Therapeutic Yoga Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 4

Rejuvenate and Let Go

40 min - Practice
24 likes
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Cheri, with the help of Tina, guides us into a gentle practice designed to warm, awaken, and move energy through the body in preparation for deeply relaxing restorative postures. You will feel more open, spacious, and rejuvenated.
What You'll Need: Mat, Eye PIllow, Square Bolster, Blanket (2)

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(waves crashing) Namaste and hello everyone. I'm so glad to be sharing this practice with you today. And Tina, lovely Tina, will be my assistant for kind of a little more gentle yoga so that you can move your energy and then go deeper into the restorative poses. It's also a good practice when you don't have a lot of time but you wanna get your energy flowing. So we'll start by just taking a moment sitting, so you'll want to sit up on your bolster or a folded blanket.

Make sure you're comfortable. Remember you're welcome to change your leg position, butterfly or extend if it's not feeling comfortable to cross your legs. And take a moment to ground through the hips, feel a part of your body touching the floor, and then take a nice lengthening breath upward. Feel the crown of the head floating upward and the shoulders softening back and down, away from the ears. Take your awareness inside your body.

Meeting where you are in this moment. Noticing how you feel. And then bringing one hand to your belly and one hand to your heart, and do a few belly heart breaths so you'll direct the breath into the hand that's below the hand that's resting over your belly and as you inhale, let the belly expand. Let the chest rise and expand at the top of the inhalation and then as you exhale, it's as if you're pouring the breath out from top to bottom, drawing the navel in at the end of the exhalation, releasing the last bit of air so your next breath is fresh and new, fresh oxygen flowing in, breathing into the belly, breathing all the way up into the heart and breathing out slow, long exhalations. And just two more deep breaths here at your own pace.

And then you'll take a nice long inhalation and as you exhale you'll come forward, walking your fingertips out in front of you so just let yourself extend forward and if you can take your fingertips to the floor to start with, lengthen out of your low back and then as you exhale you'll drape down just as far as feels comfortable. So if you're tight in your back, you may not go very far down, that's okay. Go as far as feels right for your body. Then see if you can relax your neck and your head down. Releasing tension at the base of the skull.

We carry around this very heavy, almost as much as a bowling ball the head weighs, so as you release it here it really helps to release the tension in the neck and let the neck rest a bit. Then you'll take another few breaths, really deep breaths, and feel free at this time to breath into the back of your body or wherever you're feeling any tension. And then you'll just slowly walk your fingers and your arms and your hands to the right. You'll bring your chin in alignment with your right knee, just all the way across and as you find your chin alignment with your right knee, you'll come down and over your right knee, but try to keep your left hip anchored so that the left hip stays grounded. And rotate your left shoulder, left rib cage down, and this will stretch out that left side of the back.

Breathing into the left side. And this is good for opening up some of the muscles of respiration, like the intercostals and areas that can get tight up in the upper thoracic so just breathing into those tight areas to create a little more space from within. You'll take another deep long inhalation. Long exhalation. And then you'll walk your hands back to center and we're gonna roll up slowly one vertebrae at a time and as you come all the way up, you're gonna recross your legs and you might not need to do that if you were doing it from a straddle split or butterfly, but if you were in a cross legged position, you'll recross.

You'll again bring the fingertips to the floor. You'll take a nice long inhalation, walking out, walking out, extending out of the low back and then softly draping and releasing. And so feeling that opening in that other hip. And relaxing and taking a few deep breaths here. Remember that you can breathe into the back side of the body, you can release the weight of the head down.

It can be nice to move the head if there's tension there. And then you'll walk your hands all the way to the left and bring your chin in alignment with your left knee. And releasing and softening forward and then as you come down, you'll again relax your right shoulder down, right rib cage down, and that will also help to open that right side of the body. Looking at your knee, making sure that your chin is in alignment with that left knee and keeping your right hip anchored into the earth. Breathing into this side of the body as it opens.

Feel the spaciousness you're creating in the stretch. Softening into the pull of gravity. We'll take just another very deep breath here. Beautiful and then you'll slowly walk your hands back to center and you can make your way up rolling up one vertebrae at a time. Once you come up, you'll roll your shoulders forward, up, back, and down a few times.

Releasing any accumulated tension in the shoulders and opening the heart, opening the pectoral muscles which get tight when we focus on things in front of us. One more big circle and release. So we're gonna take a couple of blankets now. And you'll place one. Ideal for this practice is three blankets.

