My favorite painting tool + a peek into my painting process

I use a lot of tools when I paint. Brushes, canvases, paints and palettes. But my absolute favorite tool in my painting tool bag is my intuition.

Painting is a great place to practice playing with intuition. When I begin to paint, I am constantly asking myself questions, like “what does my composition want to look like? What colors need to be used?” The answers to those questions naturally arise from an intuitive place. The more and more that I engage with the painting process, the more easily and quickly the answers arrive.

In one of my newest pieces, I wanted to create a strong, bold piece that addressed the theme of rising up from the strength within, from that place of steadiness within your center. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to access that in my own life, so I wanted to create a piece that explored this idea.

The pose that helps me embody the feeling of rising up out of my own strength is tree pose, where you are both rooted and at the same time expanding out. As I started to draw it, I discovered that a more close up version of the pose was asking to come out of the painting.

I also felt that the piece needed to have a mudra, a hand position, with one hand at the heart to represent the idea that that the strength comes from the heart, from the center and the other hand, reaching up and out.

This was the kind of information that started coming up as I was working on this piece. My intuitive voice spoke to me as I worked, guiding me through the creation of the painting.

The interesting thing about painting is that it is a fairly low risk way of working with the intuitive messages that arise. The worse that can happen is that you create something, make a mark or use a color in the way your intuition is telling you to and it doesn’t look good.


For example, at one point while I was painting "Awake", my intuitive voice dropped to say “it needs some green.” Okay cool, I put some blobs of green in there and that felt right. I listen in to what wants to come through and trust that, put it down and see what happens. Sometimes you put something down and it isn’t right and that’s no big deal, just cover it up.

When I can allow myself to work this way, the painting becomes a collaboration between me and my intuition.

When you can trust what you are being told, what is coming through you, the painting process becomes really exciting.

What it means to be Awake

I named this painting “Awake” because as I was creating it, it became clear to me that because I had drawn the figure so up close, she really needed to have a face with features.

At first, I painted her with her eyes closed, but it didn’t feel right, which I took as a message that she needed to have her eyes open, she needed to be awake. I repainted it with her eyes open, awake.

When I was younger I used to love draw faces. In high school and college, I would fill the corners of my notebooks with eyes and faces. I was fascinated with drawing eyes because when I was drawing them, a soul appeared on the page that was not me. There is that saying that eyes are the windows to the soul and there is something really cool about bringing a figure to life and giving her a soul in that way.

What I have learned about listening to my inner voice

I’m learning more and more to trust what I hear, trust what arises, trust what I feel. I’m learning to trust the messages that appear in imagery, especially if I see that image or symbol repeated over and over again in lots of places. I’m learning to pay attention to the messages, symbols and imagery instead of writing them off as nothing.

What I’m discovering is that our intuition is really accessible, it’s right there for you. It doesn’t have to be about some major thing. This inner voice, this part of you that knows, really does know. My biggest learning curve has been that the inner voice is worth trusting, trusting that when I get a message, it’s actually something.

Painting is a way to begin to trust the inner voice.

When I hear those inner messages about what needs to go where, what colors need to be expressed, what movement needs to be expressed, what shapes need to appear, all of that is coming from that intuitive place. And it becomes really fun when I can let go of the self critique, the self judgement and instead, play. When I take the pedal off the self-negative talk and instead allow it to be this process of play between me and my intuition.

Messages from Imagery

Marion Woodman has this beautiful idea that says, “Images have energy, they have power. That they come through to help you re-remember your wholeness.”

I love that idea that the images themselves that come through in the painting process can carry messages of healing and wisdom for us. The message that came up for me as I worked with this painting, Awake, was this:

Everything we need is within and we are so much more powerful than we even know.

We’ve got this incredible source of power within us and we no longer need to look outside of ourselves for the validation of our own power.

The figure in this painting is fierce about wanting us to know this about ourselves. We have to know this about ourselves, she’s awake and ready to tell us, to wake us up when we forget.

