat the same sequence on the other leg.

Wave 2

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (hands to sky)

Utkatasana (chair pose) variation with heels lifted from the ground

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Ashta Chandrasana (high lunge)

Parivrtta Ashtachandrasana (revolved high lunge) option to open the arms.

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

Phalakasana (plank pose) variation

  • Alternate tapping one knee to the upper arm and nose
  • Option to do this from all fours

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

  • Bend the knee of the extended leg and stack your hips

Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (standing splits) OR take little hops and switch your legs in the air like you’re slicing scissors.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (down dog)

Virabhadrasana II (warrior 2)

Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose)

Ashta Chandrasana (high lunge) variation with fingertips on the ground.

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Urdhva Hastasana (hands to sky)

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Repeat the same sequence on the other leg.

Peak Sequence

Come to sit back on your heels and take a breath or two.

We’ll move through three handstand variations; feel free to move to a wall if you want additional support to invert.

Handstand play variations:

  1. Donkey kicks from a downward dog – do three kicks.
  2. Frog legs from a downward dog – do three kicks.
  3. Scissor leg kicks from standing splits – do three on each side.

Cooling Sequence 

Utthan Pristhasana (lizard pose)

Take a backbend of your choice for 15 breaths; options include:

  • Ustrasana (camel pose)
  • Setu Bandha Sarvāṅgāsana (bridge pose)
  • Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel pose)
  • Dhanurasana (bow pose)
  • A supported variation with a block under your bum

Ananda Balasana (happy baby pose) OR Pavanamuktasana (wind release pose)

Supta Kapotasana (reclined pigeon pose)

Baddha Konasana (seated bound angle pose) with the option to take a neck release OR forward fold.

A closing pose of choice, options:

  • Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold)
  • Upavistha Konasana (seated wide-legged forward fold)
  • Viparita Karani (legs up the wall)

Savasana or seated meditation to close.

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