Yoga for Our Nature Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 8

Kapha: Boost Your Energy

15 min - Practice
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Melina shares a short sequence to balance the Kapha dosha. This is a great practice to awaken your spirit, energy, and mood for when you're feeling slow, heavy, or uninspired. We move from the ground up finding dynamic movements to generate heat and inspire your day.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block

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(rolling waves) Hello, welcome back. This'll be our kapa decreasing practice for those times where you might feel a little bit slow or heavy or uninspired. This practice will be good medicine to lift up your spirits and get some heat goin', get some energy flowing in a natural way. All you need for the practice today, prop-wise, is a block and a blanket. And we'll start with the blanket right away, rolled up, and this way we're, if you have a really thick blanket, you might roll it halfway, if you have one of these cotton blankets, you might roll it, maybe, all the way or three-quarters of the way, so that when you stretch your legs out onto the yoga mat, recline back and slide this underneath the line of the shoulder blades, so it gives you a little bit of lift underneath your chest.

And with the arms then out to your side, little boost under the chest, shoulder blades are touching the ground, let your eyes, if you feel comfortable, close or just keeping a soft gaze if your eyes are open. And take a few moments to feel the ground underneath you, which is a nice place to start the practice, even if you're feeling a little bit heavy or lethargic, just meet that energy with kindness and compassion. And then take some time while you're here to breathe into this new space across the chest. And feel the effect of that long inhale to make some new space. Pause at the end of your inhale before you exhale the air out through the nose.

And then, once again, inhaling, filling up the right lung and the left lung. Notice how great that feels to add that new space in the chest, and then exhale without tensing or gripping. Inhaling again, long breath, maybe the longest breath of the day, most conscious breath of the day, hold. And then a long, slow exhale. Let's try three more breaths with the intention to pause at the end of that long inhale.

Feel the effect of that long inhale before letting go into the exhale. Last time, filling up the chest. Hold for a moment, savor, pause. Gradually, slowly exhaling. Okay, with your legs bent for a moment, roll over to your side, so you can get the blanket out from underneath you.

With the blanket out from underneath you, grab your block and then, once you have your block, roll back down onto your spine. Take the block in between your inner thighs, that's small way here, so it's narrow. Arms out to the side with your hands facing the sky. Squeeze the block and, as you exhale, let your legs come maybe halfway over to the right, pause. Come up to the center, and then, as you exhale, legs go halfway to the left, pause so the knees won't touch the floor.

Come up to center, and then again, exhale. Go to your right. Inhale, come up to center. Exhale, head to the left, we're doing quick sharp movements. Come up to the center.

Again, exhale to your right. Inhale, up to center. Exhale to the left. Inhale up to the center. Okay, from here now take your hands to the top of your knees and as we inhale, when have you move your knees forward so that your feet touch the ground and then let your arms reach back to touch the floor.

As you exhale, bring your arms back to your knees. Lower back is stable as we move the knees forward, feet when maybe touch the ground, hands touch the floor. Exhale, hands to knees. Again, without over-arching your back, reach forward with your knees, back with your arms. Exhale, touch.

One more time, feet and knees move forward, and then come back to neutral. Kay, now we're gonna slide that block up this long way in between your feet so you actually squeeze the block with your feet, hands towards your shins, and the same practice. Be mindful in your lower back, that you feel stable. Go as far forward with your feet and the block as you feel stable, arms by ears, and come back up touching the shins. Go as far forward with your legs as you can without increasing or exaggerating the arch in your back, exhale, hands to shins.

Try two more times, dropping the legs forward, arms back. And then shins and hands together, one more time. Inhale back with your arms and then exhale, hands towards your shins. Okay, so we can move that block out of your way for now. Grab the back of your legs and come up to a seated position.

And we're gonna gather the hands in front of the chest and look down toward the fingertips, so the chin is tucked, and try to roll down slowly to the floor, the head's the last part to touch. And the head's the first part to lift as you roll forward, (laughs) coming all the way up, it might be a slow process, oftentimes I'll grab my pants the first round to come forward. Lower your chin, roll back to the floor, head's the last to land and the first to lift as you curl up. See if you can keep that downward-cast gaze at your fingers as you go back and forth, eventually maybe even more gracefully than I'm going back and forth. So try to find this smooth movement back and forth, the same movement pattern would be really helpful when you're doing your handstands, your headstands and you're kicking up and you're trying to engage all of these core muscles.

Okay, so I think you have the idea of that rhythm of going back and forth. And then we'll come around to all fours and for a moment, separating your hands under your shoulder lines and knees under your hips. From your all-fours position, curl your toes under, lift your hips up and back to downward dog and from your downward dog, we're just cruising through this pose to slide the feet back far enough so that when you shift your shoulders forward you come to a plank position. Hold our plank position and then go back one more time to your downward dog. Keep the hand position as you come forward again to plank, and we'll drop the right knee down underneath the right hip line.

Turn that left foot in on the long edge, and raise that left arm up toward the sky. So as we try to work with the balance here, we'll lift the left leg up slowly, slowly, up toward the height of the hip. And when you exhale, lower your left leg and your left arm down towards your ear. Again, as we inhale, lift your left arm up, stabilize, lift your leg up, stabilize, lower your left leg and your left arm down. Now try that one more time.

