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Season 1 - Episode 5

Hot Flash Cooler

45 min - Practice
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Awaken the inner waters. Cheri, with the help of Diane, guides us through a cooling restorative practice with gentle movements designed to offer relief during menopause. We begin in Resting Star with the Sitali breath, a cooling technique to help soothe the inner heat, before easing into Resting Butterfly and Cactus. You will feel deeply nourished.
What You'll Need: Mat, Eye PIllow, Square Bolster, Blanket (3)

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(waves crashing) Namaste and welcome to hot flash cooler. The idea is that when you're having a hot flash, you can come and do this practice. This is actually a practice I use quite a lot for myself for hot flashes and what's interesting is typically in the yoga tradition, forward bends are cooling poses, so we often do them towards the end of practice when we're cooling down or calming to go into our deep shavasana, but I found that actually forward bends created more intensity in my hot flashes. So you'll notice this practice has a lot of very open positions for the body where the air can circulate and yet it's still very restorative and calming to help cool you down and relax your body. Dian is here today, and she'll be assisting and demonstrating the poses, and I also wanted to show you one of the things that has helped me so much, is I put my eye pillow in the freezer.

So you do wanna put plastic around it, put it in the freezer, and then whenever I start having a hot flash I grab it and go and do this practice. So take that out, and for this practice you'll wanna gather your props. So you'll need a bolster, three blankets, and some aromatherapy, and your eye pillow, and I would put the things that you'll need kind of close to you so they're easy to get to when you've come into reclining position. We're gonna start with one of my newer restorative poses, and it's called resting star. So we'll take two blankets and we'll fold them in half.

So you're moving from this fold to this fold. Not the long fold that we sometimes do, but folding in half, and if you have bed pillows or throw pillows too that are the same size, you can always use those, and you'll make a nice roll. I think of it kind of like a tootsie roll, and you're gonna put that where one of your legs is gonna go, in an open position, and then the second blanket you'll also open it up, fold it in half, and then roll it nice and firm for your second leg. Good, and then you'll take your bolster, and you'll put it length wise, and you'll take one blanket at the far end, and this will become your head and neck support. So again, start with it just folded in half.

I find that's quite nice to allow enough height in the head for the air to kind of flow around the neck. Flashes often go up so the organs feel like they're heating up, and then it goes up into the chest, and the heart can palpate too. It can be quite intense. You'll sit here in front of your bolster, and you'll extend your legs over the rolls, and you'll position the roll right under your knee, and it can be nice to take the legs as wide as feels comfortable for you, but have them about even, and then also just checking in with the height that both rolls are about the same height, and then placing your eye pillow on your upper thigh and when you're ready you can slowly recline back, and that's nice to hold the bolster as you come back, and then just making sure the neck support's in the right place. You can make a little roll with it if you like, or you can just let it be flat.

So I like flat for letting air come through and a roll can be nice if you have any tenderness in your neck, or you have a flattened cervical curve. Now with the icy cold eye pillow, oh it feels so good. You can put it wherever you need to in the moment. So sometimes I'll start with it on my belly if it's starting with a heating up through the organs, or the chest, or the forehead, and then a lot of times I'll bring it down over my eyes later. So you can feel free to place it wherever you like, and then just take a few moments to settle into the pose.

So let yourself begin to focus on feeling the support beneath you, and relaxing down into that support. So I'd like to share a breathing practice that's very cooling, and so it's really helpful when you're having a hot flash, and it's called sitali, and there's two ways to do it. One is with a curled tongue, and it's genetic whether you can curl your tongue or not. So don't worry if you can't. I'll show you that variation and the other variation as well.

So if you can curl your tongue, you make a long curl and then breathe in through the tongue. So what it does is it cools the airs that enters the lungs and it helps to cool the body down, and then I like to exhale with an open mouth, like some of the runners and things you'll see. To cool down we breathe through the mouth, and to warm the air we breathe through the nose, like an ujjayired ocean breath, we're doing a more warming breath, but this is just to cool the body. Now if you can't do the curled tongue variation, what you'll do is wet your teeth, and you'll breathe through the sides of the mouth, and then exhale through an open mouth, and you can wet your teeth or wet the mouth to make it cooler, and then breathe out through the mouth. So as you're ready, choosing which technique works for you, I encourage you to focus on breathing in icy cool air.

