This episode is part of a course.
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Season 1 - Episode 6

Week 5: Planting for the Future

55 min - Practice


Society grows great when we plant trees in whose shade we know we shall never sit. In the final week of your challenge, Melina leads a guided relaxation with some cozy postures to restore your energy so you can continue to make positive change for the planet. As we move through gentle Restorative shapes, we imagine we are forest bathing as we connect with our inner landscape and re-discover a sense of wholeness, purpose, and belonging. In an inspirational Savasana we let go of ego, and remember we are one with Nature. You will feel whole, present, and blissed out.

Your Homework Challenge for Week 5:

  • Plant a tree: We plant trees for future generations to enjoy.
  • Plant based diet: Plant based diets are healthier for planet. Try Meatless Mondays and seek out books and recipes to preserve more resources for future generations.
  • Reduce carbon footprint: Think before you buy, shopping locally, and vote with your dollar.

See attached pdf for more ideas.

What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Blanket (2), Block (2)

About This Video


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Hello everyone, welcome to week five of the Green Yogi Challenge. Thanks for all the hard work you've put into making some changes in your personal life and for the well-being of the environment over the past four weeks. So since we've put so much effort into our practice, this class will be super cozy and super restorative as a way to reconnect a little bit more to ourselves and to the elements and to our landscape and that sense of becoming one with the landscape. So to keep us as comfortable and warm as possible in this class, I want to recommend opening up a whole blanket to have on top of your yoga mat for more warmth and more cushion and also to have a couple blocks, an additional blanket to cover yourself and a bolster. And to begin with, we're going to be on our back and all we need at the beginning is to have your blocks somewhat close to the sides of your legs.

And to have your second blanket, once you've got your blocks under the sides of your legs, we're doing a recline cobblers where you might put a blanket either over your pelvis, which can be really grounding and lovely, adjust your blocks, medium or flat, whatever generally works for you when you get to the floor. And sense the warmth of the blanket, the grounding of the blankets, and then whatever angle your arms like to be out to your sides. If possible, you might close your eyes, turn off lights so that you're just sort of here with the natural light or maybe it's evening and it's dark. And we get to settle and sink into this moment, turning into our inner landscape and just feeling again the softness and the texture of the ground and maybe this blanket that's now underneath you. Maybe imagining that blanket now, the softness is a little bit like lying on the floor of a forest.

For thousands of years dropping the leaves and the petals and the needles from the trees down to make this soft squishy ground. And as we settle and sink into the earth in this way, maybe we can imagine the fragrance and smell of the earth, the soil. Maybe from spending time out in your yard or on walks in the woods over the last month. What do you remember? What do you remember smelling in nature?

Maybe as we arrive a little bit more into stillness, feeling our belonging here, we might even start to be able to listen a little bit better to the sound of maybe your breath deep within. Also aware of what sounds you might hear out in the nature around you. Really settling and sinking and arriving here in your space as if you're doing a little forest bathing in your room. As your back body settles into the floor, imagine there's a little tap root that grows down into the earth, tapping into the power of the earth, the stability of the earth. From this place of deepening, eventually there's a widening out of a network of tap roots underneath you.

That maybe helps you feel even more connected to the earth underneath you, the soil. And sensing this union with this earth, with this soil as we soften the boundaries and edges of our skin to become more at one with this landscape. And then if we can notice, there's the movement of our torso that moves hopefully like a small ripple from the chest down towards your hips as if you were at maybe a lake and there was just a little gentle breeze, a little ripple of movement away from the shore and towards the shore and trying to be like water in that sense of just being willing to change, to move, to heal, to cleanse. Grateful for water and the life that comes from what we water, what we hydrate. So maybe now is a great time to think about an intention that we want for this practice, something that we might plant now into the fertile being of our soil, our earth body.

So we plant this intention of what we wish to grow more of in the weeks ahead, this new year. Imagine again that intention seed being watered with your loving attention. You know, over the next moment or two, might start to make a change in our shape by simply allowing your legs in very slow motion. Think earth speed, slow motion, legs starting to tip in towards each other. And slide your feet maybe a little closer towards your sit bones so you feel your feet on the earth.

