Yoga for Anxiety Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 10

Ease Tension

45 min - Practice


Restore and release tension. Jillian guides us in a restorative practice with a bit of fluid movement to promote quiet and ease. You will feel a deep release in tension in your muscles and mind.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket (4), Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

Welcome to yoga for easing tension. Today we're going to use a restorative based practice so these poses are a little bit more still and quiet to allow us to slow down to learn how to pause and to release deeply held tension gripping in our muscles and in our mind. We'll weave together these restorative practices with a little bit of movement and breath-based awareness and we're going to begin by preparing our props. I have four yoga blankets with me today and you are welcome to have yoga blankets or if you have bolsters or towels or even a regular blanket from your bed that would be useful even a couch cushion might do. I've already prepared two of our blankets they're folded how we're going to be using them so I'm going to demonstrate how to fold them with my third blanket. To begin you can open up your blanket just to make sure it's even the corners line up fold it in half and then you can fold it in half again and shake it out aligning the corners nice and neat and even and then one more time and this is a long rectangle as you can see and again I've already folded two of them so this will be the third and what's important is really that it has the height that we're looking for so if you can find something that might be about the height of three blankets then you're in the playing field. As you stack them make sure that they are really even we're going to bring that into the middle of our mat. I like to make sure that the stack has what's called a little bit of a staggering so as you go up there sort of tiered you'll notice and that will help our poses have a little bit more gradual of a lift under our body. The fourth blanket could be a rolled up yoga mat it could be a pillow it could be a bolster. I like using a blanket because it really is going to fit our body pretty well the shape of it we're simply going to roll it like a yoga mat just taking it out and rolling it nice and tight the same way you would put your yoga mat away and we'll place that off the blanket we'll use that later you'll also want two blocks nearby for this practice. You might have practiced restorative yoga before what might be different today than what you're used to is our poses are not going to be so long they're going to be more in the range of between two and maybe six to eight minutes at the longest. There'll be movement involved in these practices as well in case your mind is really busy or you feel a little anxious or stressed the shorter held poses are going to allow you just what you need to start to down regulate. We'll begin sitting on the blankets so actually sit up on the blanket for constructive rest have your knees bent your feet on the floor and slowly come down into the center of your blankets. If you need a little pillow you can maybe or a little neck support you could pull up the bottom blanket right underneath your neck if you don't need it feel free to lay flat. Elbows on the ground hands on your pelvis we'll take a couple of moments with the knees against each other holding each other up so we'll begin in constructive rest by paying attention to where we meet support the ground our blankets bringing your attention to your feet on the floor use the next exhale to allow your weight to drain from your knee to your foot into the ground feel your seat dropping into the blankets feel your upper back spreading it's print on the blankets the back of your head we're going to do one more scan down the back body just allowing ourselves to truly land our weight on support this time starting with the head in your next exhale we turn your head to the earth imagine you can take a breath through the nostrils on your chest as you inhale and out through your back on your exhale letting your whole back spread again on your blankets and then a breath in through the navel up through the back of your navel down into the ground and then one more time letting all the weight drain from your knees to your feet to the earth feel your whole back body from your feet to your head landing completely on the earth we'll add a little movement here bringing your hands to your side body now stay grounded as you begin to sweep your arms with the breath so in your next inhale sweep up all the way over the head and as you exhale return your hands back to your hips on the ground at the pace of your breath as if your arms were illustrating the length of your breath up and over on your inhale and down by your side on your exhale just do three more on your own begin to pay particular attention to the pauses at the bottom of your exhale and at the top of your inhale the length of your breath two more one more time if my breath is longer or shorter than your breath please stay true to the pace of your personal breath and be sure that each breath might be slightly different in length try not to have an expectation about how long your breath should last we're learning how to get out of the way of the breath and allow it to be natural now let's bring our arms overhead again not a long inhale and this time release the knees stretch your right leg long and on the exhale bring your knee to your belly and your hands just along sides of your legs your waist inhale get long here exhale knee to belly hands by side and eyes can be open or closed whichever you prefer inhale arms up leg long last exhale go all the way to the end of the breath and take hold of your shin or actually you know what let's take hold of the back of the thigh instead interlace your fingers around the back of the thigh and instead of pulling your leg towards you push your thigh into your hands away from you do the opposite of what you might sort of be used to