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Season 1 - Episode 3

Week 2: Free the Angry Beast

50 min - Practice
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Description

When the liver is out of balance, we might experience anger, irritability, or anxiety, and resist the change that is natural in life. This dynamic twisting class will bring our liver into balance, moving and dispersing stagnant energy as we play toward an arm balance. We begin engaging the core, warm the body in Sun Salutes, and enjoy a standing flow exploring binds and finding space in the hips and shoulders. We move to the floor and open the chest in Salabhasana and Dhanurasana in preparation for Visvamitrasana. We close in cooling poses, a Pranayama practice, and a body scan. You will be happy and sweaty, with clear directed energy, open hips, and a relieved wrung out feeling.

See attached pdf for additional information about the liver, as well as ideas and journal prompts to help you work through irritability or stress within the liver.

What You'll Need: Mat, Block

Transcript

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Welcome. Today's practice is to balance out the energy of the liver. When the liver is in balance, we're flowing with our lives, we're in a creative process with our lives, and everything is moving dynamically and fluidly. When our liver is out of balance, then we have more irritability, possibly rage, and some anxiety that's coming from the irritability. So today's practice will be a lot of dynamic movements, twisting, wringing out the body, and moving quickly, which can help to move the energy of the liver.

Because when it's stagnating, it's all stuck. So we're going to try and disperse some of that energy. You'll need one block, that's it, and you can come to your mat. So we'll start out in cat-cow. We'll bring our hands and our wrists underneath our shoulders, our knees underneath our hips, pull the belly in.

With inhalation, we're going to sink through the middle of the body, pull the shoulders down, start to lift the head up and look forward, pull the chest through the upper arms. And then with exhalation, we're going to round the back, tuck the tailbone under, try to look to the navel. Inhale, we'll lift the chest, tilt the pelvis forward, exhale, tuck the tailbone under, look to the belly. And one more round, inhale, lift the chest, and exhale, tuck the tailbone under. We'll come to a neutral spine, hands pressing the floor, knees and tops of the feet pressing the floor.

We'll reach the right arm out in front of us, left leg straight back, and then we'll pull the knee and the elbow together, reach them straight back out. We'll do a couple rounds of that, two, three, starting to find that cross connection. And we do this because the liver and the gall bladder are the two organs that are in charge of twisting, pivoting, hip opening, shoulder opening. That's where the channels run in the body. And then we'll switch sides, right hand down, left knee down, extend the left arm out in front of you, left elbow to right knee, and extend.

And again. Different way to engage the core. And then release it down. You have the option to repeat that or take it again, this time, hover the knees up off the floor and start to find the balance in the right hand left arm and extend the right leg left arm up, possibly try to connect the elbow and the knee, and then extend it again. And then release it down, switch sides, right hand and right foot, stay grounded, I'm sorry, left hand, right foot, extend the right arm, left knee, bring the elbow and knee together, extend them again, and then bring them down.

Take yourself to plank, pull the navel into the spine, press the inner hands flat, raise the left leg up, point the toes, balance the weight in your left hand, try to take the right arm out to the side, and then release it down. Right hand stays down, point the right toes, raise the leg up, and take the left arm out to the side, lower it down, and let's press back to downward facing dog. Take a breath or two there, and we'll come back forward again. Let's try that again. Hover the knees, pull the belly in, raise the right hand, left leg, elbow to knee, release, opposite side, right leg left hand, elbow to knee, and release, push back to downward dog for one breath, inhale, come forward, raise the left leg, right arm out to the side, release it down, right leg lifts, left arm out to the side, place it down, and push back to downward facing dog.