Let the arms reach down and maybe slide the blanket a little bit more to your right for a moment and move the block out of the way and maybe tip it to the flat position. Scoot it right up against your left hip and we're going to drop that left leg open to the side like you might in tree pose like you just did a moment ago. And we're going to take that right leg down to the floor straight. Now we might bring your left foot and inner right thigh closer together, readjust your left block. So it's like you're in tree pose on your back.

And then we might cover up the legs, the belly for a little bit more grounding. So keep the feeling of the tree pose if you need to tip your block taller if that feels safer. Maybe we'll go with a taller block. And then perhaps now let your arms grow out to the sides, maybe towards cactus arms. That's too much on your shoulders, a little more arms out to the side.

So we're bringing a little upper body into the mix. Right leg long, can relax the efforts in the right ankle, right foot. And imagine we're a tree that's fallen or really large cactus that's fallen back into the ground into the earth. We go through that same process of allowing the weight of our limbs, our head, our torso, our pelvis to move down towards the earth and merge into the earth. We soften into the earth.

We become the earth. We sometimes forget that we are of the same elements, of the same nature of this earth. So maybe we take this time to remember that we are earth. So we anchor here with the weight of our bones, our body and welcome that ripple of movement through your torso as you're breathing in and feeling the changes in your body that occur through those comfortable inhale and exhale breaths. And aware of the fire elements to help us connect to some light, some fire, keep our vision clear of what it is that we wish to grow.

What do we wish to transform? But things from the last four weeks, do you imagine bringing forward into your life now? That willingness to adjust your breath as you need to, to again welcome that slightly longer pause after inhale for more energy, slightly longer pause at the end of exhale for more calming, and then we rest in the vastness of who we are, resting in the vastness of who you are for this last three breaths on this side. And that slow earth speed, we let the arms maybe travel down towards your sides and maybe hold on to that left block as you tilt the left leg up and then please have both feet on the ground for a moment, back to our neutral, just kind of feel into the difference. When you're ready in your own sweet time, let that left leg now go straight as you tilt your right leg out to the block that might be flat or medium.

So again, you're in tree pose with your right leg open, adjust that blanket so it's kind of over your hips, over your legs for grounding. We can let go of the effort in that left ankle, left leg, the toes point whatever direction they want and see if we might slide our arms back up to maybe what might call cactus arms here, a giant cactus that's fallen back. Still juicy, still full of water, but just now reclines, resting. With time, we might feel certain areas with more contact to the earth, more of the weights of the hips, firmly sinking into the blanket, shoulders, heads, becoming one with this fertile ground. And as we settle and dissolve sort of any of the harsh edges of our boundaries or skin, feeling safe, hopefully in the space where you're at, to really let go and soften so your skin literally feels more porous and connecting to the small ripple wave of movement through your body.

Often in this stillness, again, there's movement, life energy pulsing in and out of the body. Bring in that sense of lights to help you see again clearly your vision, what ways are you inspired to continue the work from this green yogi challenge into the future. Feeling the positive effects of some of your self-care, consistency of practice, however small a step it might be, as simple as drinking water. And when we're nourished again, we have that capacity to be more kind and compassionate and our circle widens to include others. Together that linking of arms or part of communities that are motivated to make change.

Together using our voices to ask our leaders to be more responsible. Making more wise choices of where we spend our money, how we vote. Thank you Earth for supporting us. Ever so gently, slowly, now over the next few moments, let's start to tilt that right leg off the block as your left leg comes in and the arms again will now come down towards the side of your body. Let's from here, perhaps move your blocks a little bit now out of the way and I'm gonna move the blanket off the legs for a moment as we consider now coming to a place where your arms are more at your side.

Let's start with your right heel on top of your left knee. So what we'll do from here is see if you can move that right knee a little bit more away from the center line and do that external rotation of your right leg that allows you then to take this figure four leg shape is usually what I call that and tip it to the left. So you might put your hand down and hold that left right foot on the floor. That felt like you had to tip too far, sometimes putting a block here is nice to tip and put your foot on a block, it could be easier in your right lower back. So let's stay with our right foot over there on the left side and maybe we go back to cactus arm on the right or a straight arm on the right side if that feels better.