Wonderful cool breeze, and exhaling through the mouth, and letting go of anything you're ready to release. Heat, letting go of irritation, all the things that can come with the intensity of a hot flash. Letting the heart calm with a cool breath coming in, and breathing out heat, breathing out tension, breathing out stress. You may notice when you're having a hot flash it often can come on with a stressful fight or situation. Which is a great awareness to have, and just breathing that out letting it go.

So think of the sitali breath as also a cleansing breath. Breathing in fresh oxygen, breathing in cool cool breeze, breathing out anything you're ready to release, and take a few more at your own pace, and you can do this throughout the practice today. Finding for you if you need to cool, to come back to your sitali breath and then eventually just letting your breath return to its natural rhythm. And as the hot flash will tend to go up, it can often be nice to move the eye pillow from the organs to flip it over and to place it across the forehead. And even over the eyes if you'd like.

It's fine. You can actually get cool gel eye support that you can put in the freezer or fridge. So it's fine for the eyes to have that cool cold against them, and then just taking some deep breaths and letting go even more deeply into resting star. And as you're experiencing, if you are having hot flash right now or you're just wanting to cool down, it's a great practice to do to cool down, just feel the energy of it, and some of the teachings of yoga, and some of the wise women and crones in our community talk about the hot flashes being a rise of kundalini energy that burns off things in the nervus system that need to be cleanses. So there's an actual transformation that's occurring with this incredible heating up and cleansing.

And then what happens is that energy of healing and the gifts of our own creative energy and spirit can reach out into the community in deeper ways. So there's a belief that as we come into our later years there's a freedom to bring our energy out into the world in new ways, or into the community. So just noticing for you what happens as you feel the energy to not fight it but rather relax into it, and to feel the gifts it holds. And as you feel ready, take a few breaths feeling the cool breeze flowing around you and through you, and right from this pose, without moving very much, just a little bit, I invite you to slide your heels together and to kind of tuck the blankets in a bit. Good, and come into butterfly.

So this is resting butterfly. This is a pose that's often called the gem for women. Some people call it the goddess pose because it's so good for women, and I've brought it into quite a few of the teachings this season to nourish you, to help to bring blood flow to the pelvic region, and to open the pelvis. The heating of the menopause brings, the heating with hot flashes, I think of it as topis, as a sort of fire, or purification that's happening, and there's some teachings that really don't support having a positive attitude about it. So I wanna just encourage you to embrace the changes that you're going through, and I think butterfly's a beautiful pose for that.

So experiencing what you're going through as a sort of transformation, and as you're here feeling as if you're a butterfly that you're light, you have wings that are expanding, and furling, and opening to this new chapter, this new time in your life. So seeing the experiences that you're going through as this time in your life is unfolding as gifts, and experiencing them, and meeting them with positive energy. Allowing your breath now to gently deepen. And just noticing what you feel in your body as you breathe into it changes. And you're free to use your hands to support the legs as they come together, or just bring the legs together.

And feel free to remove your eye pillow or you can just let it come off as you gently roll onto your side, and you're just gonna take the blanket that was under your hip on the side that you're rolling to and just move it out of the way. Bring the blanket under your head with you. So as you come onto your side you just have a little bit of support there. So take a few deep breaths. And in a very relaxed way, when you're ready, you'll press your hands down in front of you and you'll slowly roll up, keeping your head relaxed, and as you come up you'll position your bolster in front of you, and you'll take one of your blankets and you'll open it up just to go under your whole spine, and this feels really nice in this next pose to have a little extra cushion, and then what you'll do is you'll bring the bolster just to the bottom of your yoga blanket, and you'll straddle it.

So you'll sit with your sits bones right here. Good, and your feet to either side, and then you'll slowly lower down but you want your sacrum on the bolster, so you're gonna scoot forward just enough so that when you come back it's supported. Good, and your hands can come back behind you, and tuck your chin towards your chest. Good, and then slowly recline back and all the way to the floor. Now when you come all the way to the floor, generally here, you don't wanna have too much under your head.