You'll take two for this first series of movements and we're gonna bring our blankets in alignment with each other and then you'll come onto all fours with your knees at the top of this middle blanket and your heel of your palm is gonna go right off the edge of the second blanket. And this is for cat cow so depending on the length of your spine, you want your knees hip-width, right under the hip joints, and you want your spine to be nice and long here. And you can place the heel of your palm on the edge of the blanket which gives a little space for the wrist so if you have any wrist issues, this can be a good choice. And then spread the fingers wide and really energize down through the fingers as well as the pad of the fingers so there's good energy in all of the hand. We tend to put a lot of weight into the heel of the palm, but try to distribute it evenly through your fingers here.

The first movement we'll be doing is pulling the stomach muscles in, beginning to draw the tailbone down and coming into cat stretch, really working with the stomach muscles pulling in and arching the spine and then as you inhale, the tailbone starts to tilt upward, the spine moves into cow pose and the heart draws forward keeping the shoulders drawn back, the neck nice and long and then exhaling as you tuck under, as you stretch the back of the body, pressing the fingers into the floor. Beautiful engagement of the stomach muscles and then lengthen, even as if you're telescoping the ribs forward, the heart and head draw forward, good. And exhaling. This is a great way to warm and loosen up the spine. It helps to give some energy movement through the body, very good for the organs.

You're even massaging your organs here with the engaging and opening. Nice. We're gonna move into a little more active movement now and you're next exhalation, you'll draw your right knee towards your nose as it comes in towards cat, it's now moving into little larger cat, tiger pose. And then extend the leg back, keep the right hip down, stomach muscles engaged, head and foot extend, toes spread. And then drawing the knee towards the nose as you exhale.

Lots of vital energy here. Thinking of a tiger sauntering through the jungle. Good, exhaling as your draw the knee towards your nose, keeping the stomach muscles engaged especially as you extend the leg. Very good for core strengthening, for the back as well. Good, two more.

Feel the movement coming from within and extending outward, outward lines of energy, good. And this last time you'll extend the leg, you'll keep it lifted, you'll reach back through, not just the heel, but spread the toes and then the left arm comes up into chakravakasana, so this is a balancing pose so you want to keep your eyes on a focused point on the floor a few feet in front of you. Feel your core muscles active, your breath deep, so your breath is what's helping to fuel your body in your yoga so you want to keep that really strong and deep as you hold the pose. Beautiful, one more long lengthening deep breath and then while keeping the right leg straight, you're gonna bring it all the way over to the left side of your mat as your left hand comes down. Bring the foot to the floor, turn the toes under, and give a good stretch down through the heel and through the leg.

Try not to let your right hip sink here. Keeping a little bit of balance between your hips and opening the right side of your body, give it really good nice deep stretch and it can even be nice to turn to gaze over your left shoulder to open up the neck on that side too, on the right side. Take another deep breath. This lateral bending's really good if you have tight back or liver issues, it's good for awakening the gallbladder liver line. And then, well meridian line, and then when you're ready, you'll come back slowly to center, you'll draw your right knee in, you'll stretch your spine up into your cat pose again and then you'll inhale to cow pose, drawing the heart forward, lengthening.

And now this time as you draw the knee in, you'll bring your left knee into tiger. Exhale left knee to the nose. Inhale, opening the length of the whole body, keeping the stomach muscles engaged. And the left hip is slightly down. Exhale in.

Stomach muscles stay active here. Good, inhaling. Beautiful. So what happens when that left hip stays down is it works the core a bit more and you're gonna continue with your breath, exhaling in. That's it, lift the leg just a little bit higher, good.

And last two. Nice. Breath is deep, really giving you lots of energy. Exhaling, drawing the knee in. And extend the leg all the way for our balancing pose and balancing is really good for, again, building core strength.

Left hip stays down, right arm extends. Good, feel the grounding through the left hand, the right knee, but then feel the energy lines reaching all the way out through the toes, all the way out through the hands. You're awakening great lines of energy here. Breathing deeply as you hold the pose. Good.

It's a really nice energy moving practice. And one more deep full breath, stomach muscles staying strong and engaged. And then keeping the leg lifted, you'll sweep it all the way to the right side of your mat. You can take your right hand under your right shoulder. Turn the toes under.

Again, be careful not to drop the hip but keep it at the level where it really opens up the side of the body. And then, turning your head to the right is also gonna open up that left side of your neck and all the way down along the whole line of the body. Enjoy this stretch, breathe. Good, last breath here. And then bringing the leg back and bringing your left knee under your left hip and then you'll bring your toes together and your knees open a little bit wider.