Now as we have ourselves to maybe open again in this way, shoulders drop back to the floor. There might be a little more sensation arising in your physical body that brings some maybe welcomed new fresh alert attention in and down away from your head. From the weight of the body to literally ground you here in this place in this room. Welcome that ripple of movements in your torso as you breathe in and out. Maybe breathing in that way that wakes up that inner fire and brightens the lights to inspire you to stay focused here visualizing what you wish to grow.

Or take with you as you move out of the challenge. As we settle into a comfortable rhythm with your breath, just noticing how that feels in your nervous system. We feel a little bit less grippy in the jaw or the eyes, softening and widen of the muscles of the face as a result of our nervous system kind of winding down, quieting down from all the efforts that we put into showing up and doing our work to be more conscious in our self-care, community, and towards the environment. Feeling a few more cycles just to witness change that occurs from holding still. Breathing into deeper tissues of your body.

Maybe in your own sweet time we'll let that right arm come down towards your side if you're ready and you might use your left hand to help you move your legs back to center. Feet on the ground for a moment, back to neutral. In the block might travel with you to your other side if you use on the first side, sometimes we'll use it on the second. So we put your left heel on top of your right knee and then see if your left leg could do a little more external rotation so your knee moves away from your shoulder. And then we take that figure four leg shape and we tip it to the right and if you find that's a little strainy in the lower back or a little too much effort, simply put your left foot on a block.

You adjust your lower leg wherever it feels most reasonable, there's no way to do the pose right or wrong, does it feel good? Enjoy the journey here so making whatever adjustments as you let your arms open or go back to a cactus arm on your left side if that feels interesting. And it's really now a practice of softening, letting go, surrendering to the earth. Maybe we imagine again that we're on the soil, on the ground, doing a little forest bathing on our spot here in the room, allowing your senses to wake up as you settle. Breathing in through the nose, taking in the fragrance of the soil, if you spent any time in your garden recently, the smells that you recall from being outdoors, sometimes that alone is calming for the nervous system.

With your eyes closed, perhaps remembering something beautiful that you witnessed today or recently. Maybe you're noticing how looking at something beautiful creates more awe and that awe is almost like a immediate spontaneous meditation, looking at something so beautiful. You're so present. Remembering something that made you pause, something in nature that you appreciated again to remember that appreciation and love that might inspire again a little bit more of the activists in you. Keep making the small steps that you do on a daily basis to protect the earth and her resources.

And again, taking this sweet time to recharge and replenish. Remembering this is a bear-a-thon, not a sprint. Rest is important to avoid burnout. Just luxuriate for just a few more moments as you are here. You might use again your right hand or left hand coming around to help kind of tip your legs back towards neutral and then both feet on the floor.

Then take your neutral for just a second, pause, and then we're going to make a big shift to turn over to a side and usually it means you've got to sit up to do this. So a little moment where you sit up and maybe that refreshes your energy, we're going to draw the bolster into our practice and set that at that place just down by your hip on the left side. And then I usually take one more block and turn that maybe in that flat shape is where my head is going to go. And we're going to be on this side with your legs bent on the left side and a lot of times it's nice to cover your lower half of the body here. This block is for your head, the second block beyond that is for your hand.

So I have the right side of the ribcage on the bolster, a little channel that's between the a little row between the bolster and your block. And if I reach my right arm overhead, I kind of feel where that block is and do I need it to be tall to make it easy or medium or flat. So we're looking for easy. Now imagine that we're here now on your side. And maybe where you live again, there's a mountain or a hill that maybe you kind of enjoy looking at or taking hikes on.

And imagine now this right side of the body is sort of that mountain at the distance sort of the view of a mountain on the sides. And we're trying to expose and open this whole outer right side of the ridge of your body towards the sky. And letting there be a softening on that skin and the muscles on your right side so we can feel the vital life force energy, the prana, moving across that ridge down towards your hips. Just sensing as you're breathing here now that ripple of energy and movement going down through the center of your body in a different way when we're on our sides. Sensing what new areas of our body are we fertilizing and hydrating with our attention.