So if you need a little more padding you're welcome to do that, but I wouldn't put a lot of lift here underneath your head. So once you've come into position and you're reclined back, you're gonna take a moment to bring your hands right to the top of your hip, right to your ilium. So it's a protruding bone at the top of the hip, and right below that is the sacrum. The sacrum's the triangular bone at the base of the spine, and this is where we want the bolster holding you. We don't want it under the low back.

We don't want it under the lumbar spine, and pushing into the lumbar. It won't feel comfortable if you do end up with it there. So once you feel where your ilium is, you're gonna slide back until the bolster, the very top line of it here is right in alignment with the top crease of your ilium, and then once you're there, you can straighten your legs out, or you're welcome to keep your knees bent. So this is a pose I call cactus because the cactus is the flowering plant of the desert. So when it gets really hot, it actually flowers, and that's a beautiful image to have when you are having a hot flash.

Which I am right now personally, and it's such an amazing energy that flows through you and to come into this open position and to feel the heat, to welcome the heat, and actually feel the flowering that the heat brings can be a nice way to meet it. Rather than fighting it, struggling around it, see if you can relax and kind of blossom into the heat, and the experience of it. So you can put your eye pillow over your eyes, if you'd like, and your arms can be wherever they feel good. I like to take them actually into a cactus position, but if your forearms or your wrists don't kind of relax down, you might wanna reach out to the sides a little bit because it is quite an opening pose for the chest with the arms in cactus position, and then as far as the legs go, if at any point in time it feels too strong for you, if you've had a groin pull or just feels like too much, you're always welcome to bend your knees and come back to that first position with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. And let's do a few sitali breaths.

Feel the cool air flowing in and flowing through the inner body. And feel the air flowing around you. Cool and soothing. And take as many breaths as feels good to you and then you can just let your face relax imagining a cool breeze blowing around the face, the back of the neck, and gently over your shoulders and your chest. Cooling the body as it flows over you and through you.

Floating in this cool breeze. Feeling relaxed and peaceful. And taking a few deep breaths, preparing to release from the pose. When you're ready you can just let your arms sweep down and you'll bend your knees one at a time placing your feet on the floor, and you'll bring your hands to the bolster and you'll push back, you'll slide back as you push the bolster forward a bit, and you'll come all the way off the bolster and onto the blanket, good. You'll keep the bolster where it is because we'll use it for the next pose as sort of a way to support the leg in the next pose that we'll be doing, but just take a moment here to feel what happened with your back flat on the floor and maybe feel good to rock the pelvis a few times forward and back.

So we did some really nice heart opening poses. Very good for also activating some of the meridian lines through the front of the body. That can be so helpful for menopause. So take a nice deep breath, and as you exhale, relax your knees to the right, and take your right foot and rest it on top of your left knee. Could be the thigh just above the knee.

Wherever it feels most comfortable for you, and if this is too much for you you're welcome to keep your right foot on the floor. This gives a little deeper stretch as it draws the left leg towards the Earth, and then sweep your arms up over your head and clasp ahold of your left wrist with your right hand, and start to pull and lengthen through this left side of the body and arcing towards the right side of your mat, and what this does is it opens up this whole line of energy through the left side stretching the inner costal muscles between the ribs down through the quadratus lumborum and also activating the liver or gallbladder meridian line. So take a few breaths here. Just feel this delicious stretch after your back bends, the lateral bends are really nice for opening up those areas that were in extension in the back bend. Good, two more breaths.

Nice deep inhalations, long exhalations. And then as you're ready to release, you can release your right foot to the floor, and as you sweep your hands out to the side you can kind of straighten your body, bring the knees back to center, and position your feet. Take a nice long inhalation, and as you exhale relax your knees to the left side of your mat, and you can take your left foot and place it on top of the right thigh just above the knee, and then sweeping the arms up overhead. Clasping ahold of your right wrist this time. Gently pulling and arcing towards the left side of your yoga mat to stretch open this whole right side, and this is where the liver is located.

So when we're going through any kind of change in the body, the liver is also working a little bit harder. So breathing into the liver, breathing in that cool breath and into the solar plexus, into all of the organs that reside here as you feel the stretch along the gallbladder, liver, and meridian line, the paired organs, and just feeling how delicious it feels to lengthen, to create space for the air to flow around you here. Fans can be really nice to use too when you're going through menopause when the body heats up, and some drug stores even carry ones that you can wear around your neck. Which I found to be great. Can just cool yourself down if you need to, and taking a couple more breaths.

