(waves splashing) Hello and namaste. So glad you've joined us today for a practice for exhaustion to replenish yourself when you're feeling really tired, or just needing to nurture yourself. Today Diane is here, she's my assistant and also dear friend, and she'll be demonstrating the poses for you. And before you start, you'll want to gather your props, so you'll need three blankets, a rectangular bolster, an eye pillow, and some aromatherapy. And I suggest putting that close to your mat so that you know where it is when you need it.
And then I also recommend grabbing a bed pillow. Just a nice long bed pillow if you have one or regular standard size works for this practice. I find it's really nice when you're practicing at home to bring in some of those things that make you comfortable. Like your pillows, throw blanket. Put on some music and just treat yourself to this wonderful relaxing experience.
So we start with a pose. It's a supported reclining pose. And we'll take two blankets. And you'll place this towards the bottom of your mat and you'll stack them one on top of the other. And you'll roll them together.
So it makes a nice large roll to support your knees. Then you're gonna take your bolster and place it lengthwise on your mat. And you'll take either your additional blanket, some people like to have a blanket under the head here so you could use a blanket under the head. Or if you'd like to use your bed pillow. That can be a nice soft support to have under your head.
You could always use that additional blanket to go over you if you feel cool. And so you'll come sit. Good. And then slowly extend your legs over the blanket roll. And before you come back, take your eye pillow and place it on your thigh, on your upper thigh.
And you can hold the bolster bottom. And if you have any low back problems you may even wanna push it slightly away from your back. But if your back feels fine, you can keep it right up against your spine and then press it down a little bit and slowly recline back. And as you come back, you can bring the pillow or the blanket right under your head. And just make sure that your head is supported but your shoulders are free.
So you don't want anything under the shoulders so the shoulders can relax down and chest can open. And then you can take your eye pillow and you can place it right over your eyes. And we're gonna start with a gentle arm movement here just to warm up the chest and also activates the heart, the lung, the pericardium, acupuncture point lines. And so you'll start with your hands floating right above your pubic bone. And as you inhale, you'll stretch your arms overhead.
And as you exhale, you'll circle your arms out to the sides and then down. And feel the movement from the heart chakra outward. And so this is a time to release your day, to release any cares or worries. And also to release those that you're holding or carrying. So a lot of times when we get exhausted it's because we're so busy taking care of others.
So this is a time to focus on yourself, to nurture yourself. So as you breath out, breathing out tension, breathing out stress, letting go of anything that you're holding or carrying, that you're ready to release. And as you breath in, breath in positive energy. Breathe in fresh oxygen. Prana.
And just a few more at your own pace. Feeling the movement from within and beginning to connect to your deepest breath. And then in the last time, sweeping the arms up then releasing the arms down. And you may wanna just make sure the pillow feels just right. You can always tuck it up under your neck a little bit more.
Or if you feel like you're not getting the right kind of support. So I might just bring this up just a little bit. There we go. So you wanna make sure that your forehead is higher than your adam's apple. Whatever support you have under your head.
And then just let your shoulders relax back and down and let your elbows get heavy and your hands relax. Just letting the hand soften into the earth. Then taking a few deep belly breaths. As you inhale, let the abdomen rise. And as you exhale, slow long deep exhalation feeling your body sinking down into the support beneath you as the bolster holds you.
As the earth holds you. The inhalation, the body fills with prana, with fresh oxygen and as you exhale, relax even more deeply down. This is a time to replenish your energy. To rest and restore. Letting your mind grow quiet.
And eventually you can let your deep breathing go and just let yourself move into the stillness of the pose, feeling the subtle flow of energy within you. This can be a nice time to visualize light and energy freely flowing through your body, nourishing everything it touches. Tiny rivers of light, the nadis carrying the light to wherever it's needed. Whatever places feel tight or tired, visualize the light filling these areas. Your body drinking in this vital life giving energy.
And restoring with each breath. Allow your breath now to gently deepen. Feeling the rise and fall of your chest and belly with each breath. And noticing how open the front body feels here as you breathe into it. And preparing now to transition on to your side, you'll take a moment to check in with your body and just see which side it would prefer to roll to.
