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Season 2 - Episode 2

Gentle Floor Practice

40 min - Practice
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Alana guides Elaine and Clella through a gentle floor practice that draws attention towards the breath to promote conscious relaxation. This practice results in greater ease, mobility, and strength in the hips, legs, and hamstrings.
What You'll Need: Square Bolster, Blanket, Strap, Block

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(waves lapping shore) So welcome. Thank you for joining us. Thank you Elaine and Klela for being with us today. So we'll begin with a floor practice over a bolster. So the bolster is to help create this quality of opening through the chest and will bring some awareness towards our breath.

Okay. So to begin, we'll start with a bolster, so if you have a bolster at home, a long pillow can work too. So I'll ask you Elaine to just scoot that way and I'll bring the bolster length-wise behind your spine. Yeah, and so you can just turn and face that way. And you'll want to bring the bolster all the way up against the sacrum.

And just hang for a moment, I'll grab a blanket. And then again a blanket or a pillow to support the head. So as you're ready, you can come on down. And then start with your feet on the floor, so the knees bent. Then Klela I'll do the same for you.

So you'll turn and face that direction. And you'll bring the bolster right up against your sacrum. And then again it's nice to have a folded blanket under the head for support or a second pillow. Good. And then bring the soles of the feet slightly wider than your hips.

And it might feel nice to let your knees rest together. Just offering some support on your lower back. And how does that feel under your head Elaine? Would you like it a little higher? Bring it...it's good?

That's fine. Okay. So the first step is to draw your shoulder blades down your back. So you're drawing your shoulder blades down away from your ears and see what it feels like to let the palms turn open. So often times, this helps to encourage this feeling of opening through the collarbones, the rib cage and then drawing the shoulders down the back.

Good. Nice. And then allow the weight of your head to release towards the support, so if you feel any tension in the neck or the shoulders just allowing the head to receive the support. And then notice where in the body you can relax any effort, any gripping through the eyes, the jaw. Maybe around the neck.

And inviting this awareness of relaxation to begin to wash down the spine. Right, so through the shoulder blades, the spine, the lower back, the hips. Nice. And then begin to bring some attention towards your breath. (waves gently crashing) And often times whatever we bring our attention to it begins to change in it's quality, so you might notice by just bringing some attention towards your breath, your breath will naturally begin to lengthen or deepen.

So this conscious a relationship with our breath. And we'll be here for a few minutes, so a softening through the rib cage. (waves gently crashing) And allowing the back of the eyes to soften. And so often times as the body becomes more relaxed and at ease the mind can fall asleep or kind of check out. So here the invitation is to stay aware and engaged as the body becomes more and more relaxed.

So one way to do that is to notice the breath and just bring some attention towards the quality of the inhale. Noticing the sensation of the breath in the body. So on the inhale there might be natural rise or expansion up around the chest, the rib cage, the abdomen, belly. And on the exhale you might notice a fall or a softening. Or maybe an empty quality.

(waves gently crashing) Nice. And with each breath, feeling the shoulder blades release towards the support and some softening around the lower back and the sacrum. Yeah. All right, so often times we find ourself in this kind of rounding shape where the shoulders are rounding forward, the heart might be kind of caving in, we're working on the computer, we're driving. So what I found is that the bolster helps to create this feeling, this memory of opening through the chest.

And it might perhaps allow the breath to move differently deepen, lengthen. Good. And just a few more moments here. Good. And then bringing your hands to your lower belly.

So you might bring the thumbs around the navel and the fingers pointing towards your knees and just letting your hands rest here. Now with your hands here invite your attention down into your lower belly, this lower abdomen. And with your awareness, your attention here, begin to invite your breath to deepen. So we're not forcing the breath. It's an invitation to deepen the breath or invite the breath into this region.

And you might find at home this feels quite natural to invite the breath into this area. For some of you it might be a bit counter-intuitive or, you know, a bit awkward at first. Just noticing what you find at home. And this is wonderful to do if you're having trouble falling asleep at night, to just bring some attention towards the breath and invite the breath to deepen. These last few moments again relaxing the jaw and the face.

(breathes deeply) Good. And then relaxing the effort of the breath, relaxing your attention. Good. And as you're ready, you'll roll to your side. So you'll transition off your bolster.

Take your time, roll to your side. Good and you'll push your bolster off to the side. You might have a friend there waiting to pull your bolster off to the side and then you'll roll on to your back. You might choose to have a blanket under your head for support. Good.