doing press it away from you soften your jaw your tongue and then if it feels okay draw it towards you a little bit wider than your rib cage and if that feels good and you want to hold the shin feel free to do that yogi's choice either around the thigh or the shin let's keep the foot flexed for a moment spreading your right toes wide and then slowly return your right leg to constructive rest position taking your arms back overhead your left leg long stretch everything away from each other exhale need a belly arms by side pull it all in empty and completely the pace of your breath notice the top of your inhale as you get long and the bottom of your exhale as you curl in two more get long on your in breath can even lions breath or exhale out your mouth as you draw the knee in let go of some extra stress one more time maybe a lion's breath I'm gonna do that and pause wrap your fingers interlace them around the back of your thigh press your thigh into your hands away from you spread through your left foot widen the ball of your foot and then drawing the thigh towards you towards the outer rib cage and if you wish feel free to interlace around the shins they're both interesting though it's not one is not better than the other they're just different so maybe try them both see what you like and then slowly return that foot to constructive rest and one more move here with both feet then both knees bent and feet on the ground place your hands right on your thighs close to your pelvis and the heel of the hands specifically and the palm and then imagine a radio dial a volume dial that goes from zero to ten and use a few long breaths to go from zero to ten in the pressure of your hands against your thighs so not all at once we're gently encouraging the thighs the little bit of pressure from our hands to create a little space in the pelvis for our breath and as you press into your thighs we're imagining the belly softening and the breath filling the whole pelvic bowl just two more breaths here pressing a little more on the exhale with the jaw soft one more breath to transition you'll slowly begin to bring both knees to the side maybe your right side like I'm gonna do roll onto your side body press yourself up very very mindfully if you need you could pause on your side a little bit longer before you press up take your time to press all the way back to all fours on either side of your blanket knees hip distance apart hands on either side of your blanket we'll take a moment here to slide the hips to the heels for child's pose allow the forehead to come to your blankets and crawl your hands long just a couple of breaths here your forehead can rest heavily on your blankets but actively walk your arms towards your end of your mat so you're gently stretching in this variation of child's pose for just three breaths letting your breath expand the skin on your back we're gonna use the breath to move between all fours and back to child at the pace of your breath so on your next inhale rise up and open your chest on your next exhale gather your belly slide back to child we'll just do three more with your breath inhale to rise up exhale gather your belly slide to your heels pause at the end of your breath ride the wave of your inhale up ride the wave of your exhale as it slides off the shore and back into the ocean how about one more inhale rise with your breath and exhale slide back and slowly come back to sit on your heels sitting all the way up take hold of your roll blanket you'll want it right by the side of your setup we'll use it underneath our leg in a moment so you just want it or nearby as you come to lay a little bit of your thighs like half of your thighs on your blanket your chest coming onto your forearms for Sphinx pose as you lengthen your legs back let's take a moment to look down and imagine you could exhale out your heart gently press from your palms to your elbows very softly like on a scale of one to tenet like a two feel like you're pulling your forearms back towards your toes take a breath to feel the collarbones be rippled by your breath from Sphinx take a moment to look over your left shoulder so we can transition into crocodile where we're going to bring our left leg out as if it was in sort of a half tree pose or half baddha knasana if you need to snuggle the blanket right underneath the groin and bring you can bring your forearm down I'm gonna place my head on my arm but you could place your head right on the blanket if you wish that might be better for you so try both and see what you like your left arm is not bearing any weight we'll be here for just a minute practicing letting the ground hold us up completely so let go of any support that you're adding any way that you're holding yourself up in your arms in your legs and especially in the belly what would it be like to not have any effort in your belly at all no effort in the shoulders or arms and as you take three more breaths on each exhale allow the ground to hold you a little bit more so you feel a lot of movement in your back from the breath to transition we're gonna gather the belly first and come back to our arms bring the leg back and slowly rise to all fours bringing the hands under the shoulders press to your knees you can take your blanket to the other side coming back down repeat sphinx again exhale out the heart gently press the forearms down and allow your heart to curl forward towards your fingers when you're ready turn to look over your right shoulder take the right leg out snuggle the blanket in and have it right underneath the groin if you can you can bring your left cheek right to your blanket or you can make a little pillow out of your forearm and just arrange your arms so they don't hold your body weight up anywhere so you're allowing the ground to hold you up in your props and for just a minute the practice is can you work less can you let go of any work in your legs effortless belly shoulders and arms at rest offer your head your chest your belly to the ground just allow the breath to move up into your back