And then you can slowly bend your knees and you'll take hold of the pillow with your hand towards the side you'll be rolling to. And as you transition, you can slowly bring it with you. And feel free to remove your eye pillow if you'd like. So as you bring your pillow under your head and off the bolster, you'll also kind of kick with your feet this double blanket and you'll bring it right up between your knees. So you can kind of kick it in and then pull it up right between your knees, your shins and your ankles.
And then you'll reach back with your top hand and if your pillow is in the way, it might be a little difficult but you'll roll that bolster onto its side. And then you can release your top hand down in front of you. Now when I'm really exhausted I find a hand to the forehead which is also a self-soothing technique. If you're exhausted, that can be really helpful just to clear the mind. And these are the points where we hold worry.
And so it can be really nice to just massage or smooth out or just hold some pressure in that area and just let your forehead relax. And taking a few moments here to just feel your breath, your body and the shape. You could also put your hand in your heart or just rest the left hand wherever it feels most comfortable, or the right depending on which side you're on. And this is a pose that's good for calming the nervous system. So if you've been busy and pushing your energy, what happens is the body gets depleted.
In Chinese medicine, the kidney chi gets depleted. The adrenals sit on top of the kidneys and they can also really go through a fatigue. Adrenal fatigue syndrome is a common syndrome that people have when they're exhausted but they've lost that sacred rhythm of rest in their life. And during the later years for women, that can be more common when you're going through menopause because you may be having hot flashes or flushes as they're called in some parts of the world that wake you up in the middle of the night. And there can be a sort of drain on your energy in various ways depending also on what you're going through in your life.
Whether you're taking care of kids or sick parents or putting your energy out at work and at home as well and trying to find balance with that is very challenging. So coming into this pose and feeling how safe you are here, just really letting yourself rest. You can even imagine that you're floating in a beautiful cocoon of energy that's holding you and you can just relax into that energy. And again really working with the visualization of drawing the energy in to restore you, to revitalize and replenish your reserves. So as you breathe, feel the whole body breathing, drawing in energy with each breath.
And staying in touch with your body, with the sensations, with any emotions that may be present. The restorative poses are beautiful meditations, time to just be still, to really come into a relationship in a deeper way with yourself. We plug in our cell phones, we charge many things in our life but we forget we need to recharge too. We need to restore and recharge ourselves. So taking just a few more moments here, resting, rejuvenating, relaxing.
So take a few deep breaths. And as you're ready to release from the pose, you'll press your top hand down into the floor. You'll roll slowly up, just nice and easy, keeping your head relaxed. So it's the last thing that comes up. And then you'll take your bolster lengthwise.
And you'll put your pillow right on top of it. It's so nice to have these pillows to give you a little extra softness in this next pose. We're gonna take that double blanket roll and open it up and use one of the blankets under the knees. And this is always nice to give your knees a little extra care. If you've had a knee replacement too, you can double the blankets and float your knee here for this next pose.
You'll bring your knees hip width apart on top and you'll come on to all fours into table pose. Good. And then with the feet, knees about hip width apart, hands positioned right under the shoulders, fingers widely spread. Now if you take this pose and your wrists bother you, come up onto your knuckles instead. Or if that's still not doable, you can turn the bolster crosswise and put your forearms on top of the bolster and pillow.
We're gonna do happy dog pose. It's a great pose for stretching the quadratus lamborum, the QL it's often called. And it can be a culprit in low back pain. But also just 'cause we sit a lot, it gets quite tight. And this warms you up for this next pose.
So we'll start with an accordion like movement. So you can take your shoulder towards your hip and make a C curve. Your head's gonna go towards the hip, good. And then you're gonna go the other way. And head and shoulder move towards the hip and we're stretching one side of the body.
I think of it like when you're playing an accordion. And it opens on one side and then it comes together on that side. And what it does is it helps to create a squeeze and soak for the organs. This is also real good for the adrenals if you're exhausted. Little massage, twists and things that help to move stuck blood and congestion through that area.
So notice the feeling and just have fun here. Explore what feels good to you. I think of it kind of like salsa dancing on all fours where you're letting your hips get real juicy and moving through the sides of the body. And in our typical day to day movement, we do a lot of forward and back movements but we don't do a lot of side bending. And it's actually very good for the organs, liver too.