And then once you find your way on to your back just take a moment to scan the body and notice how you feel. You might have the knees bent or legs straight. Whatever feels supportive on your back. Again soften the gaze, soften the eyes. Good.

And then allow for a full breath in, so inhale. And then exhale at the breath release. So this clearing breath. And one more time breathing in and then exhale and release. Good.

And then moving into a gentle hip opener. So let your feet come on to the floor, knees bent. So your feet are about hip-distance apart and then bring your right ankle across your left thigh as if you were like sitting in a chair. Good. And then keep the left foot on the floor as you begin to bring your attention in to you right hip joint and we're gonna move from the hip joint.

So as you inhale, rotate the right knee in towards your heart. And then as you exhale, let the hip open and send the knee away. So this first initial movement, moving from the hip inhale draw the knee into the heart. Good. Exhale from the hip joint let it open.

And a few more times like this. So it's a relatively simple action, but to invite our attention into the hip is much more challenging. Yeah. Good, softening the jaw. And then the next time the hip moves away, let the hip open in that external rotation, that opening, and then from here let the hips begin to move from side to side.

So you're pivoting on to the edge of the bottom foot. And as your hips move side to side, allow the spine to move freely and your head might move with your knees or away from your knees. (waves crashing gently) Good, a few more moments here. Notice if you're holding your breath and just inviting this fluid movement into ahem, the posture. You might continue this movement at home.

You might choose to bring the right foot all the way towards the floor. And you might tuck a prop under there like a blanket or a pillow or a block. Good. With that right foot towards the floor, extend your right arm up at a diagonal, so it's lengthening over the top of the head. Good.

And then find that opening through the hips, so letting that right hip and knee move away and open. Good, allow for an inhale. (breathes in) And then exhale soften. Good. So both Klela and Elaine are offering two different variations they're demonstrating.

Now Klela's foot is on the floor. She's getting a nice opening through the side. And Elaine is continuing this action of moving side to side and the hip opening. Good. On your next inhale, let it come back up to center.

Good with the left foot on the floor extend your right leg up towards the sky. Good, bring your hands around the back of the thigh. Good and then point and flex the foot a few times. And you might find here you'll want more support under your head. Thank you.

Yeah, your welcome. Good and then a few circles with the ankle. So just inviting some movement into the ankle joint in both directions. Good and then as you're as ready let the right leg join the left leg. And then here just take a moment to notice how you feel.

Good, relaxing the physical effort and just bring your attention into the body and noticing any sensation. And allow for a clearing breath, so inhale and then exhale and release. Beautiful, good. And then second side, so bring the left ankle across the right thigh. Good and with right hip on the floor, the first step is to bring your attention into your left hip and the as you inhale, rotate the knee into the heart.

And as you exhale from the hip, let it open, send the knee away. And continue a few more times. Bringing your attention into your hip joint. Notice that the shoulders or the jaw are jumping in to help. Good.

And then as you're ready let the hip open, send the knee away so you're in that external rotation. And then with arms out to the side, begin to rock the shape from side to side. Exactly, so you're rolling on to the edge of that right foot, in or outer edge. And then inviting this movement to happen through the hips and the spine. And you might find your head is moving with your knees or away from your knees.

And for this I think I'll lower this blanket. Good. And then yeah you can let you head lay down. Thank you. Your welcome.

And just a few more moments. (breathing out) Breathing. And you might continue this movement side to side. You might bring it all the way over to the left, so that the left foot comes down to the floor. Again you might tuck a blanket there or a pillow.

And then it'll probably feel nice to stretch that left arm at a diagonal. Letting the hip open and then breathing in to the right side. (train passing over tracks) Yeah. You can let it go side to side or you might take it all the way over to one side. (breathing deeply) Good.

Nice. And then as your ready, you'll inhale, come all the way back up. Good and then extend your left leg up towards the sky and bring your hands around the back of the thigh for support. Again having an extra blanket. Or a friend come by to put a blanket under your head, can be quite nice.

And now as you extend your left leg up, let it point and flex. Just stretching through the top of the foot and as you flex drawing the toes towards the face and reaching through the heel. And then a few circles with the ankle in both directions. Beautiful and then let the left leg come down. Relaxing the physical effort and just simply notice and observe any sensation, movement in the body.