long exhale out the mouth before you move gather your belly prop yourself back up onto your forearms slowly bring your leg back to center and take a moment to come to all fours just sliding your blanket a little bit off to the side enjoy two cat cows or three cat cows to release your spine moving on your breath if you prefer any other movement maybe something less linear like pelvic circles or anything that might feel good as a transition you're always welcome to make a more personal transition slowly press back to child actively reach your arms long as you gather your belly your hips towards your heels so this child is a little bit more active reaching long from the heart to the fingers and back from the navel to the heels and imagine your breath sliding between every vertebrae hydrate your discs of your spine with your breath that's your watery breath saturate the spongy discs of your spine then gathering your belly roll up to sit on your heels we'll prepare to come onto our blankets again one more time on our belly this pose called surfboard placing the rolled blanket for the tops of our feet to go over just like a surfboard you'll have half of your thigh up on the blankets your whole pelvis your whole belly and my favorite way you can turn one cheek to the side and rest completely on the blanket for me I like to have a neutral cervical spine it's healthier for my neck and it's more comfortable personally so you can choose what I'm doing here folding the blanket down clearing space for my face stacking my hands like a pillow and resting my third eye point in the back of my hands but if you prefer don't fold the blanket and just turn your cheek to rest on its side and remember to do the other side as well for now let's all rest together you can wiggle your hips a little bit until they're ready to be more still arrange your arms where they're not bearing any weight and rest here while we practice releasing effort staying in the position that you're in unless you need to come out imagine your legs releasing all work so from your belly to the knees down the front of your thighs effortless from your outer hip to your outer knee soften from your back down your seat to the back of your knee let go from your groin down your inner leg to your inner knee no work is necessary can you allow your legs to be carried by the ground so we'll continue to stay in this position move at any time if you don't feel comfortable but I'm just gonna prop myself up to make it more clear with my voice as you continue to let go of all effort of your legs allow them to be carried by the ground allow your belly to rest on your blankets imagine you can breathe through the back of your belly and out through your navel onto the ground imagine you can take a breath through the back of your navel and exhale out on to the ground and then into the back of your heart and exhale out down through the heart onto the ground one more time just like that and through the back of your heart and exhale out through the front onto the ground and as you begin to let go of your shoulders and your arms your head rests more completely on your props on the ground maybe on your arms see if you can let go of any way that you're still holding yourself up and can you truly allow your weight to land on the ground so that your breath begins to move the skin on your back you'll feel the skin on your back floating on the waves of your breath skin on your back floating on the waves of your breath we'll rest here for just another minute offering all of our weight to support let the ground hold you so your breath can flow more fully through you so your whole back body is rippled by your breath and if you wish linger in this pose longer when you're ready to join us gather your belly slowly begin to center yourself for transition by placing your hands underneath your shoulders and taking a moment to press your hands down your knees down gathering your belly to slide back to all fours move mindfully and slowly as you bring your hands under your shoulders you can take that roll out from between your legs pause and child for just a moment letting your forehead rest towards your blankets walking your arms long we'll take one breath here to reach the arms and the seat away from each other and then gathering your belly slowly curl up to sit on your heels and pause for a moment in sitting resting your hands on your thighs take a breath to let the weight drain down from your head all the way into the ground and we will prepare to move into our twist to prepare for the twist have again the rolled blanket on the left side of your mat and come to sit side saddle to your blankets we're gonna fold just the top blanket towards you so it's one third towards you and one third away just a nice sort of square shape and then you can place the role between your inner thighs sit so that as you turn to face your props your navel sees the middle of your blanket and as you lengthen your way over your belly and your breastbone land on the blanket your collarbones and your head clear the blankets stack your forearms and place your third eye point on your forearms you can have your knees as close to you as you wish or as far away they can be stacked or staggered I think I'm gonna stagger mine just a little bit and we'll pause here for just a couple of minutes on each side now that we've released a lot of tension along the paraspinal muscles all along the spine we're going to give them a little bit of length on the left side so imagine your breath washing up the left side of your spine and washing down the left side of your spine and as you breathe up and down the left side of your spine imagine the area where your spine and ribs meet being massaged by your breath and imagine the whole left rib cage being moved by your breath try not to hold yourself up anywhere let the props hold you up and the breath move you you don't need to exaggerate the breath or put any effort on the breath you simply need to allow it to come and go on its own for these last few breaths imagine it washing