Liver, gall bladder meridian line runs down through the side line of the body. Just a few more warming up, having fun. And I like to think of happy dogs. You've seen a happy dog and they just immediately fill you with joy. So when you're doing this, you can think of a happy dog, a dog you love or the feeling of joy that comes with wagging your own tail. (chuckling) I think joyousness can also really help us when we're feeling tired and exhausted.
So bringing that in has actually been found to enhance the immune function too. Just thinking happy thoughts, watching fun movies. Good, and then you'll come back to neutral, so to table pose. You'll walk both of your knees to the left side of your blankets So you'll just walk, walk, walk all the way and you'll sit side saddle with your right hip down on the blanket. So you're gonna make sure you're right on that blanket.
And then you can bring your bolster and your pillow towards the right hip. So it's in alignment with your spine. You're sitting right side saddle to it. And then your second blanket, for those of you that have some SI challenges. So let's say your sacro-iliac joint has been over stretched or you feel like you just have some back issues and you want to do a gentler variation.
Or if you've had a hip replacement, this is what I'd recommend. So you're gonna bring your legs out at a right angle. And actually stack this knee on top of that. Good, and bring your knees down just a little bit. Good.
So you're on the blanket and you're at a right angle. And then you'll take your blanket and you'll put between your knees, ankles and shins, yeah good. And stack them. So this gives a little space between the knees. And you want to just for you find the comfortable position.
Good, and then you'll turn to face the pillow and you'll lengthen as you take a deep inhalation coming forward and exhale come down and turn your head towards your knees. I can see her sinking into it. So you may be feeling that. If you've got a pillow at home how nice it is to sink and just let your chest be supported. Now if you have really long arms or you're feeling you're not up high enough, you can use your additional blanket but I would put it under the pillow so you get the softness still from the pillow.
Also, if you don't need this blanket underneath your top knee you can just slide it out and pull the knee back into the inner arch of your foot or to just rest it. This is a little deeper variation. So for some of you this may feel better. But again if you have a hip replacement or you want a gentler variation for your back, you'll keep the blanket in position. And then begin to soften your left shoulder, left rib cage down.
And allowing that left elbow to get heavy. Now if your eye pillow's handy you may even want to bring it just across your neck. It can feel quite nice and comforting to have some support there. And taking a few moments to just settle in and soften into the pull of gravity. Now the reason that we have the knee up high and we'll bring that down just a little bit and in alignment with the blanket, is not only are you gonna get the support of the blanket under the outside of the leg, but it's gonna stretch that outside of the hip on the side that you're turning towards.
So you want it just so so that you get the most benefit there. And then breathe and soften. Twists are very good for wringing out the body. And we all, just like a washcloth. To wring yourself out, it helps to cleanse, to clear toxins and to get the circulation flowing.
And so it's very, very beneficial. And it's a nice thing to do to also move the energy and get the energy flowing. We have different diaphragms that really benefit from twisting as well. And certainly the organs and the spine and the para-spinal muscles. So just feel that as you rest here.
Feel the gentle wringing out of your body. And you may even visualize just breathing down into the earth, anything you're ready to cleanse and clear and release. Feel the breath washing through you like a gentle breeze. And with each exhalation allowing yourself to sink down deeper and deeper into the earth. Just letting go into the pull of gravity.
Taking a few deep breaths and preparing to change sides. When you're ready you can slide your hands under your shoulders and just slowly press yourself up keeping your head relaxed. Oh, you might want to remove your eye pillow first. And then roll up one vertebra at a time. And from here you'll just turn to your left and you'll come all the way around.
And you'll scoot your hips back a little bit and you'll bring your knee up to that top right corner of your blanket and you'll bring your feet together. Now if you have any pain on this side, you might use that blanket. It's good to balance it and usually do the same that you did on both sides unless you have an injury or some reason you need to prop on that side. And then move your bolster and your blanket and your pillow rather over to your left hip. So it's in alignment with your left hip and therefore your spine.
And you can draw your right knee back so it's right in position. And it might come out at an angle and just watching that you're not bringing the top left knee up too high. It should be in alignment with your blanket. And then one hand to either side. And you'll take a deep inhalation.
