Yoga for Our Nature Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 9

Elemental Bath

45 min - Practice


Offer more of yourself to yourself.. Melina leads a Yin practice inspired by the 5 elements to help us recharge and replenish from the busyness of our lives. Invite more “being” and less “doing” in various held poses to loosen the body, calm the mind, and find moments of awe and wonder in the gaps in between sensation and thoughts. You will feel nourished, focused, and clear.
What You'll Need: Mat, Round Bolster, Blanket, Strap, Block (2)

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Hello everyone, welcome back for another adventure. Today for our practice, I think you'll appreciate having a bolster, a blanket, and two blocks and one strap. And before we get into our nice meditative state, I want to encourage you to make your loop with your strap, a non-sliding loop. And as you thread your tail end through, try to have your strap as long as possible to begin with. Again, non-sliding loop.

Then we're going to set that aside until the end of the practice. And for our initial setup, I want to encourage you to have a blanket that will set about the middle of your mat and pretty much will keep that in place for most of the practice. And slide our knees up to that place. I'm just showing from the side for a moment. We're going to take your block maybe in the medium position between your feet and then we'd sit on that block.

If that's not enough, please sit on two flat blocks. I'm just going to show from the side so you're aware of that option to be up higher. So I'll stay in that tall position with some of you. And then we're going to add that bolster on top of your legs. Okay, so we're going to actually do a little grounding here in our first seat.

So as maybe you've practiced with me before and you've seen this where the bolster helps to ground your thighs, we're going to let the hands rest on top of the bolster here. And maybe this helps to soften and relax your shoulders. Okay, do any last little wiggling that you need to do to get comfortable. And then take your time looking straight out to your horizon and try to channel the energy of maybe the last mountain that you've seen. So that you are here and grounded like that mountain you might be visualizing.

And with your eyes open or looking down or closed, see if you can now tune into the space around you. Just a quality of light that might be coming in through windows or doorways. May we welcome that light into our body as we start now to focus a little bit more on the air elements. And using that to potentially start to calm down the mind, to slow down. And if we can have a specific practice right now of shifting towards the lungs and bringing your fuller attention towards your lungs as you're breathing in and imagine you're expanding your lungs in the north and south direction.

Sometimes it's helpful to have a specific task in mind when we first start our practice. And our first simple task is to try to expand your lungs top to bottom or maybe we orient better with north and south. So a way to keep the mind sharp and focused. Just a few more moments in this way of trying to orient your breath in the north and south direction. And then notice what it's like to try to breathe out towards the east and west in your lungs so you're expanding them and maybe you sense your ribs move a little bit closer out towards your arm bones as you expand your lungs in the east and west direction.

Notice in what ways that might alter the position of your chin, your tongue, perhaps even your throat. As you're trying to spread your ribs and your lungs a little bit wider in the east and west direction. If you get comfortable with that orientation now perhaps we'll take a few moments just to experience the lungs expanding in the full three-dimensional shape that includes north-south, east-west. Maybe now as the breath gets a little bit slower or maybe a little bit more rhythmic if we imagine ourselves sitting like a mountain we can tune into this maybe alpine lake somewhere down in the belly region. As we slow down the breath maybe we've slowed down the ripples across the water and might be able to see more clearly a reflection of ourselves in this moment with less thoughts perhaps like the clouds.

So maybe we end up reflecting more of that blue sky quality that open vast sky reflected in the alpine lake down in the belly. Continue for a few more moments just visualize your legs, the bones heavy grounding into the earth becoming this mountain seat. Watching how our body softens when we give it the right conditions like grounding just notice what begins to soften when we offer the qualities of grounding into the body focus for the mind. Last moment perhaps creating what your intention might be for this practice what companions do we bring with us into this elemental bath? The company of compassion, patience, generosity, joy, whatever else might inspire you again to come along on the journey today.

