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Season 1 - Episode 6

Elevator Chair Practice

20 min - Practice


Jillian guides us in a chair practice designed for the days where you need a little extra support and stability. This practice can be done anywhere you find yourself taking a seat. You will feel grounded and supported.
What You'll Need: Chair

About This Video


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Welcome to today's chair practice. This is designed for the days that you don't feel so stable or maybe you're actually at the office and many of these movements can even be done on a bus or train or even a plane. Places that we tend to feel a little bit of anxiety even just because of travel and transition. So we'll do a full sequence but remember any one of these movements are portable and can be done anywhere you take a seat. We'll begin by actually allowing the seat to truly hold us up. So we'll use a little imagery with that, the elevator imagery. So if you come to BIEs with your feet making contact with the ground or perhaps you need blocks under your feet to feel stable, you can rest your hands on your thighs in an easeful position. Place them down for more grounding and if you can imagine the way a three-story building would have an elevator go down one flight at a time. We'll do that on three breaths in our body. Close your eyes if you wish. Imagine the elevator at the crown of your head. Imagine putting in the elevator any heaviness, any busyness, any weight and on your next exhale ride the elevator down to your shoulders. The doors open on the inhale, the whole floor is refreshed. In your next exhale ride the elevator down from shoulders to belly. Pause for an inhale and on the next exhale ride the elevator to the ground floor. Let your body land on the chair, feet on the ground. Keeping your body weight down, bring your palms together in Anjali and on your inhale allow your prayer to come to the sky and your exhale back to your heart. So we're just practicing keeping the weight on the chair as we add movement and attention to breath. Up on your inhale to heart on your exhale. One more time let your mind trace the length of your breath and your movement. Trace the length of your breath all the way down. Pause here inhaling. Exhale, interlace your fingers, press your palms forward, allow your belly to come to your back and round and on your inhale take your palms all the way up to the sky, get tall, let your heart look up. Releasing the fingers on your exhale, bring your arms by your side body and on the inhale back to prayer. Interlace on your exhale, press your palms forward as you round into your back. You can sort of pivot on your seat, inhale the arms to sky, get tall, press your feet down. Exhale, arms sweep wide all the way to prayer on your inhale. One more time on your exhale, interlace and round to the sky on your inhale, stretch up, feet pressed down, wide sweep down as you exhale, hands to prayer on your inhale. Exhale, take your arms out like a cactus shape or goal post. Pause here for an inhale and press back a little bit more and on your exhale press your forearms together, palms and elbows, a little rounding in the back as well. So it's sort of like cat cow in your spine as you open the arms out and as you exhale gather your belly, forearms press, gaze towards your thighs, just let your pelvis rock with your breath. Inhale, the chest opens all the way to the end of your exhale, pressing the forearms together, pausing at the end of your breath. One more time, let the breath come to you as you open. As the breath leaves on its own, gather your belly, press your forearms, pause as you inhale back out and exhale arms by your side. We'll pause for a moment bringing our hands to the back of the chair or the side of the chair depending on where you hold best. I'm gonna hold the side actually. A very gentle clasp. Feel your feet on the ground, feel your seat on your chair and as you press your seat down more your chest will begin to lift. So we're not pulling the chest up we're pressing the seat down to allow the chest to float up and instead of pulling your arms back think wide to the sides of the room. Get wider with your breath. Just two more breaths, imagine breathing in through the nostrils on your chest, the imaginary nostrils on your chest, the breath comes in and out.