You'll lengthen your heart forward as you come down, turning your head towards the direction your knees are facing and releasing into the softness of the pillow or your bolster. And just let your whole body begin to relax into the twist. So allowing the right shoulder, the right rib cage to release into the pull of gravity. And this naturally is gonna take you deeper into the twist. It's nice to feel the different sides.
You may notice as you first take the pose, notice how this side's feeling. You can always add another blanket underneath the pillow if you need to for more height. Especially if the shoulder feels tender, you can always bring the arm back or reposition. So one of the nice things about doing your practice at home is you can really modify, you can even leave a pose out if you're not enjoying it. And taking in time to check in with your body as you come into each pose.
See, does it need to be repositioned? Does it feel uncomfortable? And then let yourself start to sink into the meditation. Allowing your focus to be on the sensations in the body. Feeling how the earth is holding you and softening down into that embrace.
And feeling how the twist is wringing out any muscular tension, any stress. And breathing that down into the earth as if it were drawing it out of you like a sponge. The earth is an incredible place. Not only do we gather and garner energy from the earth and our food and when we bring our bodies to the earth, but also it's a great recycling center. We put our compost in the earth and it grows beautiful things.
So letting it compost for you this stresses of life, the challenges, anything that you may be experiencing that you're ready to release. Breathe it out of your body. And then just allow yourself to enjoy the pose, relaxing completely. And slowly now begin to deepen your breath. And when you're feeling ready you'll slide your hands under your shoulders.
You'll slowly roll up and come into a seated position. From here, you can move your bolster off to the side and you'll come on to all fours. Your hands underneath your shoulders for down dog. Now I'm gonna show first the gentlest variation. So for those of you that would like to do down dog you can come right into it.
Or if you're saying well I don't know if I can do that today. I have a shoulder injury or something going on. There's a couple of other choices. One is to take the bolster and put it under your forearms. And rest your forearms on the bolster.
And take one leg back and turn the toes under and give a good stretch here. So this can also be good for shoulder strengthening. For the shoulder muscles, it's really nice. You can even bring your hands into prayer position here. And feel the hands coming together in prayer position.
So it puts a little extra energy. Like a mudra, like a hand mudra. And taking a few breaths, stretching out. Or for those of you that would like to do down dog, just go ahead and come into down dog. This is a nice variation if you would like a little different flavor in your practice.
And then coming down with the right knee and stretching the left leg straight behind you. Walking the foot in a little bit so you don't lose the position of the shoulders right over the elbows and the hip in alignment. And stretching all the way back through the achilles. I was told by a podiatrist, a foot doctor that one of the most important things for the health of our feet is to stretch the achilles. So it's a really good thing to do for your fascia in your foot.
For balance, helping you to stay balanced especially as we age, we really want to keep our feet and ankles flexible 'cause that does affect our balance. And then when you're done you can slowly come down with your left knee on the floor, good. And then we'll take the bolster out from under the shoulders. So you're gonna bring it around behind you. So you can turn around.
And let's open this up a little bit. So you can take your blanket that was folded in half and just open it up and create a nice support here. And we'll put our pillow back in place and you'll come to sit for a moment. So as you come to sit, you can put your eye pillow on your upper thighs so you know where it is. And then take one of your blankets and roll it up and put it right on top of your bolster.
This is going to become the support that goes right underneath your knees. And you'll bring it in so that you can take it right under your knees and position it, good. And then using your stomach muscles as you come back. You have your aromatherapy and your additional blanket nearby in case you need it. And as you come back, see if you can use your stomach muscles here.
So it's always good to work on strengthening our core. And that's a nice way to release down. And then you can again reposition your pillow. Make sure it feels just right. I even sometimes pull a little bit of it under just to make a little bit of a cervical roll for the neck if that feels good.
And then before we go into our deep relaxation, we're gonna do a little bit of knees to chest just to massage out the low back. So you're welcome to put your eye pillow over your eyes. And then draw your knees toward your chest. And as you hold the knees, if you have any knee pain or knee problems here, you can hold beneath the knees, the backs of the knees. Or you can hold the tops of the knees.
So see what feels the best to you. And then as you hold the knees, you can rock from side to side. And just massaging out your low back, your hips. And what I find is that the knees, moving them either closer towards the chest or further away from the chest, it massages different areas along your back. So you can explore here and see what feels the best to you.
