Yoga, Hormones, and Fertility Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Adrenal Health

30 min - Practice


Maria shares a gentle and nourishing practice to support our adrenal health. This practice is designed to calm and sooth the nervous system and to help regulate and balance hormones. We finish with an acupressure seated meditation.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Welcome. Thank you for joining me today. Today's practice is all about adrenal health. So our adrenals at first, when we start to get a little bit too stressed out in our life, our adrenals start to rev up and pump out more cortisol. And then over time, after following that pattern for a long time, long period of time, they usually start to actually pump out less and less. So you may have heard of adrenal fatigue. Whether you're in the pattern where you're pumping out a lot of cortisol or a little, it's still a good idea to slow down and respect that even in physical practice. Exercise is really healthy and important, but we really want to take more nourishing, gentle practices in both, in both of those cases. And with lifestyle nowadays, most of us need to respect and actually slow down in our yoga practices or whatever physical activities we're participating in. So to start off, we're going to come onto our knees into a child's pose. And whenever I say kidney area, I'm talking about the very bottom of your rib cage. You know, the bottom, like about this much space, that's where your kidneys are located, just so you have that reference point. So we'll come on to our knees and child's pose. And we'll just point the toes back, separate the knees, sit your hips back towards your heels, and let's bring the forehead to the floor or a block if necessary. And you can either keep your arms reached forward or alongside your body, your choice. Just start to find your breathing in and out through the nose. And let the quality of the breath be nice and smooth, relaxed even. And start to reference that area in the bottom of your rib cage, the kidney space. Your adrenals are located on top of your kidneys. So just start to breathe into that area, the top of your low back, bottom of your rib cage.

And maybe even visualize that area, the kidneys, which are really the shape of the kidney bean. There's two of them on the left and right side. And just start to visualize a white light in that area. And just by focusing your mind and your intention on that area, you are doing good work. You're taking care of yourself. And then we're going to stretch our arms out in front of us. Hands are about shoulder distance apart, arms are straight. You'll press down into the root of the index finger. Start to lift the forearms up away from the floor, outer arms in, lift the hips up, curl your toes under, and we'll press back to downward facing dog, doing that with an exhalation.

And in down dog, you can start off with your knees bent. If it feels good to straighten them right away, you'll go ahead and straighten them. You can also start to pedal the feet, shifting from side to side. Most importantly, keep breathing in and out through the nose. Let it feel good. And then we'll take a few breaths just with both heels reaching down to the floor, pressing the hands to lengthen the sides of the waist. And then from downward facing dog, you can bend the knees if needed. We'll walk the hands back towards the feet. Just take a moment here in a forward fold, let the body hang, arms can just dangle, and just soften the knees a little. We're going to roll up to standing, tailbone tucks under, let the body round here. Really breathing space into that back body. And then we'll walk to the front of our mats. Feet together, hands to prayer position, focusing on the breath in and out through the nose, and we'll relax the arms down alongside the body with inhalation. We'll circle the arms up overhead, deep breath in. Exhale, hinge at the hips and fold, head and neck, relax. Inhale to lengthen, hands can come to the shins if you'd like, or fingertips to the floor.

Exhale and fold forward, head and neck, relax and dangle. And then inhale to come all the way back up to standing, reaching the arms up overhead, lengthen your side bodies, and exhale the arms down alongside the body. A couple more rounds like that, inhaling and reaching the arms up. Exhaling, hinging at the hips and folding forward. With your next inhale, lengthening the spine, hands come to shins or fingertips to the floor. Exhale and fold again. And inhale coming all the way up to the top, standing, reaching the arms up overhead, and exhale the arms down alongside the body. One last round like that, inhaling arms, reach up. Exhale, hinging at the hips and folding. Inhale coming to fingertips or hands to shins. Exhaling and folding again. And inhaling coming all the way up to the top, reaching the arms up, taking full breaths, really circulating the energy, and exhaling arms down. And we'll just step open to the side, and we'll keep the feet nice and parallel, toes pointing forward or possibly slightly turned in, but not too much. We'll take the hands to the hips, waist. With an inhalation, roll your shoulders down the back, lift the sternum up, tip the head back, then gaze down the tip of the nose, and exhale, hinge at the hips and fold forward. We'll set the hands down on the floor. If you need to, you can bend the knees here, or you can bring your hands on to blocks if you need to lift the floor a little bit. With inhalation, lengthen the spine, look up, and exhale, hinge at the hips and fold. You can walk the hands back so that your hands are between your feet, shoulder distance apart, and you'll squeeze the elbows in and pull the shoulders down the back and start to lengthen the head towards the floor, however it doesn't have to touch it or even come near the floor. Most importantly, keep the breath nice and deep. As we breathe deeply, that brings fresh blood and oxygen throughout the whole body, which energizes you, but it's a true energy. Forward folding has a very calming effect on the nervous system. Continue to breathe in and out through the nose, start to guide the breath into that kidney area, and the backs of your legs, which you may be feeling a little bit of a stretch in right now.