Take a few breaths here, come forward to plank, bring the knees to the floor, set your forearms down to the ground, curl your toes under, coming into forearm plank, right away we'll switch on to the right side, you can come to the outer edge of the right foot, inner edge of the left, take the left hand either to the hip or up to the ceiling, and we're going to pulse, lifting the right hips up, for 10, so 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, move through center, and then on to the left side, right hand to hip or straight up to the ceiling, lift the hips, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, return back to center, hold for a moment, and then bring the knees to the floor and sit the hips back onto the heels. Come back to plank pose, press to downward facing dog, bring the shoulders forward, take the right knee into the chest and hold there, press the hands flat, pull the belly in, try to take the knee up high to the chest, and then take the knee to the left elbow or shoulder, and then back to center, and press back to downward facing dog. Second side, come forward to plank, take the left knee to the chest, hold there a moment, then left knee to right shoulder or elbow, back to center, and press to downward facing dog. From downward dog, look forward, walk your feet to your hands, with inhalation, lengthen, exhale, fold, inhale, come all the way up, and exhale, arms down alongside the body. Surya Namaskar A, inhale, arms reach, exhale and fold, inhale, lengthen, exhale, step back, find your plank pose, shift forward, lower, inhale, cobra or up dog, exhale, downward dog. Take a couple of breaths here, pushing the floor away from you, lengthening the side bodies, reaching the heels towards the floor, and look forward, step your feet to your hands, inhale to lengthen, exhale to fold, inhale all the way up, and exhale, arms down alongside the body. Again, inhale, arms reach, exhale, fold, inhale, lengthen, exhale, step or jump to chaturanga. Inhale, cobra or up dog, exhale, downward facing dog. Spread the toes, press the tops of the thighs back, push the floor away from you, and take long deep breaths. Complete your next exhalation, look forward, step or jump, inhale, lengthen, exhale, fold, inhale, come all the way up, and exhale, arms down alongside the body. Inhale again, reach, exhale, fold, inhale, lengthen, exhale, step or jump back and lower, inhale, cobra or up dog, exhale, down dog. From downward facing dog, come forward to plank, come on to the outer edge of the right foot, inner edge of the left. Take the left hand to the hip or to the ceiling. If needed, you can bring the right knee to the floor. Otherwise, if you have the legs straight, you have the option to stack the left foot on top of the right, and we'll pulse the hips up for ten. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Bring the hand down to the floor, let's press back to down dog. Inhale, come forward to plank, inner edge of the right foot, outer edge of the left. You have the option to bring the left knee to the floor or stack the feet and pulse. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Bring the hand to the floor and press back to downward facing dog. Complete your exhalation, look forward, step or jump. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, fold. Inhale, come all the way up. And exhale, arms down alongside the body. Bend your knees, sit your hips back, inhale chair pose. Exhale, fold. Straightening the legs as you fold. Inhale to lengthen. Exhale, step or jump back and lower. Inhale, cobra or up dog. Exhale, downward facing dog. Step your right foot forward, pivot your left heel down to the floor. Firm your outer right hip in, heel toe your right foot to the right just about an inch or two. Take your right hand inside of the right foot. You can stay here or start to drop the shoulder inside the knee and take the right hand to the floor outside of the right foot. Or you have the option to bring your head to the ground and bind. If you can, reach the right hand into the left wrist in the right hand. From there, press your hands to the floor, lift your back heel up, step the right foot back, come to downward facing dog. And we'll take the left foot forward, pivot the right heel down, heel toe the left foot to the left, take the left hand inside of the foot. You can stay there or bring the shoulder inside the knee, the hand outside of the foot or possibly head to the floor, reaching around for your right wrist with your left hand. Keep firming the outer left hip into midline and the left leg straight. Release the hands, place the hands to the floor, step the left leg back, come to down dog. Look forward, step or jump your feet to your hands, inhale lengthen, exhale fold, bend your knees, sit your hips back, inhale chair pose, and exhale stand up tall.