8 simple ways to access intuition + empower your life

There are a zillion and one ways to open up and access your own intuitive powers and you can develop your own unique way of doing so. Here’s a couple of ideas to get you started:


Tarot cards

I began using Tarot cards at the end of 2016 while going through a decision making process about moving. I turned onto the Tarot to get more clarity around about the situation. The tarot cards help you to learn more about the energy around and issue and can help give you new insights into anything and everything you are dealing with.

[image: tarot card image with caption + link to those tarot cards]

Strength Card from the  Shadowscape Tarot Deck

Strength Card from the Shadowscape Tarot Deck

I’ve started using Tarot cards for all kinds of decisions, and have even begun implementing everywhere from business planning to brainstorming ideas for writing projects and to discover new themes to explore in my paintings.

Learn more about Tarot

  • The Shadowscape Tarot deck (pictured above) created by the artist, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law  are the cards I’ve been using and they are absolutely beautiful!
  • Biddy Tarot is my favorite go to to learn all about Tarot.


Pay attention to your dreams

Dreams can be another way that our intuition is trying to send us messages. Dreams speak to us in metaphor and through symbols. For me, this is one of the most challenging ways to access my intuition because my dreams feel so weird and random sometimes. A teacher once told me that everyone that appears in your dreams is an aspect of you and it’s a part of you that is asking to be noticed and acknowledged. I find writing down my dreams as soon as I wake is the best way to start to unpack everything that comes up in a dream and sometimes triggers me to remember parts of the dream I’ve forgotten.

Learn more about gaining insights from your dreams


Intuitive Art making

Making art is a fantastic way to open up the channel to your inner voice because intuition can be so visual and symbolic. Ask your intuition what is trying to come through and then let the question go. Get out your paints or drawing tools and some paper, put some tunes on and set a timer for 20 minutes. Start drawing or painting without a preconceived idea of what you are going to create. Begin making marks, playing with color and breathing. Play for the whole 20 minutes and every time you feel your self-judgement creeping in, reminding yourself that this is not meant to be a masterpiece, simply an exercise to access your inner wisdom.

[image: upclose of art piece ]

Afterwards, take some time to contemplate your piece. Does anything in particular jump out at you? What does it mean to you? Try turning the page upside down. Does anything come up for you from that new perspective? Make note of everything and anything that comes up.

Learn more about intuitive art making

  • Artist Flora Bowley wrote a beautiful book, Brave Intuitive Painting that illustrates her process of utilizing intuition in art making



This is my favorite way of accessing my intuition. It takes a little practice to get into the mind space to transcribe what your intuition is telling you, but finding a regular quiet time and space for this practice is really helpful. It gets easier with practice. My practice of journaling as a tool to access intuition starts when I address it as if I were writing a letter to my inner voice. I ask it questions and my inner voice responds.

To try this, set a timer for 10 minutes and begin on a blank page of your journal. At the top write, Dear Inner Voice, (or however you want to address your intuition) What do you have to say to me today? (or any other pressing question you might have). If an answer arises immediately, write it down. If it doesn’t, just begin writing and see what appears on the page as your write. I have found this to be one of the most powerful ways to hear my inner voice speaking to me.

Learn more about accessing your inner voice through journaling


Yoga for Intuition

Yoga is a wonderful way to quiet the mind and move into the inner knowing of the physical body. The movement can assist in releasing the doubt and worry of everyday life so that your intuition can flow more easily.

Here’s a few yoga sequences that can help you awaken your intuition



It’s pretty much impossible to hear your spirit trying to communicate with you when there’s a lot of chatter going on up in the old mind space. (There is usually a lot in mine!) So, take a breather. Set a timer for 10 minutes and let your mind get quiet. Let your thoughts settle and let your awareness move inward.

Need a little more guidance on getting started with a meditation practice? Try these tools:


Align your rhythms

The natural world is innately intuitive. Plants, trees, and animals live in harmony within the rhythms of the world around them. I started wondering what I might learn from becoming more that way myself, if I too could come more into alignment with the natural environment. There are so many ways to do this and simply spending time in nature can instantly make you feel more grounded and connected to the natural world and your own innate sensibilities like intuition. I’ve dabbled in Ayurveda and the practice of aligning more fluidly with the seasons by noticing what’s going on with them and nourishing myself based on what I discover.