And you'll start to come back to child's pose. Now your child's pose may be here with your head on the floor. If you don't have any knee or hip issues, you're welcome to sit all the way back. Release your forehead to the floor or to the blanket and that's one of the reasons I like to have the blanket here for this variation is we're gonna come right into a massage for the third eye. So ajna chakra is here, but also in Chinese medicine, there's a very good point for calming the spirit.

It's good for so many different things so with your forehead resting on the floor, you'll kind of steam roll right across your forehead from temple to temple so you wanna watch that you're not lifting your head but you're actually pressing down a little bit. This is a wonderful massage to do when you find yourself feeling worried or concerned. There's a tendency when we're worried or concerned to furrow the brow so this is a nice way to massage that out and you can even imagine that you're letting any mental concern or worry flow down into the earth. And this is a nice resting pose in between the two variations of, the different variations that we did with cat, tiger, and cow. And then just letting your head when you're done, just rest for a moment and take a few deep breaths.

So it's important if you have any discomfort in this pose always to listen and modify. The body is speaking to us through sensation so as you're listening to it, each step of the way, especially in your home practice where you can do anything that you would like to do so if your knees bother you, you could always turn onto your back and do this pose with your knees into your chest as an alternative. If you have knee replacements, I recommend doubling the blankets under your shins and floating your knee so there's no pressure on the patella or the new knee. And taking a nice deep full breath here. And you'll slowly come up and onto all fours.

And then when you're ready, you'll come off your mat just for a moment to set up for the next pose. So you'll take your block now and you'll place it at the top of your blanket or your mat rather and you'll roll your blanket, so we're gonna roll two blankets, one to one side of the mat, one to the other. Then you'll take your bolster and you'll place the far end on the block so there's a little bit of a lift to the bolster, your eye pillow, it's good to have it close by. What I like to do is actually put it on the crease of the thigh before you come back so it's in place. And then also, take a blanket and put it right on the top of your yoga bolster.

Now this can be folded in half or a roll can be created once you come back, you can make it just the right size for you. So go ahead and come to the space right in front of your bolster. And you'll sit up nice and tall and you'll scoot back so your sacrum is aligned, you might even feel with your hands where the bolster is. You'll take the soles of the feet together and slide the blanket rolls right under the outsides of your ankle, shin, and thigh, outer thigh. And this creates a really comfortable deep support for the hips and the inner groin as well.

Now if you would like less support, you can always take the blankets out a little bit further, but it's nice, actually, when you're here for quite some time to give a little bit of support that your legs can relax into. Eye pillow on the top of your thigh and then your hands can even press into the bolster or by your side and slowly recline back. And then once you recline back, you can feel free to keep that blanket flat, you can create a roll if you like. That's a little bit high, let's make it a little. So one of the things to remember with your roll, and you can roll it this way maybe, is if you like a roll, you wanna make sure it's not flattening your cervical curves so if you're reclining back and, especially if you have a squishy bolster, you may sink a little bit here and then it can overly flatten the curve in your neck so I just invite you to check in that your head isn't lifting so high that it's flattening your curve but the roll is small enough to support the natural curve in the neck and that's especially helpful if you've had any neck injuries.

And then you can take your eye pillow from your thigh, place it over your eyes. And if you're feeling like you want a little heart opening, a little movement here, you can take a few breaths, sweeping the arms overhead and exhaling them out to the sides, almost like making angel wings in the snow, or I should say in sand here in California and inhale, wherever you may be, and exhaling down. And this is a nice way to activate the heart, lung, and the pericardium acupuncture point lines. To connect movement with breath. You may come into the pose and just wanna be still but if you wanna do a few of these, they can be really nice.

And then the final time you'll circle and then you'll position your arms wherever it feels the best to you. For some people, close to the body will feel especially nice and for some, having the hands further out feels better, so finding your sweet spot, your position that feels good. And then as you close your eyes, so as you notice how open this pose is for the front body, just begin to feel the body expanding into that openness, almost like a flower opening to sunlight and that there's nothing that you need to do, nowhere to go, you can really sink in to the softness and the gift of letting go here. You might notice the chi flows from the movement that you've just done. Gentle yoga.

And how delicious it is now to soften, to relax, to open. Noticing the subtle sensation of your breath flowing in, flowing out. Letting go deeper and deeper and deeper into the support beneath you. Growing more and more relaxed with each breath. Noticing the sensation of your breath flowing in, flowing out.