Sree Namaskar B, bend the knees, sit the hips back, inhale, exhale fold. Inhale lengthen, exhale step or jump to chaturanga. Inhale cobra or up dog, exhale downward facing dog, pivot the left heel down, step the right foot forward, inhale vira one, exhale hands down, step back and lower. Inhale cobra or up dog, exhale down dog, left foot forward, right heel down, inhale vira one, exhale to chaturanga. Inhale cobra or up dog, exhale downward facing dog. Breathe. Let the breath be deep, smooth, even, and try to balance the inhales and the exhale so they're equal length. We'll step the right foot forward again, pivot the left heel down, with inhalation we're going to come up into warrior one, and then exhale we'll open up to warrior two. Keep the right knee tracking over the ankle pointing to your second toe, keep lifting the front hip bones up, pull the shoulders down the back and then reach evenly through the fingertips. Press the outer edge of the left foot as you straighten the left leg. Take one more deep breath, then reach the right arm forward as you take the elbow to the knee, and you can raise the left arm up to the ceiling or you have the option to take the right hand down to the floor inside of your right foot, press the right shoulder into your knee as you start to revolve the chest open to the ceiling. You can also spin the left arm in, reach back for your right hip crease or take the bind, taking hold of the right wrist with the left hand, twisting the chest open to the ceiling. If you're bound, release the bind, find the strength in your legs, press down into your feet, inhale, come up, straighten the right leg, drop the right hip down and exhale to triangle pose. You can take the right hand to the shin or if you have the range of motion in your hamstring, you can take the hand to the floor. Again, twist the chest open to the ceiling and keep extending through the crown of the head as you lengthen the tailbone in the opposite direction. Press down through the mound of the right big toe, straighten your left leg. The right leg is straight as well. However, if you have a tendency to hyperextend, be sure not to lock out that knee. Put a tiny little microbend in the knee as you lift the kneecap up the thigh. With your next inhalation, come on up, exhale, bend the right knee, another deep breath in, find your warrior two and bring the hands to the floor, step back to plank and lower. Inhale, cobra, up dog, exhale, downward facing dog, step the right foot forward, left foot forward, pivot the right heel down, inhale, come up into warrior one and exhale, open up to warrior two on the left side. Pull the shoulders down in the back, reach out through both hands evenly, outer edge of the right foot is grounded, right thigh presses back, left knee points to the second toe and the knee is over the ankle. From there, we'll lengthen the left side body as we take the left elbow to the knee, the right arm up to the ceiling. You can stay here or you have the option to bring the left hand to the floor. Shoulder presses the knee as you revolve the chest open to the ceiling. You can take the right arm smitten in, grab a hold of the left hip crease or take hold of the right wrist with your left hand if you're choosing to bind. Keep pulling the chest open, sink the hips down, strong right leg. If you're bound, you'll release, reach the right arm back up to the ceiling, press down into your heels as you inhale, come up, find your warrior two and then straighten your left leg and start to fold into triangle pose with the left hand to the shin or possibly the floor. Pull the shoulders down the back, reach the sternum, lengthen your tailbone to your heel, belly in, chest open. Press your feet, inhale to come up, exhale, bend the left knee, find your warrior two, another deep breath in and exhale, bring the hands to the floor, step back and lower. Inhale, upward facing dog and exhale, downward facing dog. From downward facing dog, we'll come forward to plank and lower down. Point the toes, roll the shoulders down the back and let's interlace the fingers behind your back for salabhasana. Toes are pointed, baby toe reaches the floor as the inner thighs spin up to the ceiling. We'll start to peel the chest up off the floor, straightening the arms behind us and then raise the legs as well. Five breaths here, look at the edge of your nose. It's one, deep breathing, two, legs nice and strong, three, see if you can lift a little higher, four, one more deep breath for five, with the exhalation release the hands, set them to the floor, inhale, come up, exhale, downward facing dog. We'll inhale, come back to plank and exhale, lower down, dhanurasana, bring the feet together, knees can stay apart, see if you can reach back for your ankles, start to straighten the legs to lift the chest up off the floor and then lift the feet to the ceiling. It's one, two, three, four, five, releasing, set the hands to the floor, inhale, cobra up dog, exhale downward facing dog. Take a breath here to neutralize the spine and then we'll bring the right knee forward inside the right wrist. For pigeon pose, you have the option to drop the right hip down to the floor and bend the left knee back and fold forward from here or you can straighten the left leg all the way and start to lay out over the right leg. We'll hold here for a few minutes actually, taking a longer hold so we can open up that hip. You shouldn't feel any pain in the knee. You may need to adjust the angle of that right shin bone. As the shin bone comes parallel to the front of your mat, it becomes a deeper pose, a little more intense for the hip. So if that's too much, bring it closer to your left hip, the right foot closer to the left hip. And the gallbladder channel, which is connected to the liver channel, runs through the hips and the shoulders. Both the liver and the gallbladder can deal with irritability, some anxiety, gallbladder a little bit more indecisiveness or choices, change and liver energy when we're resisting change or we're struggling with the way that life is and we want to control it and we want to make it how we want it to be rather than flowing with what's actually happening. Like we're at a traffic jam and we're annoyed because it's not clearing. That's a really good example of Libertice stagnation. We want to get on with our lives. We want to keep moving. There's something that's keeping us from going in the direction that we want. But when we're in a flow, we're able to roll with those changes and accept that, okay, there's a traffic jam and I'm going to meditate. I'm going to breathe. I'm not going to let this irritate me. And then we'll come up to our hands, curl the back toes under, come to downward facing dog. Just pedal out the feet, stretch out the backs of the legs, and then we'll take the left foot forward, left knee inside of the left wrist. Adjust the angle of your left shinbone and we'll fold forward over the left leg. And go easy in the beginning. Maybe you stay a little higher up. And as you connect to the breath, maybe your hip starts to open a little more and you can sink deeper into the hip opening.