One more breath here, maybe you want to lift the breastbone a little bit more on purpose for this last breath and relax on your exhale. Do a few shoulder rolls with the breath. On the inhale the shoulders roll forward and up and on the exhale back and down. Graceful and smooth forward and up, back and down. One more time in this direction as wide as a motion as you can do naturally. Then we'll do three in the other direction but add the movement of the arms as well so it's not just the shoulders but imagine the whole arm moving and down and down. One more inhale roll it up and down. Just one time shrug straight up on the inhale hold it up a little bit and big exhale out the mouth drop it all. Take one more breath again, one breath to let your elevator lower all the way to the ground floor. You feel your seat on the ground and your feet on the ground as we move to the neck area bringing your hands out like they were holding two platters. Let your shoulder blades relax down your back. Keep the weight in the seat so you don't add any tension to the neck as you let the right ear come to your right shoulder and without adding any pull you're simply going to take your right hand to the left temple not to pull just to place and imagine reaching your right elbow long and your left arm. Again without pulling the head reach your elbows wide apart and then rebend the left elbow press your head into your hand to come up and release. Pause for a breath let your weight drop again. We hold so much tension in our neck and shoulders all day long and then extra tension when we feel stressed which is for many of us all day long. So here we want to be very gentle we don't want to pull we don't want to bully our neck into the stretch the hand is just placed there to encourage length through the elbow as a shoulder blades release and then elongate your right arm. Just imagine reaching your elbows apart without pulling on the head elbows lengthen take a nice warm breath into your tender neck muscles and then coming up is actually part of the stretch as you resist a little bit with your hand press your head into your hand and that actually helps release the muscle once you get up bringing your hand slowly down and around. To take a little stretch bring your right hand to the side of your chair or slightly behind you lifting the chest as you bring your left hand outside your right knee stretch through your feet your footprints are still very important even though you have the seat under you so that as you press into the feet you naturally lift the chest and on the exhale gather the belly start to let your heart see the sidewall inhale let your rib cage expand exhale gather the belly into the twist and you can imagine sort of a red and white striped barber pole going up as you spiral around so the idea is get taller as you spiral and an inhale come through center pause for an exhale and take it to the other side left hand on the edge of your seat right hand outside your thigh press your hand and thigh together feel your feet on the ground to allow the chest to lift so we're not trying to pull ourselves up as much as use the ground for support to allow the chest to bloom up as you twist resist the urge to push yourself around instead let the breath lift you allow yourself to flow into the twist on the exhale so the shoulders are at ease they don't become rigid the neck is that ease jaw dangles one more breath and on an inhale unfurl exhale pause take two last movements to open the hips the first one you're going to bring the right ankle up onto the left thigh and be at ease the idea is just allow the knee to float freely you don't want to push the knee down rather get up onto your sitting bones all over again if that became compromised a little bit and just pause feel your hands on your thighs not your knee so that as you gently remind your thighs to find the chair your chest will lift you can spread through your toes for a little bit of extra energy jotties and slowly remove that leg take the other one up the ankle is on the thigh so not the foot so that you don't sort of compromise the integrity of your ankle joint clear the foot and again not pushing down the knee but rather the thighs find the chair find your chair with the thigh bone heads close to your pelvis keep pressing the head of your thighs the top of your thigh bone down into your chair your chest will widen and lift spreading your toes softening your jaw I can soften my jaw a thousand times so every time I say it for you it's really for me one more time and slowly use your hand to bring the leg off and take as wide as a position as you can bringing your legs out into sort of a goddess squat or just a wide leg squat but allow the center of your knee and your second toe to point in the same direction and eyeball on your knee and an eyeball on your toe have the same view feel your sitting bones on the chair just pause here just this position alone grounding your feet and firming your thighs can help you feel relate to the floor in your chair while you take in a little bit more breath through the whole torso you can stay just like this or if you wish come into the side lean with me bringing your left forearm to your thigh taking your right arm to sky and instead of going over go up stay grounded in your feet and your seat stretch up and then bring the arm to meet your cheek one more breath here come up on an inhale pressing your feet and seat down slowly bring your right forearm to your thigh bring your left arm to sky whatever brings the least amount of tension in your neck so you can look down you can look at the horizon you can look up ground down to stretch up bring your arm to ear literally touch your cheek and arm together so you have no tension in your neck pressing your feet down to come up on an inhale and exhale pause and our last move as we bring the legs back together keep them as wide as your hips is an easy forward fold two ways you can come just down to your forearms and pause here interlacing your thumbs and fingers maybe this it feels like a good place to pause and you can stay here if you wish you can have your feet a little closer together and bring your hands on either side of your feet and let your head fall between your knees and let's take three breaths to allow your spine to soften exhaling out the mouth let go of your holding yourself up with your hands one more breath really drape on this last breath if that feels good to you before you come up before you move gather your belly to your back push your feet into the ground that's essential to make it safe for the back bring one hand to the thigh and the other with the feet pressing down and the belly gathered push your hands into your thighs you roll up or maybe you want to come up with a flat back that's up to you but lots of firm belly exhale release your hands onto your thighs and we'll finish with three elevator breaths down so eyes closed if you wish aware of the crown of your head step into your elevator put all your weight in the elevator as your exhale brings it down from head to shoulders and your next exhale from shoulders to belly and I'm the last exhale allow your true weight to actually be on your chair your feet on the floor and pause notice how you feel when you allow your weight to be held up so you bringing bring your hands together and Anjali feel that again you can take your gaze out into the space around you and practice feeling supported as you're aware of the space around you so that you can take that with you as you step off the chair if you are and back out into your interaction in your day namaste


1 person likes this.
I teach this class to a senior group with mental health and is easy to follow, the verbal instructions are soothing and the idea of elevator brings the right image for grounding and breathing. Very soothing and efficient class. Thank you
Viviana  thank you so much for practicing and sharing the practice. I'm so glad you are able to take from it. With gratitude Jillian

Christine M
Wow! The most effective chair class I have ever taken, the visual cues made such a huge difference to my experience, you are a very talented teacher, thank-you
Christine I'm so happy to know that the Chair practice resonated with you and that you were able to deepen your experience. May you continue to enjoy your practice! With gratitude - jillian

Leah K
Thank you Jillian for this practice. Needed this today
1 person likes this.
Leah Thank you for practicing. So glad to know that this practiced served you on this day. And that we were together here. May you be well and live with ease.

Sandra Židan
Great practice! Thanks!
1 person likes this.
I think this teacher is genius. I love her work x
Amanda P Thank you for practicing with me here Amanda... So glad this works for you. May you Be well, Jillian
Karen W
Thank you Jillian - that's such a good grounding practice!
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