Relaxation Takes Practice Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 5

Drop In, Breathe, and Listen

30 min - Practice
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Description

Leeann offers an accessible and relaxing restorative sequence, starting with a yummy Savasana (Corpse Pose) to establish a deep, relaxed breath. With the encouragement to listen inward, we move through Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), Sukhasana (Easy Pose), and Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend). You will feel a sweet sense of peace.
What You'll Need: Mat, Chair, Square Bolster, Blanket

Transcript

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Hi everyone, welcome to Yoga Anytime. This is Restorative Series, called the Feeling and Breathing Series. This particular practice is very easy, everybody can do it. The props that you'll need are, a bolster, a blanket, and a chair. That's pretty simple, right?

We're gonna get started. I just wanna invite you to really drop into the feeling sensations that come. And we're going to do this with a particular breath, we're actually going to start off in Savasana, oh that's so great, we're gonna start off in Savasana and set it up in such a way that's very simple. Of course you can modify the props however you need to. The breathing that we're going to be doing is a slow, deep inhale, followed by a slow, deep exhale, and then two to three normal pace breaths.

Let's get started. I'm gonna grab my blanket, and I'm going to use this underneath my head. You have the option to unfold it a little bit more, or double it, whatever seems to make sense for you. That's going to go at the top of my mat. Now I'm going to grab my bolster, and bring this toward the end of my mat, this is for my knees and thighs.

So when you're ready, set yourself up, making sure that your heel bones are down on top of the mat, your legs are stretched out well, and I'm going to slide this back just a little bit. Modify the blanket so that it's either underneath your neck, or your neck and head, whichever you prefer. Wiggle around just a little bit until you get it just right, and then let the arms come out away from the hips, make sure that the shoulders are hitting the floor. And see if you can balance the weight of your skull right in the center. We all tend to sort of lean to one side or the other.

But see if you can get it right in the middle. Take one full inhale and exhale, and let the events of the day go. Set everything aside, you can attend to it later. And then begin to tune in. Just to the resting here on the back, and the props underneath you.

And then begin to invite you inhalation at the belly, to grow and be a little thinner, a little longer that normal. And your exhalation to initiate the belly. And be a little deeper, a little fuller. And then follow it with two or three normal pace breaths. And then just start it again.

A slow inhale. A slow, deeper, exhale. Followed by two or three normal pace breaths. I'm going to be quiet for the next minute. And you can just start this and continue until you hear the instruction, to return to normal pace breaths.

Notice the set that you're on right now. And do one more. And then let your breath just fade out into natural pace breathing. So every now and then, as we continue through the rest of the poses, I will invite you to take this kind of a breath again. We're going to go into Supine Bound Angle pose from here.

If you wanna gently open your eyes, you can, otherwise just keep your eyes closed. Move really slowly. You're going to bend the left leg, and set that foot flat on the bolster. Just pause when you get there. And then bend the right leg, set that foot flat on the bolster, and pause.

And walk your feet together, so that you feel the inner feet touching. And then on an exhale, open the legs so you feel the back thighs and the lower legs hit the bolster. If you feel as though there's some distance between the edge of the bolster and your upper legs, scooch yourself a little closer until that space is filled. If your feet end up falling off the front of the bolster, don't worry, it's okay, you can either put something there, or you can just let 'em drop. It's alright.

We're gonna be here for a minute and a half. Close your eyes if they're open. Feel the new shape that you're in. The opening of the belly, the lengthening of the ribs, the broadening of the chest. Let your breath just be relaxed and simple.

Notice any level of sensation you have. Bring your interest to it. And take that slow deep inhale, and that slow deep exhale. Deliberately relax through the feeling sensation on the exhale. And then let your breath return to normal pace breaths.

And one more time, notice the level of sensation you have. Bring your interest to it. And then take a slow inhale, and slow, deep exhale. Return to normal pace breaths. And then nice and easy, you're gonna slide the right leg forward like when you were in the first position, slide your left leg towards your torso until your left foot hits the bolster, and your knee points to the ceiling.

Bend your left elbow, bring it in towards your chest. Push off your left foot, roll yourself all the way to the right, draw your knees toward your chest let your head rest on the bottom arm, and totally relax. Nothing to do. Just pause. You'll notice that as we move along with the next few poses that all of them primarily focus on the lower body: the hips, the pelvis.

Notice where your interest is, bring it to the breath. Take a slow, deep inhale, a slow, deep exhale, and let it be followed by natural pace breaths. And gently open your eyes. Slide your left palm flat to the floor, lean your chest into the floor as you push your left palm and come all the way up. When you come up to the seated position, just come into any comfortable position, so that your spine is upright.

Hands anywhere on your leg, close your eyes, and just pause. And then gently open your eyes. So we're gonna move to Sukhasana, and the setup is a little different. We're gonna remove the bolster, keep the blanket, but we're gonna bring a chair over. So let's setup for that now.

Okay, so we brought the yoga chair over to the mat, don't worry if it's not a yoga chair, you can use any kind of chair that you feel comfortable using. You just wanna have it so that the seat of the chair is facing you. I'm going to put this blanket on top of the chair, just to cover it, make it a little bit more cushy. But you can also sit on this blanket if you need a little bit more lift in your lower back. So you can choose which one you prefer.

Sukhasana is simple or easy pose, and it's just criss-crossing the legs. I'm gonna start with my right heel bone in toward my pelvis, and then my left foot in front. I'm going to move the flesh of my buttocks back just so I can get right on the buttock bones. Place the hands on the seat of the chair, get a little bit of length, but don't... When you're going for length, it's just soft length, it's not like you're trying to be as stiff and tall as you can.