Gently taking a few deep breaths. Coming back with each breath nice and slow and gentle. Feeling your breath flowing in and out as you prepare to transition out of the pose. And so when you're ready, you're welcome to sweep your hands to the outsides of the legs and just let the legs come together and then slide out in front of you. And you may separate your feet a little wider than hip-width here for a few ankle circles.

Just circling your toes. Big circles with the feet and also allowing that movement to go into the hips as well, so hips are rotating in and out as you're circling the ankles in whatever way feels good to you and do a few both directions. Good. Then when you're ready, there's two choices. One, the most gentle would be to slowly roll off the bolster onto your side, removing the blanket from your hip so it's not in the way as you do that.

Second would be to put your feet on the floor, remove your eye pillow, come to seated. So you can kind of choose what feels best to you. And if you're coming up this way, you're gonna use your, tuck your chin towards your chest, use your stomach muscles and slowly press up. This is certainly a more active way to do it. And some people prefer to just come onto the side and then slowly transition.

So you're gonna take your block now. You can either pull it out from behind you or if you've been down, you can just stay there. Yeah and then you can come up if you've been on your side and come all the way up. We're gonna take the block where the bolster's going to go and we're going to put it so that it holds the bolster in this nice little side position. You want the block right at the middle of the bolster so that if you have long legs, your feet aren't running into the bolster, you would step them to either side of the block and you can scoot up and put your legs up over the bolster in that supported position.

For those of you that would like a blanket under you, you're welcome to also add a blanket under you which can be nice. I should've probably done that first. (laughing) But you can lift up a little bit and kind of get that under your hips. And what's nice is it adds another level of softness in the pose and then go ahead and put a blanket down for your head. And lastly, you'll take your aromatherapy nearby, your eye pillow right over your thighs so you know where it is and then a blanket over you, especially if you think you'll be cool. If you run hot, you may not need it but in shavasana it's really helpful to have a blanket keeping you warm so your body doesn't have to work to try to stay warm.

And then slowly reclining back, nice and easy. And as you come back, you can bring yourself into a good position, your neck and head support just the right height. And you can take that blanket over you and put your eye pillow over your eyes, drip of aromatherapy, and lavender is a wonderful aromatherapy for relaxation, for deep rest. It's kind of a universal oil. It does so many beneficial things for the body, for the mind, and one of the things that we've discovered is our olfactory sense, sense of smell, is connected to the memory portion of the brain so as you smell a scent and you're relaxing after a while all you need to do is smell that smell and your body says oh yes, this is when I experience that deep relaxation.

So we're also training ourselves here a little bit. And then when you're done, you can tuck yourself in so that you feel nice and warm and cozy. And you can place your hands either out to your sides or on your body, whatever feels the best. And letting your legs really relax here so they're not holding themselves at all, they're sinking into that support of the bolster. And feel your whole body begin to let go and sink down.

Noticing the sensations within, the subtle flow of energy moving through the chakras. Feel how alive you are. Light and energy flowing through every organ, every cell. Resting in the stillness of your deep relaxation. Lying peaceful, warm, and relaxed.

Allowing your breath now to gently deepen, returning slowly with each breath. Heading back from your deep relaxation with renewed energy, rested and restored. You can begin to awaken, slow movements, fingers and toes, moving head, stretching shoulders, whatever feels good. You may also enjoy eventually drawing your knees in towards your chest, drawing the knees in high towards the chest for a few breaths. You can rock a little bit from side to side.

And rolling onto your side and connecting with yourself for a few moments, just noticing the sensations within, the quality of your breath, the flow of energy. So taking a deep breath and very slowly rolling forward, pressing your top hand down into the floor, coming up one vertebra at a time and then you can come to sit wherever feels most comfortable for you. And closing your practice by bringing your hands into anjali mudra at the heart. We'll take a deep breath as we close by chanting the sacred sound om. Inhale.

Om. Thank you for practicing with us today. Namaste. Namaste.

Comments

so relaxing, thank you :)
Thanks for your note Gokce. I'm so glad you were able to relax with this practice. : )
Wonderful session....so restorative. Thank you!
Hi Lisa, Thank you for joining me on the mat, and for your sweet note! I'm so glad you felt restored. Wishing you all the best! oxoxo
Really relaxing and restorative session.
Hi Roslyn, I'm so glad you were able to take time to relax and restore with this video! Sending my love...
as always - beautiful practice...Thank you Cheri
Achalan
Thank you so much Achalan. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Sending my love...

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