Yeah, pulling it a little higher, you'll feel it more along the kidney area. A little further away, towards the sacrum and the lumbar region. You can also turn your head opposite to the movement of the knees. Don't worry if the eye pillow comes off. You can always reposition it.
But it can be nice for the neck also to release. And a lot of women that are going through menopause, they don't like blankets over them. I can tell you, going through menopause myself that I don't need an extra blanket in my savasana. So you can just check in. If you tend to get cool in final relaxation, it's a really good thing to do because you don't want your body to chill down in such a way that your body has to then work to stay warm.
So you definitely want to have it nearby. Another option is just over the pelvis which I'm gonna show in a moment. And then when you're ready you can stretch your legs up and over the bolster and blanket combination. And just taking a moment here to position the legs so they feel really comfortable. And you can give yourself a drop of aromatherapy.
Now some of the aromas that are good for exhaustion are any of the orange, grapefruit, the citrus family. Lemon is very good. Peppermint is good for exhaustion. But if you're trying to go to sleep, you may want something that's more relaxing like lavender. And Lang lang is very lovely too.
So taking a drop in your hand, rubbing the hands together. And if you don't have aromatherapy, you can still rub your hands together and do a little bit of palming. But if you have aromatherapy you can cup your hands over your nose and just breathe it in and smell the scents. Notice how it makes you feel. If you're doing palming, you can just bring your hands to any place that you'd wanna send energy too.
And you can charge the hands for that. So you can choose. It's really nice to breathe in that warmth from your hands, breathe in the scent of the earth, the gifts of the earth. And then you're welcome to either put the blanket over your whole body. Or you may enjoy it just over the pelvis.
And what we're finding is weighted blankets is actually real good for anxiety. So if part of the exhaustion for you is coming from anxiety and just being under so much stress, a little weight, extra weight in your practice especially in savasana can be very comforting. And then the hands can either rest out to your side which is the typical position where we're opening to receive. Or they can rest on body. If that's feeling better to you, you can place them on your body.
And then allowing your focus to move deeply within through the inner landscapes, the peaks and valleys of your inner body, the inner landscape within. And just noticing here what you sense and feel. What you notice from your practice. And as your muscles relax, as your bones sink down into the support of the earth holding you, feel the energy of the earth, incredible vital energy that feeds the trees and the grass and helps the flowers to bloom, feel that energy flowing up into the back of your body and drinking it in, fully receiving it. Feel this energy flowing into your kidneys and your adrenals bringing pure light and energy to the organs.
Feel it flowing into those areas that need healing or any place that feels tight or tired. Let it drink of this light, of this vital earth energy. Feel the energy flowing freely through the spine. Filling the chakras and nadis with pure light. Feel the light reaching out.
And feel the glow emanating from your skin as your whole body is filled with light. Bright, nourishing, replenishing energy flowing freely through you. And as this blanket of energy holds you, allow yourself to rest deeply. Relaxing even more completely into the light. Allow your breath now to gently deepen.
And feeling the vital energy flowing through you and surrounding you. And with each breath, feel yourself gently reawakening. So if you're preparing for bed, you can just hold the suggestion that you'll have a deep and healing sleep. And if you're getting ready to go out or have your day, you can allow yourself to awaken. Invite that energy to bring clarity and help you awaken.
And you can turn your head slowly from side to side. As you reawaken, you can wiggle your fingers and toes. It might be nice to remove your eye pillow. And then when you're ready you can draw your knees towards your chest. And making your way slowly onto your side.
It can be whatever side feels the best to you and just take a moment to give yourself a warm embrace. Feel the gifts of your practice as time of restoring. One of the things that a lot of people don't realize is how important it is to do savasana. Savasana is the final deep relaxation pose. It's incredibly good for nourishing the kidney chi.
So don't miss out on your savasana. But especially a long one like we did today. And then as you're ready you can slowly press your hands down in front of you, roll up. And you'll come to sit. So wherever you're most comfortable to sit.
You can sit on your bolster or a blanket. And sitting nice and tall, feeling the, feeling the heart lifted, the shoulders soft. The face relaxed. Bringing your hands into anjali mudra at the heart. Namaste.