See if you can root yourself in the present moment here and just stay with the sensations as they come and go celebrating the impermanent nature of sensations, changing just like nature. Moving into a little bit more quiet time together, just tending to the sensations without attaching to them or judging them. This kind awareness moving into your body, into your cells, into your being. Refresh and waking up your consciousness for a few more cycles of your breath here. Celebrating being alive, healthy, and not taking that for granted.

Feel what changes now when we take that right arm if it's overhead, you take your right arm down towards your sides. Without rushing, let's slide your right hand maybe to your bolster and just to give that little push up so we make a little change to face forward to the short end of your mat. Keep your maybe legs covered as we recline back over the bolster. We'll make use of this transition as you put the back of the ribs on the bolster. Slide that block under your head and as the shoulders wrap around that bolster, the shoulders might not touch the floor.

If this amount of backbend is okay for you, let's stay with your bolster underneath you and eventually the arms out to your sides. Ideally we have our chin a little bit parallel to the floor rather than face the sky. Blanket grounding legs, grounding your feet. In this way, letting that whole heart space open as our arms and shoulders drop back. And kindly softening, dropping the back of the ribs into the bolster.

Bringing the oxygen into your lungs all the way to the bottom lobes of your lungs which are a little bit more available here, accessible here. Breathing in through the nose if you can and breathing out through the nose if you can. As we meet now this front side of the body, maybe where you are, there's a mountain ridge or mountain area that you love visiting that has that sleeping lady profile. So let yourself be that sleeping lady or person that you enjoy looking at at the distance. You feeling the stability of that mountain.

Within that stability knowing that there is some life energy pulsing through the mountain in this case our body. You may be feeling a little more satisfied and pleasure in the pose as things settle and we know we're not going anywhere fast. What a relief. This time again reminding yourself, if you notice your mind drifting, to rededicate yourself to your intention. Like a little mantra that you repeat to stay focused.

More conscious breath by breath. Settle into a little bit more quiet space. Find more parts of yourself when we're now no longer busy. Alright and from here we'll just gradually take a few more conscious breaths preparing to transition slowly to our bent legs and traveling to our other sides where we'll turn and maybe you have things set up so you might not need to sit up or maybe you do and adjust the blanket maybe to cover your legs. The right side of the rib cage on the bolster, block for under your head and your right arm again now should be between bolster and the block.

Left arm might be at your side, left arm might reach overhead and need a flat block, a medium block or a tall block to feel at ease, to feel safe. So there's no again right or wrong is does this feel comfortable? Do you feel safe? When we do often we'll notice a little bit more of the weight of our body dropping into the earth, into our props in this case. Now we get this whole new left ridge of our body open towards the sky.

Maybe there's a slightly different shape of this side of your body and appreciating again that idea of looking at the side body like you're looking at the side of a mountain. Letting your awareness run all the way over the edge of that mountain on the left side. Opening the skin, softening the pores, opening. Feel this exchange of life energy between your body and the environment. Dissolving into this space.

And now with this particular shape just noticing your breath might be flowing in new places than when we were on the right side or on our back. Maybe there's some undiscovered areas that we haven't tended to very much over the challenge and now we get to experience some deeper corners of our body. Oh, lucky there's more to discover in our body. So let's see what happens when we go into a little bit more quiet space. Be with the sensations, the changing nature, that attachment or judgment until maybe we eventually open into those wider spaces and we feel reconnected with our whole self, sense of wholeness, the beautiful sense of belonging.

You can discover just a few more wonderful breaths on this left side before we take our left arm down to our side and just take that pause for a moment, witness what's changed. And then we'll one more time maybe put the left hand now on your bolster and slowly press yourself up towards sitting as you face forward for a moment. Now as we make next shift we're gonna slide the bolster down so it's maybe about middle of the mat, move your block out of the way or I should say blocks and we're gonna sit on that bolster for a moment. When you sit on your bolster you might here again let your legs be covered. I like to stabilize myself, slide towards the lower part of the bolster so when I end up on my back and I'm heading towards bridge pose, little lift under the hips and notice that you feel like you're in the right spot where the back of the hips have support, arms out to the side with palms up.

