Yin Yoga and Mythology Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 6


30 min - Practice


Focus on what we gain as we age rather than what we lose. Kelly shares some simple tools to feel more confident and mobile as we age, and more grateful for our earned wisdom. We move easefully and playfully making space in the lungs and in our bodies, as Kelly tells us about Dhumavati, the Hindu goddess who honors wisdom, disappointment, and old age. You will feel spry, free, and fluid in your body.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster


Read Full Transcript

Welcome. You can take a seat if you like to sit on your shins as I am. You can sit like that or any other way that you want to sit. That allows you to focus on your breathing for a few moments. You might close your eyes or just let them be about halfway closed and a little bit fuzzy. Hands can rest anywhere you like and bringing your mind's eye into your lungs. To try to really picture your lungs. Your lungs are full of all these different lobes. Just teeming with life and energy. They're a little shorter in the front, a little longer in the back. So send some breath into the back of your lungs. Feel the back of you spread out. Pouring breath down into the bottom lobes of your lungs. Imagining the width. Spreading the breath through the sides of the lungs. Pouring it in as if you're pouring in crystal clear mountain lake water. Let your lungs just soak it in. In this class we're gonna take a little journey into some places that perhaps are ones that people don't usually love to go. We're gonna talk about Dumavati and she's the goddess of smoke. And she's also the goddess of failure. The goddess of disappointment. A goddess of old age. A lot of things that we tend to try to hide in our culture. Today we're gonna celebrate them. So start by lying down. If you have a bolster, you could use a bolster. If you don't have one you could roll up a blanket, a couple of bath towels. Anything at all that just gives you a little bit of lift underneath your shoulder blades. You can go ahead and lie down with your legs extended. I have my armpits just coming over the top edge of the bolster so that it's really situated right underneath the chest. Right under the back of the heart. If it's okay for your arms you can let them reach up overhead. If you want to put a blanket or some support under your arms you could do that. You could put support underneath your head if the floor feels far away. So many ways to feel supported. Let your legs soften. If your toes want to flop apart let them do that. Invite some heaviness into your arms, into your pelvis, into your thighs. And so we're starting like this so that we can stretch our lungs while we breathe. So breathing, you don't have to breathe in any special way. Just breathing. Just allowing your lungs to expand as you breathe. Allowing your whole body to breathe with you as if every cell is breathing with you. If we don't stretch our lungs and breathe like this then by the time we're 80 years old it's quite possible that our lungs could be 30% the size that they were when we were young. They shrink and imagine that you know breathing 25,000 times or so a day and every one of them is a struggle. Right how hard that would be. And so for me you know I've really changed in my practice right in my 20s and 30s I wanted to do all kinds of fancy things and now that I'm in my 40s and middle age I just want to be able to breathe. I want to feel free in my body. I want to feel fluid in my body. I want my joints to feel good. Right I want it to be sustainable yoga. I want my yoga practice to help me be a really spry and mobile and sassy old lady who can take big deep breaths into a wide open chest. So taking a few breaths for yourself and your future self here. No matter what age you are.