This is very soft and quiet. Just be who you are, that'll probably be enough. So we'll take an inhale, get some length, and then as you exhale, hinge to come forward, let your elbows rest on the seat of the chair, and let your forehead come down. If you find that it's still maybe not as high as you want, then you can bring your elbows in a stack position. If it feels like "oh I could go a little bit deeper," you can just slide that chair forward a little bit, and come down.

Okay so, one full minute, and then we'll switch the position of the legs. Shoulders are soft. With the left leg in front you may, perhaps, feel more sensation on the left side. This is the leg that's getting a little bit more of a stretch. And now that you've settled into it, notice where your greatest sensation is, take a slow, easy inhale, and then a deep exhale, and then return to normal pace breaths.

Take one more breath just like that. Attention on any sensation you have. Slow inhale, a deep, long exhale, and then just let your breaths drop out to normal pace breaths. When you finish that, bring your hands to the seat of the chair, push down, use that as leverage to sit upright, pause for just a moment, and then we'll simply stretch the legs to the opposite side. But to do that we're going to stretch the legs straight out first, just to get them out of the bent position.

Now just straighten them as best as you can. Bring a little firmness to the legs. And now we're gonna bend the left leg, bring that heel bone toward the pelvis, and then follow with the right. Hands on top of the chair, get a little bit of length, nice and easy, exhale, hinge forward, bring the arms forward, once you start to come forward you'll be able to determine pretty quickly if you need to be a little further away from the chair, or you need a little bit more height. You can always just take this blanket and double it, so you have more height.

You can also fold your arms differently, you can hang onto the front legs of the chair, whatever feels good. Now here's the minute. Please take that slow inhale and that deep long exhale, and follow it with just normal pace breaths. And then one more time. Notice where your greatest sensation is, bring your interest to it, take a slow inhale, that long, deep exhale, and let your breath drop out naturally.

And then bring your hands to the seat of the chair, use it as leverage to push down to bring yourself upright again, and release your hands away from the seat of the chair. Just close the eyes, stay present. Notice what's happening. So we're going into Upavistha Konasana, which is seated, wide legged pose. And you can either, once again, keep the blanket here, or you can put it underneath your pelvis if you feel as though you'll need more height.

But we'll start just by leaning back a little bit, and unwinding the legs so that they come out anywhere from a 90 to 120 degree position. And here we're gonna firm the legs just a little bit so that they're not loose and limp, so that we have some kind of foundation that helps us to come forward with ease. That doesn't mean that it will necessarily not have any sensation, but we're just looking for a minimal amount of sensation. Take an inhale like you did before, firming the legs, lifting the spine, and exhale, hinging forward to bring your elbows while making fists, or folding your blanket a little bit more, whatever you think makes sense. Relax the shoulders.

You may start to feel more sensation in the inner thighs now. You may have some sensation that you didn't have in the lower back. See if you can identify the greatest sensation you have, take a slow inhale there, follow it with a long, deep exhale, and return to normal pace breathing. Let's stay one more minute. And one more time, identify the greatest sensation, bring your interest to it, imagine you can take the breath right into it.

A long inhale, a deep exhale, and then the normal pace breaths. And then slide your hands to the seat of the chair, and with your inhale straight through the arms to sit upright. Let your hands rest wherever you want, just pause, eyes closed or eyes open and soft. Notice what's happening now. You don't have to do anything with it.

You're just noticing, just observing. And then we're gonna take the final pose, Savasana, with the legs of the chair. So I'm gonna remove the blanket. You have the option to use the blanket either behind the head, or you can keep it on the seat of the chair, or you can place it across the belly. But we are going to turn the chair around, because the lip of the chair, the front end goes up just a little bit, and we want the feet to be a little higher than the knees.

And I like to place this across my belly when I've done work that's specifically targeted toward the lower body. But feel free to place that blanket anywhere you want. Come in close to the chair. Bring myself down on my elbows, and take the backs of the knees to the seat of the chair, and then work myself down. I wanna still keep my eyes open a moment to see that there's very soft, long bed in the legs so that I'm not in a 90 degree, that these hip flexors are open.

And then, for me, I'm just going to place this blanket right across the lower belly. It's really soothing. And you have the choice to figure out where that blanket should go. So once again your Savasana is just as soothing. Release the arms out, let the shoulders melt into the ground.

And you'll be here for the next four minutes. Take one deep inhale, and one long, full exhale, and then let your breaths trail out to normal pace breathing. If at any time during your practice of relaxing and being still you find yourself chasing thoughts, follow it directly back to that long inhale, and that deep exhale. And then let it fade into those easy inhales and exhales, natural breath. And gently bring your awareness back to the breath.

And have a sense of your legs resting on the solid surface of the chair, your body resting on the solid surface of the mat, the ground. Let a little bit of movement start to stir through your fingers and toes, your wrists and your ankles. And then one more time take that long, steady inhale, and a deep, full exhale. And if you have the blanket across the belly just go ahead and slide it off to the side. And slowly begin to bend your legs pull them in toward your chest.

If you like to rock side to side on your lower back feel free to do that. And then you're just going to tip over to the right side, let your head rest on that bottom arm. Let your other arm just go loose and limp. And go ahead and lean your chest into the floor, push with your left palm, come all the way up, sit in any comfortable seated position, let your hands rest at your chest, close the eyes for just a moment. Can invite this kind of a breath to come in throughout the rest of the day, whenever you find yourself facing something that you need to accept and let go.

Any feelings that come in that feel challenging, just greet them with this kind of a breath. Open your eyes softly. Thanks for joining me in the Feeling and Breathing Series. Hope you enjoyed it. Namaste.

Comments

Hi Leann, I really enjoyed this class.  I felt really relaxed at the end of the practice and I really appreciated your excellent instructions.

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