Take a few moments as we reconnect our whole upper body back into the floor. With that little elevation of the hips you might feel a little bit different movement of blood moving towards the belly, towards the heart, towards your brain. There's a quickening of the heartbeat, it usually starts to slow down in a few moments once your body gets the message that we're safe, we're not going anywhere and we drop into this pose for a few minutes together, letting the back of the heart settle without forcing it down, it just starts to settle. Welcoming stillness, perhaps welcoming some peace, ease. Welcoming kindness and non-harm in our thoughts, our actions and our speech.

Breath by breath becoming more conscious when we're present and when our mind drips, having the intention to stay awake. Over a few more moments here in bridge pose, settling into your breath and earth body. We'll take another breath or two before we get to the end of this pose. Take another breath or two before we start to make our change. Might scoot your feet a little closer to your sit bone area and we're going to simply slide this bolster down, out from underneath you.

And then I want to encourage you as we get ready to do our longer shavasana that we let our blanket open all the way up and sometimes you might need to sit to do that, maybe sometimes you can do that lying down on your back. So we want to really welcome the support under your knees or more under your hamstrings and then come down onto your back with the blanket really covering most of your body. And then you would let your legs separate out to the sides and the arms if they're open to the sides again you have your palms facing the sky and trying to feel for this kind of wonderful longer shavasana that you sense that your heels are maybe equal distance from your center, they're balanced. Feel your arms equal distance out from your sides. You feel your head lined up well with your navel and your pelvis.

And as we lie still like a corpse, our body returning to the soil, maybe the ultimate gift and one day as we let this physical body drop back and become one again with the earth, the shavasana in class here is a little bit more about letting go of the ego or identity attachments that perhaps in some way might lead to some suffering as we forget who we are or true nature, one who is woven into the landscape, one with the elements, part of this universe, and when we forget that there can create perhaps suffering in our daily lives and remembering who you are beyond the name, the title, responsibilities as we celebrate letting go or willingness to let go of the small self, to remember who we are as one with nature, maybe witnessing the cycles of the breath as a way to move into the idea of death, letting go. We see that's always happening in the breath. The beginning is that nourishment, new beginning, the inhale, and then the exhale is a little bit like a death to that breath cycle, inhales like the birthing of this moment and opportunity to live, staying mindful through that whole cycle. Feel your body change, and then do the exhale, there's that letting go, releasing, and that cycle ends before another begins. Having that concept a little bit deeper in through practice, inhales at birth, this moment, perhaps weaving in that idea we have of gratitude, we get this opportunity to breathe, get this opportunity to live, and then we know we're like nature impermanent beings and we'll change and there will be an end, eventually we'll be the corpse, and through our yoga practices maybe growing more mindful breath by breath of each precious day.

So the Shavasana is ultimately maybe inspirational or transformational, and that it reminds us of our impermanence, which might then inspire us to live in a different way knowing that we shall one day return to the earth. How might you bring more meaning to this day, more love to this next breath, more love into who you are, and to all the little things that you do to take care of your earth being. May we be at peace together here for a few moments of quiet. If you stay as you are and just simply bring a little more awareness to a fuller inhale and exhale bringing in more oxygen, more life energy into your being as we prepare to wiggle our fingers and toes and feel our body moving here on the soft ground, eventually letting your legs once again bend, and you might take a little bit more time as you slowly turn when you're ready onto any side into your fetal pose, taking that nourishing moment on your side. Eventually when you're ready we'll tip up to sit, and since you have a bolster there you might slide that someplace where you can sit on that.

Wrap yourself in the blanket or cover your legs with the blanket. See what it feels now to sit as the mountain. Moment acknowledging all the efforts you've brought into the practice over the five weeks. Perhaps maybe some inspiration is with you to keep doing this practice moving forward and continue to grow into these ever-expanding circles that considers not only yourself, others, larger communities, and the earth. Thank you so much for being here.