Another practice I’ve found helpful is to work with the cycles of the moon by simply noticing where in the moon cycle we are and noting how I am feeling during that phase. The idea is that this information will help me attune to what I’m really in need of during the different phases of the moon cycle.

Learn more aligning your personal rhythms with the rhythms of nature


Aromatherapy to Awaken Intuition

Scents can transport, uplift and energize us. It can be powerfully transformative to utilize our sense of smell to access our intuition. Combine this technique with some of the others, journaling, yoga, meditating and art making in particular, for deepen your experience and connection to your intuition.

Here’s a couple of wonderful smelling ways to play with awakening your intuition with aromatherapy:

  • Essential Oils (some good ones to use for intuition are Peppermint, Sandalwood and my favorite, a Young Living blend called Transformation)
  • Smudging with Sage or Palo Santo can open up the sacred space around you and allow intuition to flow more easily

Have fun getting your Intuition on!

A Yoga Flow to Awaken Your Inner Voice

The way forward is inward.

Whenever I am feeling muddled or unclear about my life and the direction that I am moving (which is more frequent than I would like), I try to remember that the process of being in the dark is normal, necessary even. That this place of the unknown is actually a call to move inward.

If you are faced with a change in your life or if you ever feel unsure of where you are going, take it as an invitation to move within, to sit in the stillness and listen in to the voice inside of you that knows the way, that can guide you through the dark.

Focus on your core engagement + what aries from your center.

Intuition is often associated with the third eye, the space between the eyes, an energy center related to visions and inner seeing. What I’ve observed, is that while this is often where intuition expresses itself through intuitive thoughts or images that we “see,” it actually arises from deeper within. I believe that it originates from the core of our experience, the center essence of who we are. It’s that idea of a “gut instinct” and “knowing it to your core.” Nourishing the core can be really beneficial in empowering our intuition to bubble up into form.

This sequence is designed to help you awaken your core and move energy and blood flow into the pelvic bowl so that it may arise into the articulation of your intuition.

Spiral in + in and root down.

As you move through this sequence, focus on engaging the core and balancing the pelvis. To do this, first hug the inner thighs towards one another, then back. This action will tilt the pelvis back and create a curve in the low back. Then into that space, root the tailbone down as you draw your navel towards your spine and upwards. This action will tilt the pelvis forward and create length in the low back. As you move through the following flow, play with these two actions to find the balanced middle ground between them. See if you can keep engagement of the core and balance in the pelvis as you move.  

The following is a flow sequence for going into the core of who you are, the place that knows. I also created a Spotify playlist for you to listen to you while you practice!



Warm Up

Start on your back with a hand on your belly and the other on your chest while you begin to deepen the breath. Feel the breath move as it rises from the belly up into the chest on the inhalation. Exhale through the chest, ribcage and all the way back down to the belly. Continue breathing deeply for another 5 rounds of breath.

Leg Lifts. Inhale and lift your right leg in the air, while your left leg stays extended on your mat. Draw your navel towards your spine to activate the core. Exhale lower the leg back down to the floor. Do three more rounds of breath, rising your right leg. At the end of the third breath, bring both legs to the floor. Then inhale lift the left leg. Exhale release it to the floor. Continue for three rounds on the left leg.

Come into Downward Facing Dog, pressing the thighs back as you root the tailbone towards the floor.

From left to right: Child's Pose, Dolphin Pose, Warrior II, Triangle, Prasarita Padottanasana (wide legged forward fold), Twisted Lizard Pose, Uttanasana (variation), Eagle Pose, Salabhasana, Bridge Pose. 

From left to right: Child's Pose, Dolphin Pose, Warrior II, Triangle, Prasarita Padottanasana (wide legged forward fold), Twisted Lizard Pose, Uttanasana (variation), Eagle Pose, Salabhasana, Bridge Pose. 

Flow #1

1. From Downward Facing Dog, lift the right leg to the sky for one-legged dog

2. Exhale and bring right leg forward between your hands. Place the knee on the floor for Low Lunge. Breath for 3 rounds of breath.

