Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Live Be Yoga Archive

The Complete Yoga Practice for Total Balance

Find harmony in your body, mind, and soul with this integrative sequence from Alive and Shine Center founders, Aadil Palkhivala and Savitri.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Cobra Pose
Brandon Spratt

Live Be Yoga ambassadors Lauren Cohen and Brandon Spratt are on a road trip across the country to sit down with master teachers, host free local classes, and so much more—all to illuminate the conversations pulsing through the yoga community today. 

Seattle was nothing shy of beautiful. As most people know, Seattle has a reputation for being overcast, cloudy, and rainy. Luckily for us, we arrived to bright, sunny days with hardly a cloud in the sky. While out and about, we even got a little sunburned! After a beautiful day of exploring Seattle, we headed to Bellevue, WA, where we uncovered more light, meeting Aadil Palkhivala and his wife Savitri. They met as teenagers in a yoga class in Bombay. That class was being taught by Aadil’s mother who, today, at 90, is Iyengar’s oldest living teacher!

Originally from India, they founded Alive and Shine Center, which has been serving its community for over 27 years and their stories are fascinating. When he was only seven years old, Aadil started studying asana with B.K.S. Iyengar and was the youngest person to be awarded the Advanced Yoga Teacher’s Certificate from Iyengar at the age of 22. He also went on to get degrees in law, physics, and mathematics. 

When Savitri was 11 she had a serious head injury, as a teenager she was orphaned with the sudden death of both her parents in a plane crash and a few years later she experienced the murder of her sister. These shocking circumstances led to life-threatening illnesses and many near-death experiences. Her sincere desire for truth inspired her to create heart chakra-focused active meditations which she calls Heartfull® Meditation. She firmly believes that the aim of yoga is connection with the soul and the soul is the true healer of all pain.

We were fortunate to experience their unique styles of practice in a special community workshop. Aadil taught Purna Yoga®, with classic Iyengar-style asana while Savitri shared a profound pratyahara technique from her Heartfull® Meditation; Savitri focused on simple, unique pratyahara techniques to help connect the mind with eternal love within. Together, they were a complete practice that integrated the body, mind, and soul.

The Complete Yoga Sequence for Mind-Body Balance

Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

Triangle Pose
Brandon Spratt

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the legs, knees, and ankles

How to get into the pose:

  1. Jump your feet 3½ to 4 feet apart.
  2. Turn your right foot in 15 degrees and left leg out 90 degrees.
  3. Exhaling, tilt your pelvis to the left and place your left hand on the floor or a brick.

Alignment:

  • Place your feet so that your second toe mound and the center of your heel of your left foot form a line which bisects your right arch.

Actions:

  • Press the four corners of your feet down, lift your arches and contract your quadriceps.
  • Rotate your front thigh externally until your knee points over your second toe mound.
  • Tuck your front sitting bone under your body and stretch the arms apart.

Contraindications:

  • Hamstring injuries

Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana
Brandon Spratt

Benefits

  • Strengthens the legs, knees, and ankles
  • Develops the connections between the hemispheres of the brain

How to get into the pose:

  1. Jump your feet 4½ to 5 feet apart.
  2. Turn your right foot in 15 degrees and left leg out 90 degrees.
  3. Exhaling, keep your left kneecap aligned with your second toe as you bend your left knee to 90 degrees.
  4. Tilt your pelvis to the left and place your left hand on the floor or a brick outside your left ankle.
  5. Stretch your right arm overhead, palm facing the floor.

Alignment:

  • Bent knee not moving past the ankle or can damage the patellar tendon.

Actions:

  • Press your left hip forward and your left knee back until your thighbone is parallel with the front of the room.
  • Tuck your left sitting bone under your body stretching your right hand away from your waist.
  • Root the outer edge of your right foot and lift the pit of your abdomen.

Contraindications:

  • Knee injuries

Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose)

Warrior II Pose
Brandon Spratt

Benefits

  • Strengthens the legs, knees, and ankles
  • Develops connection between the brain and mind

How to get into the pose:

  1. Jump your feet 4½ to 5 feet apart.
  2. Turn your right foot in 15 degrees and left leg out 90 degrees.
  3. Exhaling, keep your left kneecap aligned with your second toe as you bend your left knee to 90 degrees.
  4. Center your torso over the pelvis and spread your arms at shoulder height, parallel with the front of the room.

