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Getting in touch with the elements (Earth, Air, Fire and Water) will help you to connect with nature. Each element has its own teachings that can be tapped in to in your yoga practice.
The Earth element is about grounding, connecting to your roots, and foundation. This sequence will work the foundation, play with your balance, and include poses close to the floor.
The class begins with some dynamic yoga flow (the Vinyasa portion), and ends with some passive long held poses (the Yin portion).
1. Bridge – Laying down on the ground, bend the knees and bring the soles to the mat. Anchor the shoulders down. Push in to the heels. Curl the tailbone up, lifting the hips, low back and mid back. Hug your inner thighs together. Lean on to your left foot. Keep the thighs parallel as you extend the right leg forward in a diagonal line. Lower the hips down. Cross the right ankle over the left knee. Stay here, or lift the left foot off the floor, hugging the legs in to the belly. Uncross. Then repeat on the other leg.
2. Table Top – Come in to table top, wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Take a few rounds of cat/cow. Inhale, drop the belly and lift the gaze. Exhale, round and contract the spine. Return to neutral, finding a strong foundation with a flat spine. Reach your right leg up and back. Keep the right hip from opening up. Maybe also extend the left hand forward. Thinking about the length from fingers to heel, as well as keeping the core strong. Return left hand to the floor, lift to the right fingertips. Start to roll the right hip open, trying to stack it on top of the left hip. Squeeze the glutes and kick through right heel. Maybe bring the right hand to the hip, or even extend it up to the sky. Shift the gaze up. Slowly look back down and lower the right hand.
3. Lunge – Step your right foot between the palms at the front of the mat. Coming in to low lunge as you sink hips down. Tuck the back toes under, lift the left knee. Lift the belly off the thigh. Reach the left arm forward and right arm back, in a big diagonal line. Release both hands down inside the front foot and walk them to the left as you turn the toes in, coming to a wide-legged forward fold. With the feet parallel to the shorter edges of the mat. Relax the head, letting it be heavy. Relax the jaw and shoulders as well. Walk hands back to front, step back into downward dog.
Take a vinyasa, then repeat 2 and 3 on the other side.
4. Standing Balance – From downward dog, kick your right foot up to the sky. Then step it through between the hands, lifting up in to high lunge. Arms rise overhead. Begin to tilt forward in to a diagonal line. Lower the hands to the heart, and step the left foot forward. Bend the knees and sink the hips down in chair pose. Push in to the feet to come back to standing. Lean on the right foot, bringing the left foot somewhere inside of the standing leg. Hold here, or take in to a side bend. Clasp hold of the left foot with the left hand. Reach the right hand up as you inhale. Exhale to bend towards the left.
5. Bear – Take the feet as wide as the mat. Bend the knees a bit as you fold down. Catch the big toes with the two peace fingers. Inhale, lift and lengthen. Exhale, bend the elbows as you fold. Release your toes, bend your knees and send your hips back with the spine flat. See if you can extend your arms forward in bear pose. Keep everything at same height, parallel towards the ground.
Take a vinyasa, then repeat 4 and 5 on other side.
6. Half Butterfly – Come to a seat. Extend the right leg forward, bending the left knee. Bring the left foot inside the right thigh, dropping the knee out to the side. Fold forward passively here. Not pushing and pulling. Use props to close the gap between your forehead and the floor. Turn the palms up. Surrender in to the pose. Taking slow and steady breaths as the body gradually opens. Holding here for 2-5 minutes. Ease slowly out of the pose, then transition to the other side.
7. Spinal Twist – Lower down on your back. Extend the right leg out, as you draw the left knee in. Cross the left knee over the body towards the right side. Stretch your left arm out to the side. To take it deeper, extend the left leg out. Holding on with the right hand. Keep the gaze up, or look towards the left hand.
Want a full 45 minute Vin to Yin class? Practice along with me in the video below.
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