Just take a moment and name that. If you're ready now over the next moment or two we'll let the eyes open slowly if they've been closed and with that soft focus we eventually come into a more open eye position and we'll do a little switch now of your prop where you slide your bolster down to the floor and I'm going to turn the blocks now to one tall and one medium and then from here I'm going to tilt my bolster onto the blocks and that's going to be where my back goes in a moment. So I'm going to turn now so my knees are at the front of the blanket we're going to try to sit down in front of your bolster and if that doesn't work for you you might be sitting with your feet closer together or an extra prop underneath your sit bones. I encourage you to bring your left foot forward arms up to the side fingers to the side as you ease your way back onto your bolster. So eventually you find this place where the right thigh quadricep is getting a nice stretch the left leg is bent and we're trying to settle the buttocks towards the floor.

Now if you end up in a place where you feel safe and steady here I want to encourage you to see if you might bring your arms back by your ears and catch that opposite elbow and let your body sink back even more if possible into your bolster. If this doesn't work for you with bent leg you're always welcome to go to straight legs. You know when we recline back maybe we can imagine ourselves here like that sleeping lady or sleeping person that you might have noticed out in your mountain adventures that you see that sleeping person off in the distance that profile. Let's see if we can become again that sleeping person or you notice that in different shapes from our profile being illuminated by perhaps some light from the sky above. And then maybe we bring our awareness now back down towards that naval area and maybe we can envision a new alpine lake in the center of our belly area here and if we notice our breath is like the wind and the slow or perhaps non-existence that we end up seeing again better reflection of our environment or in this case perhaps ourself in this moment.