I think in our culture, the liver energy tends to be the one that gets out of balance the most because we're always in overdrive. We're always in doing and creating and it's hard to stay in flow when we have full agendas and schedules. So if there are things that are stopping you in life, you can use your yoga practice to unblock the energy, create a lot of movement, a lot of twisting, a lot of dynamic poses to unstick the blocked energy that's stagnating during the day. And then we'll come up to our hands, curl the back toes under, press back to downward facing dog. From downward facing dog, we'll step the right foot forward, outside the right hand, and we'll pivot the left knee to the floor. We'll take the right shoulder inside the right knee and we'll take the right hand outside the foot. So this may be enough for you. I'm actually working through a hamstring issue, so I'm not going to go into the full expression of this pose on this side. We have the option of demonstrate it somewhat. You bring the weight to the right hand, keep the left leg strong and straight, and you start to straighten the right leg. I'm not going any further than that because I have a hamstring issue right now. Another option to modify the pose is to bring the left knee down to the floor, take the shinbone to the floor. Same thing, you press the right shoulder into the knee, wrap the outer right hip underneath, and then start to lift the right foot up off the floor. You can even hold on to it with your left hand, or you can start to straighten the leg, and then raise the left arm up to the ceiling. I'm going to keep my knee a little bent because if I go too straight, I can feel it pulling on my hamstring, which is a little injured at the moment. This is Vishwamitrasana. And then we'll slowly bend the knee, set the foot back to the floor, bring the left hand down to the floor. Curl the back toes under, swing the right foot back, come to downward facing dog. And then the left side, we'll take the left foot forward, snuggle the left shoulder inside the left knee, take the left hand outside the left foot. You have the option to bring the right knee to the floor and the shin bone across your mat, or you keep the right leg straight, pivot the right heel down to the floor, come on to the toes of the left foot, press the weight into the left hand, bring the left foot in front of you, and scoop the left hip underneath you. Raise the right arm up and start to straighten the left leg, and breathe. And then we'll bring the right hand down to the floor, swing the left leg back, coming to downward facing dog, and breathing. From downward facing dog, you'll look forward, step or jump your feet to your hands, inhale lengthen, exhale and fold. Inhale, come all the way up, and exhale, arms down alongside the body. You might want to have your block handy for this next sequence. You have the option to either take your knuckles behind your back, or if reverse prayer is available to you, you'll bring the palms of the hands together and the outer edges of the fingers, the hands to the spine. And we'll step the right foot back, keep the left foot forward. Plant the outer edge of the right foot down on the floor, press down through the big toe mound of the left foot, lift the kneecaps up the thighs, lift the chest up, tuck the tailbone under, take a deep breath in, and then with exhalation, we'll fold out over the left leg into pargvottanasana. As you fold, keep pulling the left hip crease back, and keep the spine at least initially parallel to the floor, so you can open up across the chest. But if you have more flexibility in the hamstring, then you can continue to fold forward, and you stay looking at the toe, and breathing. Lengthen the front body. With inhalation, we'll come up halfway, release your hands, take them to the hips, and open the chest forward as you firm the outer hips in. Maybe bring your block next to your left foot. Depending on your flexibility and range of motion, it may be the highest height. We'll take the right hand to the block, and start to twist to the left. Then you'll get a good gauge of if you need the block at that height, or you can go a little lower, or possibly even bring the hand to the floor, and twist. And bring the left arm up towards the ceiling.