And on your next inhalation, look up and lengthen, exhale and pause. Maybe put a slight bend in your knees, take your hands to your hips, inhale, come all the way up, and exhale. We'll step to the front of our mat and just take a deep breath in here, and we'll step open to the right again, and we'll take the hands either knuckles together behind the back or hands in reverse prayer, and we're going to turn all the way to face our back of our mat. You may need to adjust your stance by picking up your back foot and moving it to your side, to your left side, and you're going to point the front foot straight forward, back foot's at an angle, either knuckles together or hands in prayer position. We'll inhale and lift the chest up for intense side stretch. Exhale, we'll hinge at the hips out over our front leg. Really important to keep the front body nice and long here. Maybe you go down a little deeper. As long as you go down, you don't drop your shoulders and concave the chest. We really want to find as much length through the front body as we can. Keep the back of the neck nice and long so you're not creating any tension in the neck or shoulders and breathe. And with your next inhalation, we'll come up, and then just spin on your heels to face the front of your mat. Heel toe your front foot to the side a little so you're not on a tightrope. Maybe even look at your feet. We want to heal to heal alignment or a bit wider. And then with inhalation, pull your shoulders back, lift your chest, and with exhalation, we'll fold out over the left leg. Keep the back of the neck nice and long, chest open and expanded. Nice deep breathing. One more deep breath in. Exhale completely. And then inhale. Come all the way up. And exhale. Parallel your feet. Just stretch your arms out to the side. Roll your wrist a little in both directions, and then we'll step to the front of our mat. Take a few deep breaths here again, and then release the arms down alongside the body.

Inhale. We'll circle the arms up overhead. Exhale. Hinge at the hips and fold forward. Inhale to lengthen. Exhale. Bend the knees. Set the hands flat. Step back to the top of a pushup. Bring your knees down to the floor. Point your toes. And then slowly lower down, keeping your elbows close to your side bodies over your wrists. Just a little cobra here.

Roll your shoulders down your back. Press the tops of the feet down. And inhale. Lengthen the front body. Lift the chest. And then exhale. Lower down. Press the hands. Lift the hips up and back. Curl your toes under and lift the hips up to Downward Facing Dog. From Downward Facing Dog, we'll take a step forward to Seated Position. And then we'll come to Seated. Straighten the legs out in front of you.

And the toes are pointed to the ceiling. And the hands can be right next to the hips. Roll your shoulders down your back. Lift your chest up. But then just slightly tuck the front ribs in so they're not protruding out. Take a few breaths here. Just breathing into that kidney area again. And breathing into the top of the chest.

And then with an inhalation, we're going to reach the arms up overhead, creating lots of length in the side bodies, lifting your low back up. And with exhalation, hinge at the hips as you fold forward and just take the hands anywhere, either alongside the shins, on the shins, or if you can reach for your big toes, then you'll hook your index finger and middle finger around your big toes. With inhale, roll the shoulders down the back. Reach the chest forward. You may choose to stay here, or you exhale and start to fold forward. And keep the back of the neck nice and long. And breathe.

These are cooling poses. And there's no need to over-engage your legs or your quads. Let's see if you can relax them. Keep the breath fluid, the shoulders relaxed, the jaw, the cheeks relaxed. Just starting to understand where you hold your tension. With inhalation, we'll straighten the arms. Exhale and release.

And we're going to take an upright table, or you can keep the legs straight for this, for purvottanasana. Fingertips will be pointed forward, and the hands are about a foot away from your hips. If you're taking upward table, you'll bend your knees and set your feet flat on the floor. And with inhalation, you'll come up, lifting the hips up. Head can look forward to the ceiling or back. If you're taking full purvottanasana, then you'll point the toes, legs straight, and you'll inhale. Lift the hips, lift the chest.

Same options with the head, to the ceiling or dropped back, depending on your neck. Take the breath into the top of the chest in all variations. And then exhale, lower the hips down. A little bit of energy from that pose. And then we'll release. So Janu Sureshasana A. We'll take the left leg back, and the left foot can go up against the right thigh.

And the knee, you can always support your knee with a block if it's up here. We don't want any pressure in the knee. And otherwise, if you have a little bit more range of motion in your hips, you can take the knee open a little more, and you can even start to point the left toes. Any variation, you shouldn't feel any pressure in your knees. So if necessary, please support them.