(breathing in and out) And allow for an inhale, clearing breath and then exhale and release. Good. And the Klela and Elaine just take a few moments to rest here and I'll demonstrate to our friends at home what we'll do next. So, we'll come on to our backs with the soles of the feet on the floor, in line with the hips. And here we're gonna do some Pelvic Tilts.

So bringing my awareness down into the pelvis and the tailbone I'll inhale and as I exhale I'm gonna curl the tailbone under. So I'm curling the tailbone under towards my knees and I'm drawing the navel in towards the spine and the belly is, the back is pressing towards the floor. And then as I inhale I'm rolling my pelvis forward. I'm arching my back off the floor and I'm lengthening up through the throat and the head might tilt back. And so exhale I'm curling the tailbone under, pressing the back into the floor and it's scooping the belly and then inhale rolling the pelvis forward arching and lengthening.

So I'm initiating the movement from the pelvis from the tailbone and feeling that movement through pelvis and the spine. Okay. Good. And then I'll draw my knees into my chest. Okay.

So I'll guide us through the practice. So Elaine and Klela, as you're ready, feet on the floor please bend your knees. And you can't see your feet, but they're you can feel them. (chuckles) So feet about hip-distance spreading the toes. Bring your attention down into your tailbone, so the very tip of the spine.

And leaving the hips on the floor. The hips might want to come up. Leaving the hips on the floor, you'll feel an inhale and as you exhale curl the tailbone under. So you're drawing your navel, yes, towards the spine. You're scooping the belly.

And the back might be pressing down a bit into the floor, low back. And as you inhale, you're doing the opposite so you're rolling your pelvis forward. Your arching your low back off the floor and your lengthening it perhaps through the heart and the throat region. And then continue exhale curling the tailbone under, pressing the back towards the floor, scooping the belly and then inhale rolling the pelvis forward arching the back and then lengthening. And continue this at home.

These Pelvic Tilts so you're getting a sense of the movement from the tailbone up through the spine. And then finding that ease up through the base of the skull. So you might find the head gently moving here forward and back. A few more times. Notice if you can soften a bit more through the face and the jaw.

Beautiful. And this takes quite a bit of work. (chuckles) Can you both feel that? Just the effort involved? Good.

And then complete the one your on and then just simply (breathes out) relax the effort and allow for a full breath. And then exhale, relax the hips, relax the pelvis, soften the jaw. Good, it might feel nice to draw your knees into your chest. Good. Nice.

And then let the feet come down to the floor. We're gonna set up in preparation for a Bridge Pose with a block between the thighs. Okay, so I'll come around and bring a block between the inner thighs. Good. And so a foam block works well for this.

And the block helps bring some attention towards the legs the inner thighs down through the feet. So you want to bring your heels in line with your sit bone, so bring your heels in towards your hips a bit. Your feet are about hip=distance apart and you might find at home you might change the position of the block. So the block might be in between the thighs at this setting. You might find a wider setting depending on how you're built.

Okay. Now leaving your hips on the floor, just bring your attention back down into your tailbone. Good, leaving your hips on the floor draw your inner thighs into the block. And so I find this helps to stabilize the hips, as well as strengthen the legs. Good, spread the toes.

Good. Feet on the floor. With the inner thighs drawing into the block, begin to find that action of drawing the tailbone under. So you're scooping the belly. Yes! Pressing the back towards the floor, scooping the belly, drawing the inner thighs into the block and then as you're ready, press down through the feet enough to begin to lift your hips up off the floor.

Good. And then slowly release. So that just gives you a taste. And often times, if you have a stack of blankets under your head for Bridge Pose it's nice to remove the blankets fully. Okay, so Elaine you might choose to have just a single blanket under the head rather than a stack. Yes.

And she's confirming this feels best for her. So you can release your head. Good and let's set up again. So drawing the shoulder blades down the back. Good arms along your side.

Good bring your awareness down into your tailbone. Drawing the inner thighs into the block. Inhale and as you exhale begin to find that action of curling the tailbone under. Scooping the belly. Yes! And then pressing down through the feet let the hips rise, let the hips lift.

Good. Keep drawing the inner thighs into the block. Notice if you can relax any effort through the shoulders. So you're really feeling the work through the legs here. Really feeling the work through the legs and your thigh bones are lengthening towards the knees.

Yes, hands might reach towards your ankles, so the shoulder blades drawing down the back. Good as you're ready, slowly release down. The upper back, yes, navel drawing towards the spine and the hips. And this is quite a bit of work. Can you both feel that?

