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[Soft piano instrumentals]
-Okay so we’re gonna start with the strongest practice which is pranayam. And the second– I think both of these are strong practices, being able to be still and listening to our bodies. So we’ll just lengthen the spine, let the shoulders relax. Open up the collarbone, I’m gonna encourage you to take your dominant hand and with your index finger and thumb below the collarbone, and just gently pull the collarbone up. As you parallel the chin a little bit more so you feel a little bit more length in the back of the neck. It may feel a little bit stiff at first but it’s really just to open up this… pranayam channel here. And we’ll close the mouth and we’ll begin to invite this lovely prana or breath… into our practice.
And if you could imagine your exhale descending like a blanket, a warm comfy blanket over your body. Feeling the weight and the sense of relaxation. As it settles all the way down to the bottom of the body. The part that’s touching the floor. It is… or your chair. There’s a sense of the breath traveling… downward.
And start to feel the lower portion of your body, especially your sit bones, your pubic bone, your sacrum, your pelvis, your tailbone. Get a sense of weight in this part of the body. And we’re gonna begin a strength practice for the breath, so we’re gonna pull the abdominal muscles in at the lower belly. Just a little bit, a little bit of toning… and then release. And we’re gonna coordinate that with the breath, we’re gonna inhale… through the nostrils, and on the exhale, we’re gonna tone and pull in through the lower belly. Like it’s magnetizing toward your sacrum and your tailbone. And at the same time, this is a little more subtle challenge to to draw your pubic bone and your tailbone straight down. And then we’ll let that go. Go back to your natural breath and let the breath really rise up from the lowest portion of your belly if it’s possible today. And you may not be there today, that’s okay too.
We’re gonna elongate the side of the body so I’m gonna encourage you to place your hands either at a table in front of you or underneath your chair or whatever you’re sitting on. And we just wanna think about taking a breath in, and on the exhale, again do that lower abdominal toning. And keep lengthening up… the sides of the body. It’s very subtle but you should start to feel a firmness in the muscles around the abdominals. A sense of the arms hugging in a little bit. And then exhale with a sigh, let it all go. Take another deep breath in. You may already feel a rush of energy in your body with that. And if it’s new, this video is recorded so you can go back and practice again. Let’s try that again, so you wanna think about the breath coming in through the nostrils… coming out through the nostrils. As we begin to exhale, we begin to tone through the lower abdominals, we pull or press with the hands in the chair, we lengthen through the sides of the body. And the arms hug in– it’s not a tight hug, it’s just firm. And then relax. Great.
We’re gonna take our strap and open it up nice and long. And do a couple of warm ups, and then we’re gonna go into some strength. Let’s start with a really nice, wide strap. Okay, above the head if you can. Soft elbows, and just gently pull on the strap so you feel the opening of the chest, the armpits, the side of the body. And if you want a little bit of an upper back bend, you can reach the arms back behind you a little bit, see how that feels. Sometimes you can bend the elbows to make that happen. And then bring it back, up and over, and then we’re gonna dip over to the left. And let this be more about the length of the side of your body, your right side, as opposed to a big dip and arch, right. So really about pulling on the strap, and also feeling that stretch even in the left side of the body. Go back to pulling in through the lower abdominals. Keep your back supported. And then inhale, bring it up, and exhale over to the other side. Nice. It’s the same thing, I’m gonna gently tug, think again about length. Drop your tailbone down. And then inhale come up…
And bring the arms out in front of you. And circle your arms around your strap so it becomes more parallel to your shoulders. And we’re just gonna firmly pull on the strap. And we’re gonna lower that strap as we lift the left leg up towards the strap, like you’re trying to meet it or you might meet it. And down. And other side… Reach… and down. And again, left side…and down. And right side… and down. Now lift your arms up as high as they can go. Settle into your lower body. If your feet are touching the floor, kind of press down into your feet, spread your toes, and lift your toes up so the heel and the ball of the foot is pressing down more. And you can feel that strength in your thigh muscles and your abdominals. Mountain pose. Find a focal point. Keep breathing… eyes open or closed. One more breath in, and a little differently, let’s let everything kinda melt down. And soft grip on the strap, it can just be sort of hanging on your hands. Palms up on your thighs, reconnect to your precious breath. Good.
So let’s take that strap underneath the left thigh, okay? So we’ll have the strap on both sides of the thigh. So you’re gonna be holding the outer edge with your left hand, the inner edge with your right hand. And we’re gonna lift that leg up again but with a little more support from the strap…okay? Now bring the strap together, you can hold it in both hands, one hand, the other, whatever works for you. I like both. And circle around. And as you’re circling, see if you can make the circle wider and wider… without compromising your lower back, okay. And then eventually, bring your leg out, a little bit more at a diagonal. And we’re just gonna pull into the strap… and I’m gonna recommend pulling with the left hand… and resist. So if the foot reaches the floor, the foot is also resisting into the floor. So again, we’re going into strength. Hopefully you can feel that. These, you know [Coughs] I don’t do as many bikram yoga practices anymore, and I find that these are [Laughs] just as challenging to my muscles because they’re making me pay attention more. You can kinda whiz by a vinyasa without paying too much attention.