3. Inhale and lift the left knee off the ground as you rise up to High Lunge.

4. Exhale place the hands on either side of the foot, step back to Plank.

5. Exhale and lower the forearms into a Dolphin Plank. Hold for five breaths then press back up to plank.

6. Press back into Child’s Pose.

7. With the forearms on the floor, clasp your hands together and lift your hips for Dolphin’s Pose.

8. Press back up into Down Facing Dog, one hand at a time.

9. Vinyasa, repeat on the other side.

Flow #2

10. Inhale right leg up, then step it forward between your hands and rise up to Warrior II, front heel inline with your back, knee directly above your ankle. Exhale.

Warrior II

Warrior II

11. On the next inhale, straighten the front leg

12. Exhale and sweep right hand towards the sky for a Reversed Trikonasana (Triangle) Pose.

13. Inhale and come back to center, reach your right arm out in front of you to lengthen out the sides of your body, then exhale as you bring right hand to the floor for Trikonasana (Triangle) Pose. Stay here for three breaths.

14. On your next inhale, root down through your feet to rise back up to center. Bring your right foot to face the long edge of your mat, maintaining your wide stance. Exhale bring your hands to your hips. Inhale and lengthen sides of the body, exhale fold forward for Prasarita Padottansana (forward fold). Stay here for three breaths.

15. On your next exhale, walk your hands to the back of your mat, hands on either side of your left foot. Inhale, root the right foot down and press up into Warrior II

Triangle Pose

Triangle Pose

16. Straighten front leg, reversed Trikonasana (triangle pose)

17. Exhale and sweep right hand towards the sky for a Reversed Trikonasana (triangle) pose

18. Inhale and come back to center, reach your right arm out in front of you to lengthen out the sides of your body, then exhale as you bring right hand to the floor for Trikonasana (triangle) Pose. Stay here for three breaths.

19. On your next inhale, root down through your feet to rise back up to center. Bring your right foot to face the long edge of your mat, maintaining your wide stance. Exhale bring your hands to your hips. Inhale and lengthen sides of the body, exhale fold forward for Parsvottansana (forward fold). Stay here for three breaths.

20.  On your next exhale, walk your hands to the back of your mat, hands on either side of your right foot in a Lunge.

21. Vinyasa, repeat on the other side.

Flow #3

23. From Downward Dog step forward between your hands, Uttanasana.

24. Inhale, sweep your arms up over head as you bend your knees into Utkatasana (Chair Pose). Bring your hands down to meet at heart center.

25. On your next exhale, take your right elbow to your left knee for Utkatasana Twist. Inhale.

26. Exhale, and step your right leg back into a High Lunge Twist. Then open up hands, right hand comes to the floor, left hand high.

27. Place right knee on the floor, bend your knee, right foot lifting towards the sky. Lean your weight into your right hand, as you come onto the pinkie toe edge of your left foot. Reach your left hand back for your right foot into a Twisted Lizard Pose and lift your heart towards the sky. Stay here for three breaths.

28. Come back to center, both hands on either side of the left foot. Inhale to rock your weight into your left foot as you lift your back leg off the floor and towards the sky into Standing Splits. Exhale. Inhale, lengthen the sides of your body and exhale and sink deeper. Stay here for three breaths.

29. On your next exhale, take the right foot behind the left foot for a Uttanasana Variation

30. Keeping the left knee hooked over the right as you begin to sit back into the heel of the right foot as you rise up with your upper body. Bring your arms out in front of you and wrap your right arm underneath your left for Eagle pose. Stay here for three breaths.

31. On the next exhale, Release eagle pose by bringing the hands to the ground, lifting the left leg up behind you back into Standing Split. Inhale.

32. Exhale, step left leg back to High Lunge.

33. Vinyasa, repeat on the other side.  

Cool Down

34. From Downward Dog, make your way to your belly. Root the tops of the feet to the ground as you draw your shoulders on your back and clasp your hands together. Root your tailbone towards your heels as you inhale and lift the chest + the feet off the ground for Salabhasana, Locust Pose.