Could feel great to stay just like this. If you feel inspired to move on your bolster you could roll into a bit of a side bend rolling onto one side rib cage here and you could roll to the other one. You can go as fast or as slow as you like as far as you like being careful just not to roll right off of your support. Whatever helps you feel like you are inviting space, suppleness around the area of your rib cage, lungs, and heart. We'll start to come up so taking your time you can bend your knees I'm gonna pour yourself over onto one side. Use your hands to help you let your head be heavy and maybe the head is the last thing that comes up as you slowly come up to sit feeling the after-effects of that quite big backbend actually a powerful pose. So pausing for a moment just to savor that to let your body soak it in. And then I'm gonna push the bolster away because we're gonna do some seated shapes here. So coming to any seat that feels good if it's a cross-legged seat great you can always sit on a blanket or any other support and we're gonna work this time with some side bending and the same idea of just giving the lungs lots of breathing room. So walking the left hand over to the side I'm gonna start with my right arm up alongside the ear for a couple of breaths. Breathing into your lower body you could imagine pouring the breath into your lower body and as you exhale letting anything anywhere that's willing to soften let it go. And so you might stay like this longer or come back to revisit this arm over the head or if you want to come with me here we'll wrap that arm behind the back not looking for any particular place just letting it fall in the most organic landing spot. I'm letting my ear drop over to the shoulder left ear falling and then I like to do this you can try it out for size I like to walk the bottom hand over a little further and drop the forearm all the way down and when I do that my right hip comes up my right sitting bone comes up off the floor and I'm okay with that because then I invite the breath into that right lower side body I invite gravity to come into the right leg and right hip and bring it down in the direction of the ground. And then we're thinking about the right lung here inviting the breath to fill it front back sides top and bottom imagining the muscles between your ribs the intercostal muscles softening and spreading out so that the bones of your ribs can open wide as you inhale and relax as you exhale. So Dume of Ati that goddess of smoke is an interesting story about how she came to be. Shiva's beloved Sati his wife Sati she got really mad at her dad one day furious because he disrespected her and she got so mad that she actually burst into flames and the smoke that rose from the ashes became this goddess Dume of Ati. Let's come all the way back up slow slow slow so that you can really feel what just happened and when you come up releasing your arm just sitting in the center again just waiting for a moment until the dust settles from that last side and when you feel clear when you feel like all the dust is settled you can take a little rinse off shape here I'm gonna come into an upside-down tabletop hands behind feet in front just a momentary lift of the pelvis if it feels good to let your head drop back you can do that any kind of rocking or moving the shoulders you might move your jaw around here stick your tongue out and then we'll come down and over to the other side I'm gonna cross the other leg in front this time if I can remember which one it was oh yeah that's the one and then walk it over with the right hand to the right side and when you plant your hand you can take your left arm and extend it alongside your ear feeling the left lung with your fresh clean breath pouring the breath in imagine pouring it all the way down to the bottom of your container and as you exhale letting the lower body get softer and heavier another option of taking the left arm behind your back and letting it hang there in an easy way dropping right ear towards right shoulder and if it felt good to you if you want to try it on this side to walk your right hand out a little further empty the elbow and forearm down so my left hip now left sitting bone coming up a bit off the ground yours might or might not but definitely if you're here inviting heaviness now earthiness into the left side the left leg the left sitting bone invite gravity to come help you so Dumavati in her imagery she's pictured on a chariot that has nothing to drive it there's no horses nothing to pull it so she's stuck it's a chariot that doesn't go anywhere and she's old she's pictured as a very old woman not what we would consider conventionally beautiful wrinkly skin and she holds a winnowing basket which is what they use to separate the grain from the chaff and she's sort of she stopped she's often pictured at a crossroads and kind of this moment of of pause letting yourself get just a little softer just a little heavier here so I mentioned she's also the goddess of failure of disappointment which is so interesting I think that in Hindu mythology there's an honoring of that this this idea of things that we normally want to hide or push away it's actually push away from the ground right now to come on back up to come sit and absorb and feel feeling any vibration any humming the buzz of your aliveness your bioelectricity and then one more upside-down tabletop just to let it all kind of fall away and then we're gonna do what we're gonna do next is definitely something that's in honor of our future selves because we're gonna stand up and do a mobility practice right do move a tea is