So what are the conditions like as we slow down become still we might need a little more time to orient with the breath so we might still like that cueing of expanding your lungs north to south you feeling the essence of your breath maybe being pulled all the way down towards your right knee and that downward breath flows back up towards the north direction on the exhale. At some point we want to take a little time and focus on the breath expanding out to the east and west I notice when I try breathing in that way it's almost like there's a little smile in the mouth the way the tongue relaxes the way the lips change and perhaps you notice a similar type experience in the face a deeper smile within that goes all the way down to the diaphragm by shifting our awareness to the breath in this way at some point we might notice that there's those moments of stillness can see clearly all the way down into the center of our body in this moment where you tap in a little bit more to yourself in this stillness meeting the truth of this moment with any of those companions you're bringing along whether it's patience or compassion generosity joy sit with that for maybe three more cycles of your breath without any hurry or rushing let's eventually sweep your arms down to your side press your fingertips into the ground as you tip yourself forward right now I usually now leaned forward put my hands on the ground in front of me and then slide the left leg back and then the right leg back so I and tabletop with my knees on the blankets nice to release the knees for a moment you might stay here and tabletop or with your toes curled under come into a downward dog in between to add a little bit more young energy and stretch open the back of the knees if you want to wiggle them out a little bit wiggle them out and then from that downward dog more young like pose let's bring the knees back down to the blanket and this time as you sit down maybe you need to be more careful with this knee we're going to bring your right foot forward and then sit down in front of your bolster got your hands out to the side to prepare you to tip back slowly or hold your bolsters make sure it's in place so that you can ease on back when you come back can we try to soften those back ribs towards the bolster arms might be out to your side or maybe it feels okay to sweep your arms here like we did the other side and hold on to the opposite elbow enjoying a little bit more of that chest opening shoulder opening okay when you feel you're in safe space in good space see if we can let the eyes can turn inward find a focal point that allows you to stay interested in what's happening now on the inside of your body and that awe and wonder as we take the breath in and it's kind of sensing where that goes and what changes in your body as you're breathing in we feel that fullness from top to bottom or north to south in your lungs or maybe even in your whole torso or down to your left knee as you exhale feeling that essence of the breath moving up to the north towards the crown of the head a little more on wonder of what's happening in that left knee left quadricep area of all those muscles stretching or softening here let's take a few moments to perhaps let that breath expand out to the east and west direction so the body is widening as much as it is elongating what little micro shifts might you need to make through your ribs the kidney area any of the organs so that you feel a little bit more into the east and west sides of your body I hope that sense of direction helps gives the bind a little bit more focus so we evoke some of that fire element with focal points throughout the practice just the right amount of air or wind to stay interested and curious and then we might find those moments of awe and wonder as we find those gaps between the thoughts or sensations where we're grounding our intention and attention in this very moment and maybe we're reminded of what companions we wanted to bring on this journey with us today could it be patience compassion kindness or maybe generosity to offer more of yourself to yourself here what's it like to be in this incredible body right now and then filling it a few more cycles with the essence of the breath those full inhales and that sense of full exhale without any strain or force just comfortable steady exhale maybe last full cycle of your breath here on our second side and then without any hurry if the eyes are closed they softly open and release your arms out to your sides the arms wet back we're going to press into the floor as we lean forward and start to again as we did before move your hands forward lean forward so you can end up in tabletop for a moment with your knees on that blanket hands on the floor so you might stay here it's just a transition for the knees you might curl your toes under and lift up into your down dog or maybe it looks like your inverted mountain pose for a moment with straight strong legs back the knees open and then we'll shift and put your knees again back on the floor okay now slide that bolster forwards in front of your blanket for a moment and we can set for most of us maybe your blocks of the side let's turn your bolster in that long position knees about as wide as your yoga mat and we're going to slide that bolster in between the thighs okay turn it to maybe the taller position if you have a rectangular like bolster we're going to press this part close to the navel down so you've got a little more room to lean forward and let your arms settle down to the sides of the bolster let's turn your head so that your maybe right cheek or ear is on the bolster if you need a little bit more lift of that bolster you put a block underneath your bolster so it's a different kind of shape um and might help you from leaning forward as so much if you want to lean forward less that's too much in your knees of course you move the whole package forward and you can fall forward onto your bolster this way okay so take a moment again after you've made all the little adjustments so that you feel safe here right cheek or maybe ear on the bolster okay might we in this way allow now a little bit more of our back body to open and soften towards the sky above okay feel your grounding here as we face the floor with our torso you feel new contact with hands maybe with your legs to the stable earth beneath you and as our belly is pressing against the bolster on the in-breath can we find some new spaces in our back body and what's it like if we're here to maybe start observing again that direction of north to south from the top of the spine down to the tailbone we try to imagine your breath moving in that full direction down to the south the tailbone and up towards the base of the neck cervical neck spine on the exhale to the north take about six more breaths in that way of trying to lengthen from the north to the south as you're breathing in and out there's simply a sense of ease of breathing in and we're bringing our imagination of course