35. Release down on your next exhale and then push back into Child’s Pose.

36. Make your way onto your back with your feet planted on the mat, knees towards the sky. Inhale and begin to lift your hips. Draw your shoulders on the back and interlace your hands underneath you for Bridge Pose. Root the head back into the mat, so that your chin remains lifted. You may also like to add a block between your thighs, squeezing into the block as your root your tailbone down towards your knees. Stay here for 3-5 breaths.

37. Exhale, release down. Bring your knees into your chest and rock them around a little bit.

38. Release arms and legs to the mat for Savasana Pose.

Everything you need is within you.

When life challenges you, tap into the core intelligence and allow yourself to be powered from that place.

How to attune to the powerful wisdom of your intuition

It’s easy to get lost when you’re not listening to your inner voice

You know that feeling when you have no idea where you are going and what you are doing? It feels a little panicky, like a sinking feeling in your tightening belly. You feel lost and unsure of how to move forward.

As 2016 came to a close, that is where I was at. I was looking back over my year and thinking about the year ahead, realizing that I had not accomplished any of the goals I’d put out there and it felt bad. Where had I gotten so off track? I had accomplished a few things, worked on some really interesting projects, and painted a bit, but I hadn’t even come close to starting in on some of my big dream goals (a writing project and painting large yoga art pieces to name a few), the exciting ones that keep me up at night.

Stop giving away your power

Instead, I’d spent a good deal of my year clinging to other people’s ideas and ways of doing things. I attempted to follow the paths of people who seemed to be getting it “right.” I signed up for classes I couldn’t really afford and scoured the internet to try and figure out how to get the ball rolling on my big goals. I looked everywhere, in an effort to find my way forward, everywhere but within. 

When you expend time and money to learn someone else’s secrets, you give away the power you have to unlock the secrets within your own soul.

With that, I discovered I was not pouring light into my own gifts. 

Tune into the wisdom within

After that realization, I spent the last few months, nose deep in my journal, trying to unearth the guidance that lives in my heart. What I discovered was that all my questions get answered the moment I start to listen for and believe in my own inner wisdom. Tune into the wisdom within, it’s all you’ll ever need.

So how do you identify this inner voice, this wisdom within?

Intuition comes in differently for everyone and you have to attune to the unique way your intuition speaks to you and through you.

1. Ask

To discover what your intuition might be trying telling you right now, ask. No for real, right now, just simply ask your intuition “what are you trying to tell me right now.”

2. Get Quiet

Getting rid of all the noise that blocks your deepest knowing from arising can be the trickiest part. Try utilizing this breathing exercise to drop into stillness:

Find someplace quiet and comfortable. Close your eyes and begin to bring your awareness to your breath. Inhale deeply through your nose to the count of 8. At the top of your breath, hold the inhalation for a count of 4. Exhale for the count of 8. At the bottom of your breath, hold out the exhalation for a count of 4. Continue this rhythm for 3-5 minutes. Then release it and sit in the stillness for a few moments. Keep your judging, analytical mind soft as you take note of everything that arises. The message from your intuition could arrive as an image, a sound, a voice or a memory or something else.

 3. Trust what arises

Trust whatever comes up, even if it doesn’t make any sense to you at all right in this moment. Write it down, file it away and as you move through your day, notice if you find the message repeating itself, perhaps in different ways. Or perhaps you will find references to it. Begin to become curious about anything and everything that catches your eye.

Recently, I received the message to keep moving inward, to really deeply and truly listen to the voice of my intuition. This message, appeared to me first in a Tarot card of the High Priestess, who is all about opening up and accessing your intuitive powers. The symbol on this card that stuck out to me was a nautilus, a spiral that continued to move in and in. I drew the nautilus on my whiteboard. I found one to put on my altar, I watched Tinkerbell with my daughter and noticed it in the design of the foliage in the movie, I saw it on a neon sign at a local store. I was seeing this nautilus shape everywhere. Thank you intuition for letting me know I need to listen to you, message received. 

Is it fear or intuition?

As I began to pay closer attention to these messages, I started to wonder how to tell if it was really my intuition speaking or if it was fear/worry/doubt creeping in. That is when I noticed something about my inner voice that was different from the everyday, familiar voice that makes up most of my thoughts.