this old woman and when I think about myself as an old woman like I said I want to be mobile I want to feel good in my body I don't care if I look young or beautiful or have the latest clothes or whatever it might be you know just to feel good in our bodies is so important and one thing that helps us feel good is the ability to get back down to get down and stand back up and so we're gonna practice that a little bit and don't worry if it's hard at first gonna take your right hand and connect it to your right thigh and then the only rule here is that the hand stays connected to the thigh the whole time you can do whatever you want with your left hand we're gonna come on down to sit and you can sit any which way you can lean on your left hand for help or not any way you want to come down to sit anywhere your legs want to go is great and then we get back up so right hand stays on the thigh the whole time and then we switch left hand to left thigh right arm can do whatever it wants coming down all the way to the floor any way you get there any way you land is good and then back up now it gets a little trickier each time we do this we're gonna make it a little bit harder so don't worry if it doesn't happen you can try it again and again and keep practicing right hand to left thigh coming all the way down again the only rule is that the hand stays connected to the thigh coming down and a little trickier now to get back up left hand right thigh coming down all the way and back up and imagine imagine you at 80 or 90 or 95 being able to do this get down and back up how great that is for your well-being so both hands now try your right hand on your right thigh left hand on your left thigh and we'll come all the way down and back up getting back up it's always the trickier part for me anyway and then this is the last one this is like the bonus round you can try crossing your arms so right hand to left thigh left hand to right thigh I even have trouble with this one coming down all the way and then back up and then once you finish just give it a little bit of a shake out and try that you know if it didn't work or if it only worked with the hand on the same leg just keep working at it because it's really really powerful work for our future selves so we're gonna come all the way down now and lie down into a supine twist you can lay down on your back take a moment to feel the parts of you that touch the ground let them really connect and a couple of ways to do this you might bring your knees both into your chest and drop them over to the right and stay like that your left arm can fan out to the side if you want more sensation you can stretch your bottom leg straight so that just the left knee is coming over to the side props are nice here if you want to tuck something under your top knee or if you have them stacked you can put a blanket or something between your knees and then when I'm here I always like to just press the elbows down a bit pick up the rib cage move it away from the pelvis and then resettle and it gives the spine a little more room here a little more breathing room in the middle of your body you can let yourself kind of just fall apart fall apart and spill into the floor no effort needed at all really here so just looking to see if any muscles are turned on that don't need to be any places that are gripping that you might release so do move out to you right she represents these things that that happen right failure happens doesn't it disappointments gonna happen as much as we don't want it to they're gonna be times in our life and so to to not want to hide it to not want to push it away is so powerful in a culture that sort of always signaling to us to pursue happiness no matter what the cost and that's exhausting isn't it it's exhausting trying to always be happy and perfect all the time so Duma Vati she's like full stop to all of that and she's literally full stopped in a chariot that doesn't move she says let that go get off the hamster wheel of constant self-improvement and just be okay just as you are right now I heard the other day that in the 19th century people got so obsessed with success so obsessed with seeming like they had it all together with you know being like making money and being successful that it got to the point where they were afraid to talk about anything else anything that seems like a downer no talk about death or bad weather even it got so intense that people were afraid to talk about clouds can you imagine maybe you can you know look at our social media now and you know that's part of our heritage this fear of appearing to be a loser unsuccessful so what if we reframe that what if we invited it sometimes yeah let me fail one more big long out breath and then we'll come back around to center and just lay it out for a moment spread out your limbs settle into the ground just as you are this body just as it is as it ages she has the winnowing basket that represents wisdom we get wiser don't we as we get older and it's so good to focus on what we gain as we age instead of what we lose let's head over to the other side of that twist so here too you could do stacked knees dropping both knees over to the left opening your right arm away from you I like to put my hand on my knee my top knee give it a little weight so that could be where you stay or you could stretch your left leg down along the ground and carry just the right bent right knee over into the twist here if you like what I did before moving the rib cage back a bit you could arrange yourself well gather any props that you like settling in and letting your breath slide around your bones