And then relax it and feel the difference. Feel the difference in your arm, leg. Now take a breath in, and we’re gonna slide that strap down underneath the heel, okay. And then of course, you’ll slide the strap up a little longer, okay. Now couple of options here, you can just pull on the strap and let the foot stay where it is, or if you’re comfortable with your lower back, you can lift the leg up and extend it and just do a little criss cross, okay. Yeah. Alright, we’re gonna bring it back to center. And just like when we stand, you know, you bend your knee and lift your leg up, this is the pose. Okay, so you can take your strap and pull it up and draw the shoulders back, elbows in. Extending through the foot, knee can be bent. And we’re gonna find a focal point and two breaths. Keep pulling in through those lower abdominals. This is strength again. Breathing in and out. And then very soft, again very soft melting of that left leg down.
Just slide the strap off. Kinda rub your thigh a little bit. [Chuckles] I’m doing this selfishly for myself too. Tap the side of your hip, okay. And let’s just do a nice twist here to release that. So we’re gonna twist over to the right so we feel a little bit more stretch and release into the right side. And come back, inhale. Now if your left leg crosses over your right thigh, you can do that too. Or you can cross your ankles, okay. Your left leg would go on top of your right ankle. We’re gonna twist again, okay. So… and just do the same thing. We want this time though, we’re gonna add a little strength. So we’re gonna go into that practice that we started with, you know. Settling the pubic bone and the tailbone down, feeling the weight of the sit bones, that lower body dense and heavy. And then we lift up from just above the pubic bone, drawing the navel in, drawing the lower belly in, feel the length along the side of the body that creates a lift in the upper body. If you wanna go back and try with your left hand to lift and lengthen up through the collarbone. This time spread the collarbone open with your hand to get a little bit more twist. Feel more length in your spine… and try a couple of breaths in and out.
We’re gonna stay over twisting to the right [Coughs] Excuse me, but we’re gonna relax off of that. Soften all of that down. And we’re gonna look away a little bit, so we’re looking back, away and over that right shoulder so that whole left side of the neck, left shoulder gets a really nice [Audio cuts out] for your body. And then we’re gonna roll the chin down around… and over to the left. And then head back to center now, uncross the legs. Keep your right leg where it is, scoot forward on your chair, and you can have your left leg at a diagonal. So mine’s at a diagonal at the corner of the chair with the knee bent, or you can extend that leg all the way out. We’re gonna go into a side triangle, okay?
So if you wanna use your strap, you can put it on your foot if that feels good, you can put it underneath your calf or your thigh. You could even sit on it, I like this one too, this is… kinda fun. Just actually put the strap underneath your glues and have it up here. And then loop it, let me show you this. It’s a little awkward but it can feel good on your body. Although I’m thinking this might be… a little too short. Maybe not. And then you can just resist into your strap. See this is more about strength in the upper body… ugh, and then you come forward. You have to go pretty tight. It’s surprising, isn’t it? Once you get into it, you think that but… yeah. And you can even use the strap to help you, guide you over to the side, whatever you have left over. So this can be a really nice reminder to keep the chest open. And I find that I can’t go down as far because I wanna keep opening up through the side of the body. It’s a different sensation, but a lot of strength. Hopefully you can feel that. Now you can relax that strap and just reach your left arm down. And your head can go wherever it feels the most comfortable, where you feel like it could get the greatest breath impact on your body. I find for me, I do better with my head looking down, seems like you do too. Now we’re gonna use that right hand, lower it down and grab the side of the chair. Lift your left arm up and reach. Now you’ll feel that strap, hopefully. Reach up and over, a little side angle. Nice. And then inhale, exhale. Relax and release. Okay.
Take the strap out, you can unloop it or just slide it off, whatever works for you. I think I’m gonna unloop it because I wanna use it for the other side… with all the leg extensions, et cetera. We’re gonna do a couple of cat and cows to release our back here. Okay, and then we’ll go into a forward bend. So we’ll come to the back of the chair, holding onto the chair or the knees, whatever feels good. We’re gonna inhale, arch up a little bit, a little bit of the cat bones… and then we’re gonna round forward, just a small rounding along the front of the body. And up again, inhale, nice. And exhale, oh good! Good good good. And now if it feels comfortable for your body, you can make that a little bit larger. Just inhale, reach… and exhale, round and fold all the way forward into some nice [unclear]. If that feels like too much, pull on your lower back, press your hands on your front of your chair, hold on a little more firmly. Or just fold forward and release. One more breath. Good. We’re gonna drop that tailbone and walk the hands up, really support that leg. Wonderful. Good.