Intuition isn’t driven by emotion

The inner voice drops in without emotions attached to it. I might have an emotional reaction to the intuitive thought, but the message itself is not driven by feelings. For example, when I'm painting, my intuition might tell me to use a blob of a particular color green over in the left corner. I might react with an emotion, like "ugh, but I hate green," (I actually really love green) but the thought itself appears without any emotion  attached to it. It drops in and is there for me to listen to or not to listen to.

5 poses to elevate your energy and creativity

I have so much that I want to do and accomplish. My to-do list is like a million miles long. How about yours?

There are quite a few days where I just want to run from my to do list (even though it’s mostly full of exciting projects that are of my own design). I don’t feel like painting or writing or answering my emails or really doing anything at all. All I want to do, really, is take a nap. Or curl up on the couch and watch the entire series of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Zone out. Numb out. Peace out.  

But if I gave into that feeling every time, then my projects, my goals, ideas and big dreams swirling around in my head never come into fruition. They would lie in fragmented pieces, collecting dust in the corners of my mind.  

Sometimes, I just need a little more energy to go after all of the ideas I’ve got ruminating in my brain.

I also believe that my lack of focus + motivation comes partly from a place of fear of what will happen if I actually accomplish some of the things that I’ve set out to do. Will I be too visible? Will I be rejected? Will I look like a fool? Will I have wasted my time?

And that fear is super duper draining. It drains out all of my energy + creativity. And the couch and Netflix and my cozy blanket begin to look all the more appealing.

But then, I snap out of it.

Because I want to create a life that is full and lovely. I want to challenge myself to reach my goals and set a good example for my daughter. I want to stop avoiding myself and the creativity that wants to come streaming out of me.

I want to create cool things.

So I get to work. But how do you maintain and even elevate the energy and creativity to help you get going?

I have started doing a couple of things that seem to really help pull me out of my unfocused, unmotivated funk:

Write down 10 ideas everyday.

I started a practice of writing down 10 ideas everyday. Not necessarily ideas I’m actually going to do anything with or ideas that are even all that great. 

I just get the jumble out of my head and onto the page. It also helps me bump up my creative thinking and remember that creativity is an endless source.

It’s a muscle that keeps on pumping the iron when you work at it.

Diffuse Essential Oil

I am obsessed with essential oils and so I naturally love diffusing them. Not only do they make my house smell good, but they make me feel good.

Right now, I’m diffusing orange + peppermint oils. This combination wakes up the senses, uplifts your energy and helps you to concentrate and focus.

A couple of other good combos that can help pump up the energy: Lemon + Peppermint or Lemon, Tangerine and Grapefruit.  

Drink More Water

One of the things that I ALWAYS forget to ask myself when I am feeling drained and unmotivated is, “Eliza, have you had enough water today?”

If I did remember to ask myself that, the answer would most likely be, “Um, no. Probably not.” If you are feeling dried up of all your energy and it feels like your creativity is just not flowing properly, then go refill your water bottle and start chugging.

This always makes me feel better when I remember to check in with my water intake.

Jump Around

Jump, jump! Get out ya seat ‘n jump around. Jump up, Jump up and get down.

Ok, I’m back and out of breath because I may or may not have just turned on that song and started bouncing around my studio like a crazy person.

But seriously, if you want to quickly amp up your energy, move ya booty. Put on a fast + happy song (it doesn’t have to be a throw back but it can be!) and dance and jump around.

If that doesn’t raise your vibration, I don’t know what will!

Breath of Fire

This is fun breathing exercise that gets the energy flowing through the whole body pretty quickly. Take a comfortable seat and begin a couple rounds of deep inhalations and exhalations.

Then take one big inhalation, and push the exhale through your nose with a bit of force as you pump the belly button towards your spine with in quick, forceful exhales. The inhale will happen automatically. Do 30 exhales.

Then take a deep inhalation and pause, holding the breath at the top of the exhalation for a few moments and then exhale, release the breath. Take a few normal breaths, noticing any effects from the first round of breath of fire. Then try another 2 rounds!