Namaste. All right, everyone, so in addition to our asana practices that some are more strength building and some have more balance challenge, some are for upper body and all the heavy lifting that we've got to do out there, some of them have been a little bit more about core engaging and flexibility, and I hope you've appreciated some of the work that's a little bit more restorative. So the homework assignments as we close down this practice is really thinking about the future, and so one of the greatest things I think we can do and celebrate is planting a tree, literally to plant a tree for the future generations to enjoy. There's a Greek proverb that, you know, as we age we plant trees whose shade we will never sit under, right, so this idea for the next generations to come that they get to enjoy clean air, the shade, the grounding that comes from the trees holding the soil down. So just a few ideas to consider, and I welcome you to plant trees, maybe every earth day becomes part of a ritual or routine or maybe more often than once a year.

Another thing when we think about future generations and things that we might work on is having a little bit more of a plant-based diet, which is we're learning much healthier for the planet on its resources. As Michael Pollan says, eat foods not too much, mostly plants. So there's fantastic recipe books out there now and websites you can check out for more plant-forward diets, you know, moderation might be your thing and that's a great thing that one does not need to be extreme to make more positive steps for the future. So in what ways might you choose, you know, a few times a week to do more plant-based diets and thinking that as a great step towards future generations having access to a lot more resources. And the third and final piece of the homework assignment is just to keep in mind our carbon footprint.

There have been many things that we've already discussed in this course as ways that you will be decreasing your carbon footprint by doing some of the things maybe you're already doing now and maybe just thinking, you know, for future generations of the small ways that we can decrease buying things from further away. Now that we know our local vore and what we can buy and eat that's grown close by, we're maybe choosing less foods that come from other countries and choosing more what's grown close by. Maybe we're choosing to buy from stores in our neighborhoods and maybe considering buying secondhand consignment clothes so that there's not always production of new clothes and things. Little things that we do really do make a difference in the long run. And I feel like as we vote with our dollar and spend our dollar in that way towards businesses that are more eco-conscious that there will be greater businesses that are operating with a more eco-friendly footprint and all these things again the circles ripple out into wider and pretty soon the earth is a little bit perhaps more protected from humans.

So may we again grow our consciousness with kindness and compassion towards ourselves and others as we move further into our journey alone and together. So thank you so much for considering doing this challenge and for doing this work. It brings me great joy to know we're here together. Namaste.


Judy S
1 person likes this.
I'm sorry that I jumped ahead but I really need that restorative class. It was great by the way. I especially liked your talk at the end about plant based food. I wish more teachers would speak up about this. It's so important and so many people just disconnect from the suffering. 
Melina Meza
1 person likes this.
I'm thrilled to hear that you found what you were looking for here and hope that this class becomes one of your go-to resources for R and R. In my experience, discussing food can be a sensitive topic, and I'm grateful to have discovered Michael Pollan's work a while ago. His approach to educating and introducing ideas about food and the food system inspire me to be more curiosity and make changes in how I approach food choices and consumption habits. Its been a process and great to be in conversation with others about it. Thank you for sharing your feedback with me.
Jane T
2 people like this.
Melina....Thank you for this course and all of  your courses here on yoga anytime...You are truly an inspiration! Jane
Melina Meza
Oh thank you so much! I hope you enjoyed the series and come back to visit this often.
Jenny S
2 people like this.
Melina, this challenge has been a delight!  Thank you for this invaluable resource.  I’ve tried my best not to jump to each new episode ahead of time, but I found myself really looking forward to your creative asana practices and of course your pearls of wisdom!  Your teachings make the world a better place! 🌎🪴❤️🙏🏻
Melina Meza
I so appreciate your dedication to practice Jenny! I hope the homework suggestions continue throughout the year and you come back to visit the asana practices often. With heart, Melina
Michelle F
1 person likes this.
That was profoundly moving - thank you so much!
Have a beautiful day
Dana Leipold
1 person likes this.
Thank you for this challenge, Melina. Wonderful asana practices and ideas for self care as well as care for our planet. Can't wait for the next challenge you put together. 

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