as if you could breathe any dust off of your bones making yourself light and soft like smoke like this goddess of smoke so when I think about focusing on what I gain as I age and this idea of smoke I kind of love how as we get older become more invisible don't we and there's so much power in that you know that's saying dance like nobody's watching well sometimes nobody is really watching especially as we get older and when nobody's watching you can do whatever you want and I know I certainly experienced that you know coming into my 40s are real sense of empowerment of like no longer needing to please everybody culture to that you know tries to sell us millions of dollars worth of anti aging products and creams to make us more youthful do movati says full stop to all of that too you know just to embrace these aging bodies to embrace the wrinkles that remind us of how much we've come through and how much we've learned how much we've transformed can you welcome it can you welcome and be grateful for everything that's brought you to this point loving this body for everything it's gone through how it's carried you through your life and will continue to carry forward your spirit and perhaps we can all talk about clouds a little bit more make it okay normalize normalize a little disappointment in our lives normalize not always being perfect or getting it right or looking incredible all the time normalize wrinkles and messy hair how much freer we would all be right I know I would be grateful for that let's go ahead and come on back as you undo your twist you can lie down flat on your back if that's comfortable for you if it's not you can always tuck a blanket or bolster under your knees or lay any other way that feels supportive and easy enough for you to be here and breathe for a bit we'll do a short breathing practice where we count the breath and we'll start with a four count inhale matching that with a four count exhale and just do that a couple of times breathing in for four and breathing out for four and if that's going well you can add a count to your exhale breathing in for four and out for five each breath you could imagine your body getting lighter and softer spreading out as if you were smoke as if you were incense smoke rising and spreading out into the atmosphere you can add another count to your exhale so it's in for four and out for six now and if that's going well you could even add another count in for four out for seven if you need to back it up can always back it up and we never want breathing to be stressful so if you feel like you're grasping for breath at all you can just pause and then start again the last step here would be in for four and out for a count of eight see how that feels if it feels okay do that a few times each time you breathe getting smokier like a really soft cloud that you could put your hand right through almost invisible because we're all we're all going up in smoke at some point aren't we so to live the life we have now not people-pleasing not trying to be perfect just loving every inch of who we are before it goes up in smoke as you finish your next exhale release any management of your breath and rest rest your body rest your bones let your bones get heavy your skin soft your body quiet and still you you as you prepare to come up think about moving like a cloud moving like a soft vapor a almost invisible cloud of incense smoke slowly softly rising and as you come to sit touch your hands to your body anywhere that feels tender supportive and kind on your thighs on your heart on your stomach anywhere at all grateful for this body that's carried us all the way through our lives grateful for these lungs that can breathe grateful for this heart that holds so much may we truly honor recognize and be grateful for the gifts that come as we age thank you all so much for practicing with me


Nadine R
3 people like this.
Grateful for this class…it is just what I needed!
Jenny S
5 people like this.
Lots of food for thought here as I am one month away from my 60th birthday…I had not heard of Dhumavati until now. How refreshing to have an actual goddess that celebrates old age and smoke and failure! I plan to learn more about her for sure. The yoga was delicious as always. Thank you Kelly 🙏🏻❤️
Martha K
5 people like this.
So amazing to have a class that lets me be my 63 year old self! It made me laugh(messy hair) and it touched me deeply. Thank you so much. I will be doing the mobility move to stay sassy!
Oana P
2 people like this.
thank you a lot, great topic
3 people like this.
Another wonderful, soothing, and joyful practice. I'll be putting this one on repeat to practice before bed. Thank you, Kelly. Lots of shantis.
Kelly K
3 people like this.
Jenny S Dhumavati is part of a group of goddesses called the "Dasa Mahavidyas" - they are wild! If you google around you can find stories about them, each one more amazing than the next :)). xoxoxo
Kelly K
2 people like this.
Martha K so happy that you enjoyed the class! Yes, let's stay mobile and sassy! Lots of love to you!
Kelly K
3 people like this.
Lori thank you so much. It's really wonderful to know that it resonates with people. Thanks for letting me know, and a million shantis back to you!
Kelly K
2 people like this.
Jenny S happy almost birthday, by the way!!! 
Diane C
3 people like this.
This class really resonated with me. The poses were revealing and the discussion of letting go of maintaining expectations as we age to age naturally and gracefully was very reassuring. I enjoy caring for myself so much more now as I age. Thank you Kelly. 
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