Okay, we'll do that one more time together as you're ready. Inhale, exhale, curl the tailbone under. Yes, draw the inner thighs into the block, press down through the feet, lift the hips and then lengthening through the thighs. Yes. Pressing down through the hips.

You might lift the hips a little. Pressing down through the feet, you might lift the hips a little bit higher. So middle back, upper back lifting, inner thighs rotating towards each other. Face soft, breathing. Good and then slowly releasing down.

Good and just take a moment here to relax the effort. I'm gonna take your block. So you might find that one or two times is enough. You can do this several times at home. Good, now we're gonna take one more round without the block.

And the idea here is to remember the feeling of a block that support between the thighs. Okay. So as you're ready, awareness down towards the tailbone. Inhale and then exhale. Begin to curl the tailbone under, pressing down through the feet, lifting the hips.

Good. Letting the back lift, the upper body lengthened. And can you remember the feeling of a block between the inner thighs? That support, strong legs, strong down through the feet. Good, breathing.

Beautiful. And then slowly releasing down. Again using the belly, that navel towards the spine action to release. Good. Relaxing the effort.

And you might find it feels good to draw your knees into your chest. Good, let your feet come down and then extend your legs and then flex your feet. So you're working a bit active here. So as you flex your feet, draw your toes toward your face as if you were in Tadasana Mountain Pose and lengthen through the heels. Good, letting the back of the body lengthen.

The arms are gonna stay along your side. And then drawing the tailbone towards the heels. Yeah, navel towards the spine a bit. Good. Nice.

And then let your knees bend, so feet on the floor. Good and then drive your right knee into your chest. And here we're gonna find we're gonna bring a strap around the bottom of your foot. And if you have a friend nearby, it's nice. Or a cat at home.

(laughs) so draw your knee into your chest. Good and then bring the strap around the bottom of your right foot. Good and as you extend your right leg up, let it bend and straighten a few times. So just nice and easy. And again, you might have a blanket under your head for support.

Or you might just simply have your head on the floor. Do you have a preference? Let's try the blanket. Okay, let's try a blanket she says. And I think for you, Elaine I'll fold it again.

Good and then come on down. Thank you. Good. Keeping your left foot on the floor helps to generally support the lower back, so we'll keep that left foot on the floor. Good and then extending your right leg up towards the sky.

So now we're beginning to say hello to our hamstrings. And then flex the foot, so draw the toes towards your face and lengthen through the heel. Beautiful, spreading your toes. And then notice where in the face you can relax. In the jaw, in the eyes, in the shoulders.

Good release the strap enough to let the shoulders come down to the floor. Good. And take one more full breath here. And you might imagine with your mind's eye that connection from the navel up into the bottom of the foot. And the bottom of the foot stretching up into the strap.

So we're getting a nice stretch and opening through the hamstrings. Good and then just gently begin to let your leg float from side to side. And again you're moving from the hip joint and then allowing the foot to follow. So that action is happening from here. Good, breathing.

(breathing) (waves gently crashing) And you might continue this action side to side. You might take it out over to the right. The strap in the right hand for a few breaths. Really letting that left hip stay heavy. So sometimes bringing your hand on the hip can help remind the hip to ground a bit towards the floor.

Good, breathing. And on your inhale, let your leg come back up to center. Good, just take a few more moments here with that right leg extended. Good and then as you're ready, remove the strap and let the right leg join the left leg. Yeah.

And then extend the legs towards straight. And just take a few moments to, again, relax the effort, pour your attention through the body and notice how you feel. Notice any sensation, any movement. Sometimes one leg might feel a bit longer than the other, the leg you just stretched. Good and then allow for an inhale and then exhale release the breath.

One more time breathing in and then exhale and release. Good and then the other side, bending the knees. Good and then drawing your left knee into your chest. Good and then bring the strap around the bottom of your left foot. Good and then extend the left leg up and just allow it to bend and straighten gently a few times being attentive with the knee joint.

(waves gently crashing) Good. And then as you're ready, extending the left leg up, flexing the foot 'cause you're drawing the toes towards the face lengthening through the heel. Softening the grip in the hands and letting the shoulders release down to the floor. Nice. Take a breath in.

Good exhale release. And then as you're ready, let the leg begin to float a bit from side to side. Again, so you're moving from that left hip joint and just letting it float from side to side. Again a strap works well here, at home can also use a tie or a belt or a piece of rope. Maybe even a dog leash.