to the practice to envision the essence of that breath going all the way down to the tip of the spine bringing your imagination into the practice as you visualize the breath traveling all the way back up towards the base of the neck meeting the cervical neck spine okay now lift your head up if it's on one turn to one side and let's turn your head so your left cheek now ends up on the bolster and when your head is turned out to this new way see if we can now focus on expanding your back body and open the diaphragm back ribs in the east and west department as you take in those fuller breaths okay we just simply sense how your breath is expanding in those general directions lungs filling back body widening imagine if that sun was shining up above you when you had a perfect amount of sunscreen on or layers to stay protected and just that delight and allowing some light and warmth to come into your skin into your muscles really recharge your batteries here imagining sun soaking into your back let's enjoy three more cycles of your breath as you are here perhaps now over this next breath we'll lift the head up off the bolster slide your hands in so you can lift yourself up and we're going to turn the bolster the other direction now so it's parallel to the short end of your mat i'm going to slide my bolster right in front of my blanket put the hands in front of the bolster and bring your knees parallel again can stay here or with your toes curled under do a little yang move and come into that downward dog you might want to play around with bending your legs one at a time or keeping straight legs just an opportunity to open up the back of the knees and then we'll come back down whenever you're ready and we're going to have maybe the front ribs on the bolster as we come toward our sphinx pose you'll let the ribs fall onto the bolster here and then let's bring your hands together elbows about as wide as your shoulders as you find that little lift for your front ribs to have a nice soft backbend and now imagining that the earth the ground is nice and warm maybe you found this sort of big rock to rest on for a few moments and we're letting our legs kind of settle into this big giant warm rock feeling that heat come up to the belly the warmth the warmth allowing for a little more softening then from the legs belly up towards the heart and then maybe if we were on this big slab or big rock maybe we can imagine that there's a lake again out slightly in front of us and if we can imagine the conditions are just right there's very little wind a lot of wonder and awe as we notice the reflection on our still lake could be in front of us or if your eyes are closed imagine that somewhere within yourself this place of stillness and we know this state comes and goes so we might need to refresh our practice from time to time with that specific focal point for the mind and today maybe we focus on expanding the breath in the north and south direction perhaps now imagine your next inhale breath moving in and down towards your tailbone or towards your feet and that southern direction as you exhale imagining the breath moving up towards the crown of the head towards the north direction and still welcoming that idea of that warmth from the ground maybe this big rock slab coming up into your belly and your legs and feeling as we're breathing in for a moment or two that sense of the ribs and diaphragm spreading out to the east and west as we breathe in as we breathe in expanding more of our back body towards the sky the conditions feel right again we just settle into more of the clarity and stillness that we might be meeting today remembering what companions we're bringing along on the journey its patience compassion generosity joy whatever else comes to mind and maybe sit with this quality for maybe another three to four breaths ready to make maybe a transition the spine lifts just a little bit up away from that bolster so we can pull the hands back to the yoga mat press down as we move our hips back so we end up in our tabletop and we're back to knees on the blanket hands on the floor let's curl your toes under and maybe again one more time lift your knees up to just bring a little yang energy to stay refreshed and awake in our practice after you feel complete with that stretch let's bring the knees down to the floor and take a moment to rearrange our props as we'll slide our bolster off to the side fold your blanket that will become your pillow for your head and we'll slide that towards the end of your mat come down onto your back let's put the bolster on your right side turn that long way as you work your way down onto your back blanket underneath your head and as we bring this bolster in towards the right side of your hip and your leg we're going to put the right leg down on the floor straight bring this left knee in towards your chest and just meet the ground here for a moment in this way can we drop the shoulders back towards the floor now maybe we're doing a little bit of that sun bathing here and imagine the sun or lights meeting the front of your body back body welcoming the warmth of the ground or maybe if we imagine we're still in that big slab that we feel that warmth from that big rock slab under our back when you're ready now after our backbends let's go ahead and do a little bit of a twist so we might guide this left leg over to the bolster you can always bring a block underneath your knee if you need more more lift more lift or no block and let's use that right hand to hold that left knee on the bolster so left foot left knee are on the bolster the left arm might stay down at your side parallel to the long edge of your mat or you slide your left arm up towards the direction of your ear so you're trying to find some angle that feels wonderful for that left chest shoulder maybe even your side body and try to find this place here where you feel grounded supported and as you start to again trust the support just notice again what softens naturally you drop into deeper parts of your body okay when we trust the support underneath us coming back into maybe that practice that we've been doing where we're trying to expand the the lungs in this way north and south so can you feel your left lung left side of the body elongating in that way top to bottom and finding that centered place maybe some stillness as we finish breathing out or before we breathe in maybe it's easier for us to orient to the east and west direction and what changes do we need to make to expand the breath out to the east and the west the body recharging here imagining the sun the solar energy coming in through your skin and into your cells helping us recharge or replenish from the busyness of our lives and rather than doing settle into being for the next few breaths and let's find one more full breath where you are one more breath cycle and grateful for that new space we were able to make as we now let that left arm maybe slide down to your sides maybe simply roll onto your back