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We Bless This Year (60-min) Vinyasa

A dynamic and fluid full-body yoga class, this 60-minute vinyasa practice features deep backends with bow and wheel as the peak poses.  Open practice with a poem by John O’Donohue and a simple pranayama, Bastrika Breath, to build heat and connect you to your body. Hamstring and inner thigh lengthening, core strengthening, backbends, twists, and seated forward fold complete your practice. Take seated meditation or savasana to close.

Style: Vinyasa

Duration: 58-mins

Level: open

Props: 2 blocks

Focus: full body class with core strengthening, twists, backbends, and deep forward folds.

Location: Lila Familia Production Studio, Vancouver, BC

Spotify Playlist: Chandra Namaskar

Poem to anchor the class:

 

AT THE END OF THE YEAR

The particular mind of the ocean

Filling the coastline’s longing

With such brief harvest

Of elegant, vanishing waves

Is like the mind of time

Opening us shapes of days.

As this year draws to its end,

We give thanks for the gifts it brought

And how they became inlaid within

Where neither time nor tide can touch them.

The days when the veil lifted

And the soul could see delight;

When a quiver caressed the heart

In the sheer exuberance of being here.

Surprises that came awake

In forgotten corners of old fields

Where expectation seemed to have quenched.

The slow, brooding times

When all was awkward

And the wave in the mind

Pierced every sore with salt.

The darkened days that stopped

The confidence of the dawn.

Days when beloved faces shone brighter

With light from beyond themselves;

And from the granite of some secret sorrow

A stream of buried tears loosened.

We bless this year for all we learned,

For all we loved and lost

And for the quiet way it brought us

Nearer to our invisible destination.

— John O’Donohue (To Bless The Space Between Us/Benedictus)

​​Bastrika Breath or Bellows Breath

This style of pranayama works to energize and clear slow or stagnant energy. Do this pranayama at any time of the day to clear the mind and body and stimulate the flow of Prana.

How to do it:

  • Inhale through the nose and arch the spine
  • Exhale sharply through the nose and round the spine
  • Take this pranayama seated and place the hands to the thighs
  • Pull against the knees as you exhale

Do three rounds:

  • Round 1: do 5 cycles with kumbhaka (breath retention after last round)
  • Round 2: do 7 cycles with kumbhaka after the last round
  • Round 3: do 9 cycles with kumbhaka after the last round

Benefits of Bastrika Pranayama:

  • Strengthens the digestive system
  • Stimulates the respiratory system
  • Energizes the body and mind
  • Increases oxygenation to the blood to support organs and tissues
  • Tones abdominal area
  • Drains excess fluids and phlegm from the lungs

Movement

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

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

Come to Tadasana at the top of your mat.

2x Sun Salutations 

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Urdvha Hastasana (hands to sky)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Anjaneyasana (lunge)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Phalakasana (plank pose)

Chaturunga

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) varaiton

  • Keep the back knee lifted from the ground
  • Inhale and take your arms back and up
  • Exhale and take your arms forward and down
  • Repeat several cycles with your breath

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

  • Draw circles with your toes of the extended leg
  • Point your toes

Eka Pada Phalakasana (one-legged-plank pose) variation

  • Inhale and extend the leg back behind you
  • Exhale and round your back, taking your nose to your knee
  • Repeat several cycles

Chaturanga

ON your belly

  • Extend one arm long in front of you
  • Bend the opposite knee and take the foot with the same hand
  • Kick your foot into your hand and lift your breastbone up to the sky
  • Press the fingertips on the front hand in the ground

Salamba Bhujangasana (ssphinx pose) variation

  • Keep your toes and forearms on the ground
  • Draw circles with your head to release the neck
  • Take circles in both directions

Bhujangasana (cobra pose) OR Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (upward facing dog)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

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

Virabhadrasana II (warrior 2 pose) variation

  • Inhale and straighten both legs, taking your arms overhead
  • Exhale and bend your front knee, taking your arms wide to warrior 2
  • Repeat several cycles with your breath

Trikonasana (triangle pose)

  • Option to float the bottom hand to the heart

Anjaneyasana (lunge)

Parivrtta Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana (revolved lunge) with wide arms

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Urdvha Hastasana (hands to sky)

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (standing hand to foot pose) variation

  • Take your hands to the back of your extended leg
  • Inhale and point the toes
  • Exhale and bend the knee
  • Repeat several cycles

Anjaneyasana (lunge)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Phalakasana (plank pose)

Chaturanga

Bhujangasana (cobra pose) OR Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (upward facing dog)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

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.

**Second Set:

Shalambasana (locust) OR Dhanurasana (bow)

Setu Bandha Sarvāṅgāsana (bridge) or Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel)

Floor Series

Baddha Konasana (reclined bound angle)

Jathara Parivartanasana (reclined spinal twist)

Inversion of choice:

  • Viparita Karani (legs up the wall)
  • Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)
  • Sirsasana (headstand)

Upavistha Konasana (wide-legged straddle fold) variation

  • Bend one knee and take the foot toward the pelvis
  • Extend the opposite leg wide
  • Twist to the side with a bent knee
  • Hold and breathe into the twist
  • Unwind, and extend your torso over the extended leg
  • Gently twist to the opposite side
  • Breathe into the length of your spine and the extended leg
  • Repeat on either side

Upavistha Konasana (wide-legged straddle fold) OR Baddha Konasana (bound angle pose)

  • Option to place blocks under your arms, forehead, or wherever serves to support your pose.

Savasana or seated meditation to close.

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