Alignment:

  • Bent knee not moving past the ankle or can damage patellar tendon

Actions:

  • Press your right hip forward and your right knee back until your thighbone is parallel with the front of the room.
  • Lift the pit of your abdomen and engage the kidney loop.
  • Stretch into your back hand to center your torso over your pelvis.

Contraindications:

  • Knee injuries

Matsyangasana III

Matsyangasana
Brandon Spratt

Benefit:

Releases intervertebral muscles (these are some of the strongest and tightest muscles in the human body).

How to get into the pose:

  1. Sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose). Take your legs into a loose Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose).
  2. Take your right leg to Virasana (Hero Pose).
  3. Twist to the left walking your hands behind you.

Alignment: 

  • Place the toes of the Baddha Konasana foot in line with the Virasana knee.

Action:

  • Lift your pelvis off the floor and tuck your left hip under your body, without moving it toward your right foot.
  • Walk your hands to the left until your right eye is in line with your right big toe!
  • Lift your left shoulder up and drop your right shoulder down.
  • Move your right ear to the floor in line with your right big toe.
  • Inhale to lengthen your spine. Exhale to twist.

Contraindications:

  • Unstable SI joint: In this case, make sure that the student does not twist to his maximum. While doing the pose, ask the student to pull the bottom of the belly toward the sacrum. This stabilizes the SI joint.
  • Pregnancy: Do very gently, especially in the third trimester, because the SI joint is very loose and the student should not pull the belly back to stabilize it.
  • Shoulder injury: Place hands under the shoulders.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Cobra Pose
Brandon Spratt

Benefits:

  • Removes upper back kyphosis
  • Rejuvenates and tones the spine, keeping the spine young

How to get into the pose:

  1. Lie face down on the floor on a sticky mat and take your legs hip-width apart (this helps release your lower back) and point your toes back.
  2. Bend your elbows and place your hands on the floor under your shoulders with your fingers facing forward.
  3. Contract your quadriceps. Press your legs into the floor. Press the little toe side of your foot down and contract your buttocks to move your sacrum into your body and away from your head.
  4. Lift the pit of your abdomen. Inhaling, moving your pubic bone towards the floor, press your hands into the floor and lift your torso, opening your chest. Extend the lift of your front body to lift your chin. Drop your head back without crunching your neck by lifting your chin toward the ceiling.

Alignment:

  • Feet hip-distance apart with the toes pointing straight back

Actions:

  • Press your little toes into the floor strongly (internal rotation) and contract your buttocks, keeping your kneecaps facing the floor.
  • Lift the pit of your abdomen.
  • Move your shoulder blades down toward your kidneys and engage the kidney loop.

Contraindications:

  • Pregnancy (because of the pressure on the belly)
  • Neck injury or pain: Keep the head upright
  • If the low back hurts, tighten the buttocks more, take the legs wider, or do Urdhva Mukha Savasana instead.

Bhujangasana I (Cobra Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Brandon Spratt

Benefits:

  • Removes upper back kyphosis
  • Rejuvenates and tones the spine, keeping the spine young

How to get into the pose:

  1. Lie face down on the floor on a sticky mat and take your legs hip-width apart (this helps release your lower back) and point your toes back.
  2. Bend your elbows and place your hands on the floor under your shoulders with your fingers facing forward.
  3. Contract your quadriceps. Press your legs into the floor. Press the little toe side of your foot down and contract your buttocks to move your sacrum into your body and away from your head.
  4. Lift the pit of your abdomen. Inhaling, moving your pubic bone towards the floor, press your hands into the floor and lift your torso, opening your chest. Extend the lift of your front body to lift your chin. Drop your head back without crunching your neck by lifting your chin toward the ceiling.

Alignment:

  • Feet hip-distance apart with the toes pointing straight back

Actions:

  • Press your little toes into the floor strongly (internal rotation) and contract your buttocks, keeping your kneecaps facing the floor.
  • Lift the pit of your abdomen.
  • Move your shoulder blades down toward your kidneys and engage the kidney loop.

Contraindications:

  • Pregnancy (because of the pressure on the belly)
  • Neck injury or pain: Keep the head upright

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose)
Brandon Spratt

Benefits:

  • Opens the abdomen, pelvis and throat
  • Allows you to express yourself more effortlessly

How to get into the pose:

  1. Lie on your back on the floor on a sticky mat and bend your knees placing your legs hip-width apart.
  2. Bend your elbows and place your hands on the floor under your shoulders with your fingers pointing towards your feet.
  3. Press your feet and hands into the floor and lift your sacrum, and then the spine off the floor by straightening your arms.