And then we'll reach forward to the right shin, or just keep the hands on either side of the right shin. And we'll pull the right hip back, left hip slightly forward. With inhalation, roll the shoulders back, lift the chest up. And with exhalation, we'll fold out over your right leg. And again, keep the back of the neck long.

Relax your shoulders down so that you're not creating tension in the neck area, shoulder area. And just breathe into that low back, kidney space. And with your inhalation, we'll stretch out the back of the chest. And with your inhalation, we'll straighten the arms, lengthen the front body, and exhale, release, walking the hands back, straightening the left leg, and we'll fold the right leg back. Same thing.

So either foot to the left thigh and supporting the right knee, or taking the knee out a little wider, and you can start to even point the right toes. Squaring off towards your left knee, pull the left hip back, right hip forward. Inhale, lift your chest, and exhale, fold out over that left leg, walking the hands forward as you go deeper into your posture. And there shouldn't be any pressure in the right knee. Just guiding the breath into any areas of tightness or tension.

Releasing that tension, letting it go with the exhalation. Back of the neck relaxes, jaw cheeks relax, shoulders relax. And then inhale, straighten the arms, lift the chest, exhale and release. Carefully straighten your right leg, shake out the knees, and then we'll take a Baddha Konasana. So we'll just draw the soles of the feet together, bending the knees out to the side.

And same thing here. You can either put blocks underneath your knees, or you can elevate your hips by sitting up on a blanket or a pillow. The outer edges of the feet are going to come together, and if your knees are higher up, then the toes will be together as well. But if the knees start to drop down to the side, then the soles of the feet will start to open up like a book. And you can bring the hips forward if it feels appropriate for you.

Take a hold of your feet, roll your shoulders down the back, lift your chest up. So for many of us, this will be where we'll stay. Just staying here, lifting the low back, and starting to let the inner groin soften, the hips relax. Some of you will start to fold forward with an exhalation, leaving with the chest, keeping the back of the neck long, jaw and cheeks relaxed. And breathing long, deep, cooling breaths.

Keep the back of the neck long. Continually remind yourself to let go of those places that you hold your tension, your stress. Scan your entire body. And we'll inhale and come up. And exhale, release.

So we're going to take a seated meditation in Sukhasana, and just a comfortable seated position. It doesn't have to be, you know, too formal, very comfortable. And while we're taking this meditation, we're going to focus on an acupressure point, kidney three. In clinical practice, I see a lot of correlation between kidney young deficiency and adrenal fatigue. They present very similarly.

So this is one of the points that I'll focus on often for a lot of clients. So to I'll show you this point, you can find it on yourself. It's basically located between the medial malleolus and the Achilles tendon, and that small depression. And so when you're finding that point, if you just kind of run your finger up from basically your heel, and you see where your finger kind of falls, there's like a little rut there. It may be tender, especially if you need that point.

It may be tender, or there may be a dull, achy sensation, or it may feel empty, all those qualities it can have. But you should find a little depression, and just make gentle contact with that point, and then see how subtle you can be in contact with it. So rather than pressing really hard, when we're dealing with acupressure, or we're basically accessing our chi. So find your chi rather than your muscles to access those points. And then get into a comfortable seated position.

Bolster yourself up if necessary, lightly touching that point, relax your shoulders, your neck, your jaw, your cheeks, your face. And then just become aware of your breathing in and out through the nose, letting the chest and the ribs expand in all directions, letting the hands relax, the shoulders relax. And as your hand, your index finger, lightly touches that point, see if you can just start to feel like a slight tingling sensation in that point of contact. Rather than pushing too hard, and then focus on your third eye, that space between your eyebrows. If you're more of a visual person, maybe you see a white light.

If you're more of a visual person, maybe you see a white light. If you're more of a visual person, maybe you see a white light. If you're more auditory, you may even hear a piercing sound located at the apex of your ears. If you're more kinesthetic, you may feel a tingling sensation. And then connect that sensation, that visual light, or that sound to that point in your finger. And then from that fingertip to kidney three, you may feel a pulsing.

And check in with the rest of your body again. Let everything relax, your face, your cheeks, your jaw, hips, shoulders. Relax a bit more, letting go of another layer of tension. Make sure the breath is nice and relaxed, the belly. It's more like the lungs are receiving the breath.

And if this is feeling really good, you're welcome to stay here as long as you'd like. And when you're ready to come out, we're going to take the hands together at the heart and then rub the hands back and forth to create a little bit of heat through the palms. And then wash the face with the hands. And we'll bring the hands back to the heart, gently bow the head. And thank you very much for joining me in today's practice. Namaste.


Anne-Laure Y
This was a great session! I have been looking for sessions to help with hormonal imbalance for quite some time, thank you so much for bringing this in  :)
Kathy M
2 people like this.
Amazing class!

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