(chuckles) Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. (laughing) Good. And the props are really designed to hold and support the body, so you don't need a strap at home to do this. You can improvise with what you have. Good and you might continue this action side to side.

You might choose to take it out to the left with the strap in the left hand that right hip will naturally want to come off the floor, right? So, yes, some effort towards grounding down through that right hip and then find your breath here. Beautiful. Most likely you'll feel a strong stretch through the hip, the inner groin, the thigh. And then whenever you're ready on the inhale let your leg come back up to center.

Good and then remove the strap and let the left foot join the right. You can bring your strap off to the side. Good and then extending the legs towards straight. And then again pouring your attention down the body and notice how you feel. Just notice.

(breathing in) And the results of your practice. Good allow for an inhale (breathing in) and then exhale release the breath. Good and then bend the knees and bring the soles of your feet together. Let your knees go wide in a Baddha Konasana. Good, so the soles of the feet are touching, the knees are wide and you're feeling a nice stretch and opening through the hips.

Good, now here the hands might rest on the lower abdomen, lower belly. So that's one option here. Good. You might rest here. You might bring the hands on the forehead, letting the hands rest so you're getting an opening through the sides.

And I think for you Elaine this is quite nice, so you're getting a nice stretch. You're lengthening through the elbows. As Klela's demonstrating, the hands are around the elbows here and she's lengthening. Good. Back of the neck lengthening.

And you might imagine with the mind's eye, lengthening from the tailbone up through the spine and right up through the base of the skull. Now do you remember that feeling of the breath in the lower belly, the lower abdomen. And for a few more moments can you invite the breath to begin to lengthen in this region? Again, softening the jaw. And you might find that action of drawing the tailbone under a bit.

So if you feel some arching and compression in the low back, that action of drawing the navel towards the spine, this, you know the action of scooping the belly. Beautiful. Do you feel that action? Yeah. Good and then as you're ready, you'll release the arms gently out to the side.

You can use the hands to guide the knees back up and then draw the knees into the chest again. Beautiful. Nice and then let the feet come down to the floor. We're gonna close our practice with a Shavasana, final relaxation. And I'll demonstrate, so I'll bring a bolster under the legs.

And if you have a buddy at home this is quite nice to have this full service here. Thank you. You're welcome. I don't think my cat can manage that. She doesn't think her cat can manage that at home.

(laughs) You never know. Good, so we'll rest here for a few minutes. And here in Shavasana, really relaxing any effort in the mind, the breath, the muscles, the bones. And allowing your attention, your awareness to gently expand. So this softening of the focus and the attention.

(breathing deeply) Yeah. You'll notice the hands may be resting on the belly or out to the side. Having support under the knees can feel nice on the lower back. And just allowing yourself to rest here. Feeling the weight of the head release.

And a softening between the eyes and the base of the skull. Good. (waves gently crashing) And you might rest here for a few minutes at home or up to an entire day, no. (chuckles) Five, 10 minutes. Whatever feels correct for you.

(waves gently crashing) Good. Yeah and feeling the back of the body you release. (breathing) (waves crashing) Good. And then eventually bringing your attention back towards your breath. And then slowly as you're ready, inviting some movement back into your body.

Eventually it might feel nice to draw your knees into your chest. Really taking your time after Shavasana to linger. Good and then rolling to your side. And taking your time to press yourself up towards a seat. And we'll just take a few moments to close our practice together.

Yeah. You might sit up on some support and cross your legs and just taking a deep breath in. (breathing deeply) And exhale release. And then bringing your hands together at the heart. And Namaste.

(waves gently crashing) Thank you for your practice. Thank you for being here. Thank you. Thank you.

Comments

Today was the perfect day for granny yoga! I love Alana's clarity of instruction.
Hi Robbie! So nice to hear from you. I am delighted to know that we are practicing together. Please keep me posted. xo
Very nice and sweet senior practice. Thanks Alana
Hi Ana! I'm so delighted that you enjoyed the practice. Wishing you a wonderful day. ~ Alana
1 person likes this.
GREAT RELAXATION TECHNIQUE
Hi Elle, So glad you are here and are finding these techniques of use. Please keep me posted! Warm wishes, A
1 person likes this.
Thank you from another Granny! 
Ruth! Thank you so much for joining me! So delighted to be practicing Yoga together. Warmly, Alana 

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