And then as you're ready you'll release your left foot from your right knee. Bringing it back to the floor, and release the arms, sweeping them out and rolling onto your back and straightening the body here. Let's take a moment to feel what happened. And you can get your bolster into position by just moving it with your feet if you like. You can just kind of kick it around so that it's now length wise under your legs and you can either rest with just the bolster underneath your legs, which is fine if you're not feeling like positioning the blanket underneath you, or you can add a rolled blanket beneath the legs and that can give you a little more height and especially if you have knee issues, it can open the knee joints.

The joints can get a little more sensitive around menopause so it's good to take care of them and be gentle with them. Then if you need a blanket over you, which I doubt you will if you're hot flashing, but it's here if you need it, and then placing a drop of essential oil on your palm. Some of the blends that I recommend, they're specific blends you can get like women's balance, woman's harmony that have clary sage, rose geranium, very good for hormonal balancing. So I would recommend those for sure, but lavender's always great because lavender's really relaxing, and soothing, and calming. Mint can be cooling, and rosemary can be good if you have mental fog or haziness, and if you don't have oil today then you can just rub your hands together and you can palm for yourself, but if you have oil you'll cup your hands over your nose and breathe it in, and or palm your body, and sometimes I love the feeling of taking energy to my own body and if I'm very hot I prefer not to.

I usually just open my arms out and find a good open position. So both with resting star and with some of the other positions like cactus, feel free to take your arms wherever it feels good, and here too in shavasana, bringing your arms wherever they want to be to create space around your body, and then taking your focus within. And taking a few moments to just notice how you feel. And if you are in a cooling phase, sometimes with a hot flash as you sweat and as you start to cool down you may need a blanket over you. So if it's right near by if you need it you might wanna place that over you if you need it, and it can even just be over the front part of the body, or the areas that tend to cool down.

So as you're here, let your whole body soften into the Earth and feeling the wonderful support that the Earth gives you. The great mother energy. And meeting yourself as you are right now in this moment. Feeling the cool breeze of your breath, and in your minds eye, feel free to visualize yourself resting in a cool green grass. Feel the cool Earth beneath you holding the curves of your body.

Feel the breeze blowing over you and feeling a gentle mist, a cool mist flowing over your body cooling your skin and calming your nervus system. You feel this mist with each breath flowing into your body and cooling and calming the organs, and relaxing everything it touches. Your whole body resting in the gentle embrace of the Earth. Peaceful. And deeply relaxed.

Gently begin to deepen your breath. And with each breath returning from your deep relaxation. Feeling rested, calm, cool, and relaxed. And then when you're ready you can slowly draw you knees one at a time in towards your chest and take a few moments to stretch your back here. Give your back a nice deep release.

You can rock a little bit from side to side massaging across your low back and your hips. And then feel free to remove your eye pillow or you can just let it fall off as you roll onto your side. Put your upper arm under your head if you're blanket isn't nearby. Take a few deep breaths. And then when you're ready you can make your way back to seated.

Sitting wherever feels most comfortable for you. Sitting up nice and tall and gently bringing your hands to your heart and anjali mudra, and allowing the thumbs to press into the breast bone, the heart center, and just massaging a gentle movement into the heart connecting with your heart. Feeling the calmness of the heart. Inviting that cool calm energy to bathe the heart. And honoring the light and the vibration, the heat within you.

Namaste, namaste.

Comments

1 person likes this.
i love your classes so much.
Hi Judy, I'm so glad to hear you are enjoying the classes! I feel so grateful to be able to share through this incredible on line forum. Sending heartfelt blessings your way! xoxo
Thank you! I feel so relaxed and calm. How often per week you would recommend this practice?
Hi Lena, I'm so glad to hear you felt good after the practice. Because this is a very gentle practice you can do this video as often as feels good to you. You may also enjoy some of my offerings on the Therapeutic Yoga show. Look for the red flower. Wishing you all the best! πŸ™πŸΌπŸ’«

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