Let’s take a sun breath in, and let’s really gather that up, breathe in… and exhale, circle down. Lovely, good, good. So let’s go to the other side. So we’re gonna take that strap and place it under the thigh… and we’ll do a little circle. Okay, so same thing, we can grab with both hands, one hand, two hands, I don’t know why I feel like I like the two hand thing [Chuckles]. And lift up. And we’ll just start by opening up, move side to side, little circles in one direction… and the other. And just try to inch it more and more out to the side at a diagonal. And then bring it down. And this is where we do our strength, we’re gonna hold onto the strap with both hands. Right hand to the outer edge, left hand to the inner edge. And we’re gonna resist, we’re gonna pull on the strap and press down into the thigh, feel the length of the spine, press into the foot. Really strong. And the challenge, I would say, is to really be in the next layer of your yoga practice, to keep breathing, to keep the breath going. So anytime we’re doing resistance, we tend to hold. And then relax… good.
And now slide the strap down [Audio cuts out]… you wanna use it, perhaps you don’t. I’m gonna put the strap down around the bottom of the prosthetic foot that I have here and lift the leg up. You can put it behind your knee, your calf, or your thigh like we just did. If you need support, hold on with your left hand to your chair. And just a little swaying side to side. Good. And eventually, lower the leg down, and again that melting sensation is really nice. And then scoot yourself up a little bit more towards the edge of your chair. You can stay with just the open leg and the knee bent, or you can extend that leg. And go back to the strap around your glutes like so, that felt good on the other side, you might wanna try, or you might wanna try something different on this side, putting your strap around your foot. Alright, and you’re gonna… I’m gonna put it around my foot on this side– actually no, ‘cause I have to demonstrate. Okay, so nevermind [Chuckles]. And again, it has to be a little tighter than you realize [Chuckles] to feel that resistance. Okay, but that extra strap will come in handy when we go into our triangle. So you want it underneath– slide the shoulder underneath and you just kinda pull until you get that… resistance. Okay? Good. And then you’re gonna reach over towards the right, and the left arm is gonna come up. Open up. And this is where you can take the strap and pull on it as you resist down. And feel a little bit more opening in that side body. And then slowly release.
Okay, and we’ll take the strap off, and we’ll release that with a twist, we’ll do two twists on this side. First bringing the legs together and just a nice gentle twist to start. Twisting over toward the left, letting the head twist towards the left. Breath is steady. And then inhale, back to center. And then bring the right leg over the thigh or the ankle, and we’re gonna twist again. This time a little bit more resistance. We’re gonna drop again, drop the tail, drop the pubic bone, lift up through the lower abdominals. And like we did on the other side, you can take your hand underneath your collarbone and begin to lift up first and then spread the collarbone, it’s a really nice opening for the chest. And now we’re gonna hold the position for a breath or two. And then lean the head back, feel that lovely reach of the head, opening on the right side of the body. And roll the chin down… and over towards the right shoulder, and then that left neck gets a nice opening.
And then bring the head back to the center, hold onto the chair, uncross the legs. We’re gonna open the legs a little bit wider. Okay, I’m just checking time because I got carried away… okay good! We have time. [Chuckles] Let’s bring the hands to the inner thighs, okay. And we’re just gonna resist here. So we’ll start with a little strength. And keep the breath going. Couple more breaths. [Coughs] Sorry! And then we’re gonna relax, okay. And round forward. Again, you can just go halfway if that’s better on your back and your neck. You can fold all the way forward if that’s easier or feels good to you. Let the head dangle. This is a deeper, wide angle. And then tuck the tail and inhale, roll all the way back up.
Bring the legs together again. And I’m gonna encourage you to just cross your ankles for a sec, or cross your legs in one direction, take a deep breath in. Feels good to cross the ankles. And just release and relax the pelvis, the inner thighs, the knees. And then switch the ankle cross, other leg on top. See if you notice a difference. And then uncross the legs, bring the feet parallel. And we’re just gonna take our hands, little fists behind our lower back here, and press into the fists just to release that lower back, little massage here. Because I don’t know about you, but I think we used our lower back a lot today. I just wanna loosen it up a little bit. Okay… And then slide it out a little bit so you’re more towards the top of the hips and rest– just kinda rest your upper body into your fists here. Little massage again. Since we’re not working with the massage balls [Chuckles], we can use the fists. And then all the way out to the side, just press into the hips here… elbows wide. Good.
And then relax the arms, and inhale the arms up, almost like you’re wrapping a beautiful… we’ll say the light of the day around us and letting it drop down over us. As we bring ourselves back to the center, back to our breath. Back to the gift of this beautiful moment. Oh, the light just kind of came all the way in. [Giggles]. Place one hand over the heart, and then the other hand on top, reconnect to your essence. And anytime throughout the day you need to get inner guidance, inner direction, inner wisdom, you can come back to this lovely gesture to find your way back home, get the answers you need. One more deep breath in, and out. And palms together at anahata chakra, heart center. [Speaking Sanskrit] It’s peace, peace, peace.