the inner lining of your left ribs watch imagine the look the breath sort of flossing the left rib cage to prepare to move gather your belly press down into your arms bringing your hands under your shoulders and then use the ground to press up we'll slowly turn our back to the props to do the other side again sitting side saddle so that as you turn to face the blankets with your torso your navel sees just about the middle of your blankets lengthen all the way down stack your forearms third eye in the back of your arms let go of the way your shoulders might be holding you up sort of arrange it so there's no effort in the arms or shoulders you might want a different setup of the legs maybe on this side you want them closer to you or further away stacked or staggered they don't have to be the way you had them on the other side allow your breath to wash up and down the right side of your spine allow your breath to floss the area where your spine and ribs meet your breath massaging the inner lining of your rib cage caressing the inner lining of your rib cage last couple of breaths that go of any unnecessary work you may still be doing begin to gather your belly for the transition pressing down into your arms bringing your hands under your shoulders slowly press up and just pause for a moment side saddle so we can prepare for our last pose in shavasana we'll leave the roll at the bottom of our mat and take the two top blankets the top one comes all the way off the next one is going to come over our body and you'll simply place your rolled blanket on top of two blocks for leg support so that as you take your legs over your roll you can lay down just on one blanket while the other one stays on your thighs for grounding come down the center of your blanket you can make a little pillow out of the leftover blanket behind you lengthen your legs until you feel like your kneecaps can see the sky when they're resting over the roll this added blanket on your thighs folded creates a nice grounding effect inviting your thighs to rest deeply muscles release all effort you can place your hands on your belly palms face down if you prefer your arms by the side feel free to do that palms down is going to be a little bit more grounding and quieting if you need more expansion you're welcome to roll your palms up or bring them a little further away from your body I'm going to keep my hands on my belly and use my hands to feel the breath flowing under them and for just a few minutes here we're finishing in this neutral position with our chest gently expanded by one blanket inviting in creating a lot of space to invite in the breath allowing it to arrive and leave on its own so offering the heels to the floor on your next exhale just allowing the heels to be carried by the ground allowing the full length of your legs to be carried by the ground allowing your seat to be fully supported by the earth your upper back spreading across your props and offering the full weight of your head to the ground and we'll go down the body one last time feeling the whole back body supported by the earth offering your head as you exhale let your head be cradled by the earth your upper back received by your soft blankets your seat releasing its weight onto the supportive ground offer your legs to the earth and the print of your heels releasing deeper into the ground stay here as long as you wish when you're ready to come out of the pose you'll begin by taking your blanket off your thighs slowly bend your legs one at a time bringing the feet onto your roll rolling to your right pause on your right side body making a little pillow out of your arm and allow your weight just drain into your side when you're ready to move gather your belly first and place your left hand on the ground before you move consider that you want to move how you would like to feel so pressing into the ground mindfully transitioning with grace and ease and coming to the finishing seat maybe on your blanket just an easeful seat we'll place the right hand over the heart and the left hand across looping your thumbs spreading your hands across your chest close your eyes if you wish let all your weight drain down into your seat and spend a few moments feeling your breath move under your hands jaw dangles eyes fill the sockets so there's no squinting anywhere let your eyes be soft and free in the sockets and bringing the hands to Anjali mudra soften your head to your heart may you feel more at ease in your body on the ground with your breath thank you for practicing namaste


Margi Young
1 person likes this.
THANK YOU Jillian.  What a lovely practice. I am refreshed! xo Margi
1 person likes this.
Margi Young Thank YOU for practicing with me here! I'm happy to hear that this left you feeling refreshed... And.... I've enjoyed a few of your practice here as well so THANK YOU! with love & gratitude, Jillian
Joan J
1 person likes this.
Jillian, Yin is my favorite.  This is a lovely, gentle releasing practice, and using the supports makes it more wonderful.  I hope to find more Yin practices from you.  Grateful for your  teaching💮🌾🌸
Joan Thank you so much for your message and practicing with me. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it and felt supported. With joy, Jillian
Marlene K
1 person likes this.
I am so thankful for these practices right now ❤️ ...hope to see more
Dear Marlene, thank you for practicing. I am so happy they are serving you now. May you be well and at ease. With love - jillian 
Christel B
Needing to be gentle with myself right now these sessions are just perfect with your calming guidance.
1 person likes this.
Christel I am so glad to hear you found the practice perfect for you right now. And... thank you for being gentle with yourself  (it winds up serving others  - when we are gentle with ourselves). May you be well, jillian
Lorraine Marek
This is my go to practice when I feel stressed thanks
Lorraine So glad that this practice supports and calms you. May you be well! Love jillian

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