Root to rise flow
A grounding yoga flow to help you reconnect with your forgotten feet, boost stability and give rise to lightness and spaciousness within the upper body.
By Isabel Lankester
Enjoy this grounding practice which will help you connect with your feet. Often our feet can be completely forgotten...we shove them into shoes, constantly running about all day without realising the pure earthiness of these incredible anatomical features.
Our feet are a complex combination of joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons, all working together to create the best support for our body. Here we can enjoy how the feet create stability and give rise to lightness and spaciousness within the upper body.
Watch the mini session with Isabel Lankester below, brought to you in partnership with Isabel Lankester Yoga. Visit isabellankesteryoga.com for the full-length class, plus 100+ more on-demand and live stream classes.
1. Uttasana (Standing Forward Bend)
Starting in Tadasana (mountain pose) with the hands alongside your body. Close your eyes and assess the stability rising up from the feet. Notice a lean towards the balls of the feet and then backwards onto the heels. Finally rest in your centre of gravity. Here we begin with a neutral stance.
Open your eyes, take an inhale and reach your arms up, looking towards your thumbs Urdhva Hastasana (upward salute). Take a big exhale and begin to forward fold towards the floor into Uttanasana (standing forward bend). Let you hands rest either on the ground or onto blocks (to bring the earth towards you). Take a few breaths here, feeling the sensations of your feet against the ground. Notice the areas of your feet pushing against the floor, versus areas of your feet which are slightly lifted. Draw your chin in towards your chest and take a deep sigh into gravity. Begin to heel toe your feet hip distance and now grab your elbows. Encourage your head to hang in space as you sway gently from side to side. Notice the back of your legs begin to lengthen towards the heels. Add a small bend in your knees so you're not locking out your legs.
2. Parsvottansana (Pyramid Pose)
Start to let the hands come back down towards the floor/blocks. Lean your weight into the right foot as you step the left foot half way back. Begin to straighten up the legs. Parsvottansana (pyramid pose). You can have your back foot at a slight angle to find comfort in your pelvis here. Take a long inhale as you look forward, lengthening the spine before folding deeply over the front leg. (This is where your blocks might come in handy!). Pause here for a few breaths, noticing how your body is evenly distributing weight between both feet.
3. Trikonasana (Triangle)
Start to press the right hand just above the right shin bone as we being to open upwards and outwards towards Trikonasana (triangle pose). You will have to shift your left foot further back to make room for a large external rotation of your left hip bone, as you start to reach your right hand high to the sky. Option here to either look to the side or more traditionally to your top hand. Can you feel how the downward pressure into your feet is creating lightness in your right hand and torso? Keep rotating your left rib cage upwards and feel the scapula on the back of the body come together. Take a few breaths here to enjoy the pose.
4. Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
Start to look down to your front foot and bring both hands down to frame that foot. Lower your left knee onto the ground and begin to reach both arms upwards, moving into Anjaneyasana (low lunge). Press a weight into your right foot, spreading the toes across the ground to prevent a collapse into your hip socket. The fingers should feel light and weightless here, as you create extra support via the back knee. If you feel pinching in the back knee remember to roll up the side of your mat for extra support. Draw your belly up and in, so that the feeling of support dilates from the feet upwards towards the hips, torso and chest.
5. Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
Bring your hands to the ground stepping back onto a downward-facing dog. Use your down dog to again feel into weightlessness as you press your hands and feet against the ground, noticing space and lightness within the navel area. Feel your belly button hugging into your spine, chin drawing into your chest. Notice how the muscles which hold up your neck feel soft and light as your tail rises to the sky. Lift your heels up and down to open up the back of the legs. Now find stillness and pause in this shape.
6. Ardha Uttanasana (Standing Half Forward Bend)
After a few breaths step forwards towards the top of your mat. Keeping the hands on the floor/blocks, inhale take a half way lift of your chest, moving into Ardha Uttanasana (standing half forward bend). Draw the belly in and lean your weight back into the heels without lifting the toes away from the ground. Exhale forward fold again into Uttanasana (standing forward bend). Pressing into the ground lift both arms up to the sky and look upwards, Urdhva Hastana (upward salute), then bring hands to heart to finish in Samasthiti (mountain pose). Option to now repeat this sequence on your left side.
Enjoy the full yoga studio experience from the comfort of your own home with 100+ more on-demand and live-stream classes, from power yoga and vinyasa to yin, meditation and slow flows. isabellankesteryoga.com
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.