This is a yin-based asana practice for nurturing the kidneys and welcoming sacred presence into your body and dwelling space. As you move into each shape, allow your focus and intention to be devoted to seeing every part of your physical body as sacred, every aspect of the floor in your home as sacred — allowing this energy to expand into the earth and into the room you’re in.
As you move through this sequence allow your focus to also be on stillness. Move gently into each shape and meet the first layer of tension/resistance and pause there. Do not force or push the body in any way. The magic of this practice is in the stillness and in each shape. Yin practices put gentle pressure on the joints and ligaments and that pressure over time allows release. Each pose is recommended to be held for 2-5 minutes each (and on each side).
Inhale – I AM
Exhale – SACRED
And/or – “I am strong, sacred, and at peace.”
1. Butterfly Pose
Begin with your sit bones rooted firmly into the mat. Bring the soles of your feet together and your knees wide so that the legs make a diamond shape. Feel the stretch in your inner hips, legs, and groin. Then, use your hands to gently pry the outer edges of your feet apart like a book and round through the spine, dropping your chin to your chest.
Transition: Make your way down to your belly and rest your head on your hands in Infant Pose. Notice what’s already shifted in the body. It might be subtle!
2. Sphinx Pose
From your belly, prop yourself up onto your forearms so that the shoulders stack right over or just behind the elbows. You should feel some gentle compression in your lower back. Stay here, or drop your chin to your chest for a stretch down the neck and into the upper back. If you feel any tension in your lower back, gentle walk the elbows forward and away to allow your rib cage to make contact with the floor.
3. Seal Pose
If you’re not feeling much in the lower back, start to walk your hands back towards your body and straighten through the arms for Seal Pose. (I like to bring my legs as wide as the mat here.) Allow the shoulders to shrug up into the ears. Relax the glutes and the backs of the legs.
Transition: Come back down to the belly, then press hips to heels for Child’s Pose. Bring your feet together and knees wide, or bring your knees together and your hands down by your sides. Rock your forehead side to side to release any tension around the eyes. Pause here for 2-5 minutes or until you feel ready to move on to half dragonfly.
4. Half Dragonfly
From Child’s Pose, lift your torso and swing both legs out in front of you. Keep your right leg extended and bring the sole of your left foot to your inner right thigh (think Tree Pose.) As you inhale, reach the arms up; on the exhale, hinge at the hips and fold over your extended leg. Allow the spine to round and the palms to face up in a symbol of surrender. Send your breath to your lower back and your right hamstring.
Repeat on the other side.
5. Caterpillar Pose
In this pose, both legs are extended in front of you. Feel free to place a rolled-up blanket or pillow under the knees if the hamstrings are tight. Again, use your inhale to reach the arms up; exhale to fold. Allow the spine to round, and with each breath out, allow the head to drop closer to the knees.
Transition: Come all the way down to your back and rest in Reclined Butterfly Pose. Lying supine with your feet together and knees wide. Bring one hand to your belly and one hand to your chest. Feel your breath and your heartbeat at the same time. Hold for 2-5 minutes or until you’re ready to move on to a lying spinal twist.
6. Lying Spinal Twist
Hug your knees into your chest and take a few rocks side to side, massaging the low back, kidneys, and muscles along the spine. On an exhale, drop both knees over to the right and bring your gaze to the left for a spinal twist. Relax the shoulders and hips into the mat. If it feels okay in your body, allow your eyes to fall closed. If there is any tension in the lower back you can place a pillow in between or underneath the knees.
Repeat on the other side.
7. Stirrup Pose (Happy Baby)
Hug both knees back into the chest and bring your hands to the back of each knee (the underside of the knee). Allow the entire spine to gently make contact with the floor. If you would like a greater stretch, place hands on the outer edges of your shins, ankles, or reach for the outsides of the feet. Pull your knees towards your armpits and press your low back into the floor. Take a few rocks side to side, or straighten one leg and then the other.
8. Legs up the Wall
To get into this inversion, bring one hip against the wall. On an exhale, swing your legs and feet up the wall as you lower your back and head to the floor. Bring your hands to your belly or allow the arms to fall overhead. Stay for at least 10 deep breaths.
Option to stay in Legs up the Wall for Savasana, or make your way back to your mat.
9. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Take one final big breath in; on the exhale, allow your legs long on the mat, palms face up by your sides. Feel free to take up space here. Come back to your intention of seeing your physical body as sacred and divine. When you feel complete, come to a seat and close your practice with an OM, bow, and a “thank you” to yourself.