Of course it’s on the list! It’s my go to. Right now, I’m looking back and forth from my couch and my mat. Mat, couch, mat couch. If I needed to elevate my energy and get the creative juices flowing, the choice would be a no brainer.  

If you have a handstand practice, doing a handstand against the wall or in the middle of the room is a great way to get the blood flowing to your brain. It’s an instant pick-me-up.

If you don’t have a handstand practice (or even if you do, but want a few other yoga poses to try out) try out the following poses:

Here’s a couple of energizing hip openers. Opening the hips and the energy of pelvis energizes the whole self--and it is also grounding. So it’s good practice for creating a focused yet energized feeling.

(it’s always a good idea to warm up with a couple of cat/cows or sun salutations before trying sequence)

1. bound hands side angle pose (BADDHA HASTA PARSVAKONASANA)

Come into warrior II, with the right toes facing forward to the top of your mat and the left toes pointing toward the side of the mat. With the right knee bent and directly above the left ankle, align the right heel up with middle of the back left foot.

Keep your legs in this warrior II stance, as you clasp your hands behind your back. Inhale to lengthen up from your waistline to your armpits. Exhale and fold towards the side of your mat. Inhale, hug your legs towards one another, pulling the muscles up from the grounding of your feet into the core of your pelvis.

Keep that as you exhale and press your hips back and extend through the spine to the crown of the head. Draw the shoulders towards one another as you lift your clasped hands towards the sky. Breath for 5 breath cycles. Then exhale, root through your feet and inhale, to rise back up to warrior II.

Switch legs and do the other side.

2. Lunge pose (ANJANEYASANA) 

Start in downward dog, from down dog, inhale and bring your right foot forward between your hands. Exhale, take the left knee to the floor. Inhale, draw the right hip back to square the hips towards the front of your mat.

Activate the toes (by lifting and spreading them) of both feet to engage the muscles of your legs. Keep that as you inhale, bring your hands to your hips and lengthen up through the sides of your body to the crown of your head.

Exhale and allow gravity to pull your pelvis towards the floor as you lift the spine up towards the sky. Breath for 5 breath cycles.

Come back to downdog and then switch sides.

3. extended hand to big toe pose (UTTHITA HASTA PADANGUSTHASANA)

Standing in mountain pose, root down through your left foot. Lift and spread the toes of the left foot and then place them back down, but keep the activation of the leg muscles of the left leg. Maintain a steady connection to your breath as as you begin to lift the right foot off the floor and bring the knee to your chest.

It helps to lock your gaze on an unmoving point somewhere in the room. Take your right hand to your right knee and open it out to the right side OR grab onto the outside edge of your right foot and extend the right leg out to the right side.

Continue to root down through your left leg, draw the tailbone towards the floor as well and at the same time, extend from your pelvis out into your right leg, all the way to your toes.

Stay here for five breaths or as long as you can, then do the left side.    


From downward dog, inhale and raise your right leg to the sky. Exhale and bring the right leg forward, placing the right knee on the ground near your right hand and bring your right shin down to the ground as well, with your right heel pointing towards your left hip.

Take the left left back and place it on the ground. Draw your right hip back and your left hip forward. Energize both legs by engaging the toes, reaching the right pinkie toe towards the floor and pulling the legs into your pelvis, so much so that you can bring your hands off the floor and to your heart.

Keep that as you inhale and lengthen up through the sides of your body and exhale, extend from the pelvis down into the ground and out through your legs.

Breath for 5 breath cycles. Then come slowly back to downward dog and do the other side.

5. lateral seated angle pose (PARSVA UPAVISTHA KONASANA)

Sit on the floor with your legs out to either side of you. If you are really tight in your hips and low back, sit on the edge of a couple of folded blankets. Inhale and point your toes towards the sky and draw from your feet up into the core of your pelvis. Exhale and and extend back out, pressing the pelvis into the floor and out through the feet.

Then lengthen up through the spine and keep that length as you twist your upper body towards the right and begin to fold over the right leg. Exhale and move the breath down into the back of the leg as you stretch. Continue to keep the left leg involved by pulling it in towards your center.

Stay here for 5 breaths. Then when you are ready, exhale root down through the legs, inhale come back up to center and then move to the left side.