when you're ready both feet on the ground just meet that neutral space and maybe with a full sigh and then exhale and at some point transfer the bolster over to your left side and we'll take that right knee tip it in towards your chest and then take that right left leg down to the floor as you hug your right knee towards your chest and when you do see if you can again feel your shoulders drop back so with any tension in your lower back ribs you might be able to drop towards the earth let's add a little energy down to that left leg let's go ahead and when you're ready turn and twist towards your left side so that right knee might end up on the bolster the right foot on the bolster again this side if it needs more support wedge a block between your knee and your bolster okay the left hand helps to hold the right knee on the bolster right arm at your sides and some of you might start sweeping that right arm up towards the direction of your ear and at some point you find a little wonder and awe causes you to pause and feel a little bit more deeply into some part of your body now that we might start opening maybe first in that direction of north and south and place yourself here on the map now in this way and expand north to south okay perhaps you appreciate more of that experience of breathing out towards the east and the west and finding that nice big long line from maybe your right knee in this case out to your right fingertips we spread out in that way and bring more mindfulness to those regions of your body and at some point we might notice we don't need to focus in that way and we're really settling into sense of stillness presence often when we meet those moments of awe we're increasing our focus and presence and we meet these places of awe and wonder and can be out in nature we discover that awe and wonder or maybe within yourself we tune in more deeply to an area of the body that we haven't paid much attention to recently or today or just simply something starts to reveal itself as we settle and trust the support that we're leaning into today take just a few more moments laying that idea of light or sun or warmth come in through this right side of your chest right side of your body when you feel complete on this side perhaps start to sweep that right arm down to your sides and then tip onto your back and we'll have both feet on the floor for a moment as you move that bolster a little bit more out of the way so your feet on the ground legs not touching the bolster and we'll take just a pause and kind of marinate for a moment in the center palms facing the sky just taking this constructive rest pose all right now let's treat ourselves over the next moment to find your strap and we're going to use the strap now for pretty much our final pose here where we find again some of that fabric that we're going to put our feet into so you're going to take that big loop put your feet up into the loop away from your buckle stretch your legs up straight and perhaps we're the right length here where we bend the knees keep the buckle free to your side and lift your head up and put the strap under the base of your skull okay so kind of that occipital ridge area and then what we'll do is as you keep your head lifted off the floor it may be more towards straighter legs and it's a little bit of effort of pressing the legs away from your head so the strap stays in place and this gives this wonderful feeling of traction it's kind of nice at the end of a long adventure or a long day to have the legs up if you have a wall you like to put your legs up instead you're welcome to do that of course when the strap is staying in place drop your arms out to your sides you know when the legs are up and the eyes might start to turn in and down maybe we can come back now and imagine that we're looking towards the center of the belly the eyes relaxed or closed just visioning this lake or pond in the center of the belly area that might in the beginning have a little bit of ripples as we get ready to orient ourselves just if the mind is busy or slow calm and we might find those moments where there's stillness in this lake we're imagining the center of the belly easier to reflect what's around us or what's occurring inside so maybe soften into our water body and feeling a little bit more curious about those subtle changes that might be occurring in the legs into the low belly and welcoming this idea of warmth from the ground to soften our back light from above to warm us and recharge us recharge our solar batteries so maybe we notice from our practice that we end up having a little bit more energy and focus and clarity we can bring back into our days and actually do more of what we love let's take three more breaths where you are here right amount of effort to stay curious and awake let the knees tip in towards the chest you might grab that strap with your hands if you're using that tip the knees towards your chest put the head on the blanket and we'll carefully move that strap out from under your feet set your strap to the side there's the ground and then we're going to start to turn over maybe take a moment in your feet it'll shape on your sides the eyes closed and if you're comfortable maybe keep your eyes closed as you make your transition all the way up to a seated position as maybe you fold your legs in we can take that blanket and slide it underneath you so you got a little something to sit on if you have glasses set them perhaps down for a moment to your side so we can take the palms together and finish our little elemental bath here with a little treatment for the eyes as we do that palming we cup the eyes for just a moment block out the lights let them move a little side to side up and down and encourage all those little muscles in the face to stay relaxed now perhaps the senses stay inward a moment longer as we shift the hands in front of our heart center and may others continue to benefit from our dedication to our practice thanks so much for being here today namaste everyone be well


Jenny S
3 people like this.
So lovely Melina ❤️
Beau B
2 people like this.
Thank you for the yin adventure. Ahhh
Melina Meza
Thank you friends. Felt like we should end the Season 5 adventure with something chill.  Wishing you both a SAFE and HEALTHY summer.
Sandra Židan
Beautiful yin practice! Thanks, Melina!
Teri P
2 people like this.
Just what I needed :)  Thank you, Melina!
Paula H
1 person likes this.

After an early start and a busy day making Christmas cookies, this practice what such a gift. Thank you very much!
David G-
1 person likes this.

Loved this yin practice with its added solar spice and light. Definitely a great way to restore after lots of body moving. Was too tired to do Week 2 of the Green Challenge, but your meditative and mindful yin practice, was, well, really invigorating. What a gift for a tired body and distracted mind. 
Thanks for the new pranayama (East West and North and South). 

Da vid 

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