Start with the left arm up, then lift your left leg up, try to stabilize, how fun, then lower your left leg and your left arm. Let's pivot all the way back around to plank pose, hold neutral, and then lower the left knee under the left hip line, turn that right foot in on that edge, and start with that right arm straight up in the air. Press down through your left foot, then lift your right leg up, then lower your right leg and your left arm at the same time, sorry, right arm. Lifting the right arm and the right leg. Lower the right leg and your right arm towards your ear.

One more time, lift the right arm, lift the right leg, and then lowering the right arm and the right leg. Kay, turn around to your plank pose, one more moment in neutral. Hold yourself away from the floor, then walk your feet in toward the back of your wrist, with bent knees, take a moment, forward fold. Shake your head "yes," "no," release any tension here and then roll yourself all the way up towards standing position. And then from standing position we'll turn around and face the front, long edge of your mat.

Kay, the feet facing straight ahead in our tadasana. With your feet grounded in the floor, let your arms circle up and catch ahold of your left wrist. Exhale as you lean over to your right side and maybe looking down towards your right ankle. Come up to the center, catch your right wrist and then exhale over to your left side and look down towards your left ankle. Inhale, come up to the center.

Catch your left wrist and exhale to your right side. Inhale, up to the center. Catch your right wrist, one more time, lean over to your left side. Inhale, come all the way up to the center. Let your arms come down to the side of your body.

From here, we'll let the legs heel-toe a little bit wider now and come down into that horse pose, straddle position with your hands on your thighs. With your hands on your thighs, take your right hand over the front of your belly and, if you're menstruating, skip this part, just stay with the legwork and keep sinking toward the earth. Otherwise, let your belly relax out into your palm, kapalabhati, quick, sharp exhales through the nose. (panting) So we inhale, straighten your legs, straighten your arms, breathe up. Exhale, hands come down toward the chest, exhale all the air out.

So you set the hands under the shoulders, feet are wider than shoulder-distance, comfortable stance, so with a wide version of the feet, walk your hands over to your right side, maybe catch ahold of your right ankle, you might even bend your right knee if that's necessary, but keep your left leg straight. Little bit of a twist to bring the forehead toward the right knee. Take a deep breath into that left side of the back or right side of your hamstring where you're probably feeling the stretch. And then walk the hands over and around towards your left ankle or heel. If you need to, bed your left knee, but keep your right leg straight.

As we bring the forehead towards your left knee or shin, drop the right elbow a little bit toward the ground. That might've been happening on the first side, but I wanted to call that out. Right elbow in this case is dropping toward the floor, forehead towards shin. Come around to the center position with your hands centered, the hands underneath the shoulder line and lift your heels up on the in-breath, like you're gonna do handstand in the arms. Bring the heels to the floor.

Two more times, heels up, and then bring your heels down. One last time, bring your heels up and then bring the heels down. Heel-toe your legs and feet a little bit closer together. Reach for your thighs, bend your knees, and come up to standing, and a good way for you, now that we had a little inversion, heel-toe your legs and feet toward each other, and we're gonna actually end our practice in a little tadasana now that we've built a little bit of heat and momentum, we want to use this to go out into the rest of your day. So, perhaps standing with your hands over your navel-region, relax your shoulders and arms, slight bend in your knees, always, so that blood can return from the feet back up toward the head.

And with your knees soft, feet heavy and rooted, let's take a moment to tune into that stable quality underneath your feet. Strengthen your legs. Relaxed nature in the belly and the lower back. Feel nice and wide along the lower ribcage and the lower chest from the practice. Deep inhalations, stretching open your side body.

Noticing your posture, front of the arms slightly rolled back. Lengthen through the neck to the occipital ridge, base of the spine. Take a moment softening the expression on the face, the eyes slightly downward-cast looking towards your lungs while the crown of the head is lifted to that big, spacious, bright sky above your head. Continue to feel, now we invite some of that bright, spacious quality of the sky down into the heart mind. And then we continue to have hope for those qualities to be within your heart mind for the rest of the day now.

Hands in front of the heart center. And namaste, thank you so much for practicing.

Comments

Ooh! That certainly generated some heat! I felt a bit nauseous at one point - with the blanket underneath my shoulders - but that passed.
great practice for this morning!! short and energizing!!!!
perfect, exactly what i had in mind!
Deborah, sorry to hear your heat went up and you felt nauseous! Hopefully it was a one time thing!
I'm fighting off a cold at the moment, Melina, so that might have contributed. I thought the heat thing was probably good, though, as heat = energy, right?
I recently started having sharp pain in back of my heel when I try downward dog or forward fold. I can no longer flex my foot without sharp pain in heel. Can you recommend any restorative moves to help my achilles tendon and calf muscle relax?
Hi Meredith ~ In cases where you have pain, I"d first recommend that you ask one of your yoga teachers or physical therapists for their opinion so they can see you in action and see. As per restorative poses I'm wondering if legs up the wall or resting your legs on a bolster feels good? Or try lying on your back with one leg up, this is my favorite EASY way to stretch the calf area (Supta Padangusthasana - if you're familiar with that pose). That's what I can say from afar. I hope that helps.
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I appreciate your calm presence and very much enjoy the practice you share. Thank you!
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fabulous! just the boost i needed. look forward to doing this again when i am short on time. thank you!!
Such a good booster. Love your beautiful words here Melina Meza.
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