Alignment: 

  • Elbows must remain shoulder width apart when you come into the pose

Actions:

  • Lift the sacrum while moving it away from your lumbar spine.
  • Keep your knees bent.
  • Press your hands and feet into the floor to lift further.

Contraindications:

  • Shoulder injury
  • Pregnancy, avoid during the 2 and 3 trimester

Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose)

Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Brandon Spratt

Benefits:

  • Opens the hamstrings

How to get into the pose:

  1. Lie on your back on the floor on a sticky mat and bend your knees placing your legs hip-width apart.

  2. Bend your elbows and place your hands on the floor under your shoulders with your fingers pointing towards your feet.

  3. Press your feet and hands into the floor and lift your sacrum, and then the spine off the floor by straightening your arms.

Alignment:

  • Both knees and both elbows must be straight.

Actions:

  • Contract your quadriceps, straighten your legs, and press out into your heels.
  • Move your right hip and ilium towards the floor.
  • Press your right outer hip away from your head.
  • Roll your left inner thigh toward the floor (internal rotation).

Contraindications:

  • Hamstring injury
  • Pregnancy, avoid during 3 trimester

Full Body Stretch

Full Body Stretch
Brandon Spratt

Actions:

  1. Stretch the belly towards the palms and the buttocks towards the heels.
  2. Stretch on the exhalation, release on the inhalations.
  3. Squeeze both legs together.

Heartfull® Mental Centering

Heartfull® Mental Centering
Brandon Spratt

Benefit

  • Use this technique when you have too many thoughts, are mentally fatigued, feel unfocused, overwhelmed, confused or scattered.

How to:

1. Place your hands with the sides of your fingers together, slightly cupped, on the right and left sides of your head, facing your ears. Your hands should be two to three inches away from your head. (They must not touch your head.)

2. Exhaling, move your hands forward and together in Namaste, not more than one inch away from your face, with the tips of your thumbs at the same level as your eyebrows.

3. Inhale. On the next exhalation, move your hands down slowly to your Heart Chakra (which lies in the center of your body at the level of your armpits, behind the sternum). As you do this, imagine your mind following a luminous straight line in the center of your body, and humbly offer your mind to your heart.

4. Say inwardly, “I humbly offer my mind and senses, to my loving Soul within.”

5. Do this technique a total of 3 times.

Heartfull® Expanding Namaste

Heartfull® Expanding Namaste
Brandon Spratt

Benefit:

  • This technique opens your Heart Chakra and lungs. It also energizes the physical heart and expands your Soul’s Light in your body.

How to:

1. Place your hands in Namaste/Prayer at your Heart Chakra. Feel a beautiful feeling and imagine a ball of clear white Light glowing in your Heart Chakra.

2. Inhaling move your hands apart at the level of the chest to the width of your body. Imagine the ball of clear white Light and the beautiful feeling expanding throughout your body as you do this.

3. Inwardly say, “May my soul shine lovingly through my breath and body.”

4. Exhaling, move your hands away from your body a few inches so you don’t close the energy you expanded, and then bring your hands back together in Namaste at your Heart Chakra. Do this technique a total of 3 times.

Suggestions:

  • Do 3 or more Mental Centerings, then 3 or more Expanding Namaste.
  • Or, do one Mental Centering and 1 Expanding Namaste. Repeat 2 or more times.
  • While doing these techniques it is very important to feel a beautiful feeling (love, gratitude, peace, delight) since this begins the connection with your soul.

Ujjayi Pranayama (Conquerer Breath)

Aadil Palkhivala
Alive and Shine Center

Benefits:

The precision of Pranayama teaches our breath to bring the gift of life into the body so we can feel more alive and at home. The precision of Pranayama also serves as a tool to refine our awareness, sensitivity and facilitate union between the spiritual and material parts of our being.

How to do it:

  1. Sit up erect and release your head forward with your shoulder blades moving down your back.
  2. On the inhalation make an “s” sound and on the exhalation “h” sound.
  3. Keep the breath flow in the lungs not the belly and expand your ribcage on the inhalations while releasing it on the exhalations.
  4. Do not do any mudras as you do Ujjayi Pranayama.

Importance of Savasana (Corpse Pose)

  • Helps to integrate all the actions into the body
  • Quiets the nerves and promotes relaxation
  • Relieves tension

To learn more about Aadil and Savitri and their teachings, please visit AliveandShineCenter.com.

Follow the Live Be Yoga tour and get the latest stories @livebeyoga on Instagram and Facebook.