Keep lengthening the front body as you reach the sternum forward. And then we'll release the twist. Inhale, come up, and exhale, step to the front of your mat. Take a grounding breath here. And we'll take the left foot back, right foot stays forward. Either the knuckles come together behind the back, or the palms touch, and the outer edges of the hands press into the spine. Pull your shoulders back, chest up, take a deep breath in, and exhale, fold out over the right leg, firming the outer right hip back and into center. Either staying halfway so the chest stays nice and open, or starting to fold forward, as long as you're not just collapsing and rounding the upper back as you fold. Inhale, come up to halfway, bring the hands to the hips, reach down, and grab a hold of your block and bring it inside or outside of the foot if you need it. Place the left hand on to your block or the floor, and then revolve, twisting to the right. As you twist, take the outer right hip crease back, and turn. Raise the right arm to the ceiling, or you can keep the hand at the hip, and breathe. And then release your twist, press your feet, exhale to come up, and exhale, step to the front of your mat. Inhale, arms reach, exhale and fold, inhale, lengthen, exhale, step or jump back and lower. Inhale, cobra or up dog, exhale downward facing dog. From downward facing dog, you'll look forward and step or jump your feet through, coming to seated. Your feet are flexed, legs straight out in front of you. We'll take Marichyasana C, bend the right knee, bring the right heel in front of the right sitting bone. Square your hips off to the front, then take the left hand across to the right knee, right hand behind you. Inhale, lift the chest, exhale, twist to the right. You can stay here, or you have the option to bring the left shoulder to the outside of the right knee, and possibly turn the left arm in and come into a bind, reaching the left hand for the right wrist, and breathing. And then we'll release that. If you're bound, release it, come back to center, straighten the right leg, bend the left knee, set the left heel in front of the left sitting bone, then pull the right thigh bone into the hip socket as you pull the left hip forward. Wrap the right arm around the left knee, start to twist to the left, and then take the right shoulder or elbow outside of the knee. You can stay here, or you have the option to wrap the pose and take it into a bind, holding the left wrist with the right hand. Release your bind. If you're wrapped, slowly come back to center. Just take a moment, reach for your feet, take a deep breath in, and exhale, fold to find a neutral spine. The back of the neck is long, shoulders down the back. Relax your jaw. Inhale, look up. Exhale, release. You have the option to sit on your block if you'd like. We're just going to do a couple of relaxed ujjayi breaths. If you need a little elevation for your hips, go ahead, either a blanket or a block will work. If you're comfortable sitting down on the floor, knees are lower than your hips, then you'll just stay like that. Hands can be down. If you need more energy, we take them up, but when we're calming the liver, it's usually a better idea to just like settle everything, get grounded. So bring the palms down on the knees, roll your shoulders down your back, and lift your chest. All we're going to do is take four counts, inhale four counts, exhale, and we'll do that five times. Slightly toning the back of the throat, the mouth stays closed, and you breathe in and out through the nose. Take a breath in on your own. Exhale completely. Inhale for one, two, three, four. Exhale for one, two, three, four. Inhale for one, two, three, four. Exhale for one, two, three, four.

Inhale one, two, three, four. Exhale one, two, three, four. Inhale one, two, three, four. Exhale one, two, three, four. Inhale one, two, three, four. Exhale one, two, three, four. Take a few breaths on your own. Observe how it feels post practice. And then we'll transition to Shavasana. So just lie down on your backs, palms open to the ceiling, arms alongside the body, feet flopped open. Scan the body, relax and breathe. The liver is also, the liver is in charge of our dream state. So really getting the body to relax, the mind to let go so that the subconscious can come through and speak to us. Scanning the entire body, starting with the tips of the toes, let the toes relax and let go. Moving through the soles of the feet, the ankles, let go. The calves, relax and melt. The thighs, all the muscles around the thighs, relax and melt. The glutes, the hips, the hip flexors, everything relaxes, gets heavy. The belly softens, relaxes. The chest, all of the muscles between the ribs, behind the chest, the shoulder blades, everything relaxes, melts away to the floor. Muscles at the top of the shoulders, relax. The deltoids, muscles at the tops of the arms, all the muscles around the arms, relax. The forearms, relax. Backs of the hands, relax. The palms of the hands, the thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, baby finger, relax. The neck, the back of the head, the jaw, the cheeks, the tongue, the nose, underneath the eyes, all around the eyes, relax. The sides of the eyes, the eyes, the eyebrows, the forehead, the ears, the top of the head, everything relaxes. Backs of the hands, relax, relax, relax, relax, relax, relax, relax, relax, relax, relax, relax. You're welcome to stay here in Shavasana, or you can start to stretch through fingers and toes. Maybe reach the arms up overhead, take a deep breath in, and then bend the knees. Roll over to your right side. And from there, press yourself up to seated. Cross the ankles, bring the hands to prayer. Thank you for joining me today. Please check out the PDF, which has some additional meditations and journal prompts to help you work through irritability or stress within the liver and the horn.

Comments

Jenny S
4 people like this.
I really enjoyed this practice 🥰 a few of the postures were out of my league, but I again employed the use of modifications where possible and all was good.   I could feel the tension in my body melt away, and by the time the pranayama and savasana rolled around I was completely chilled out 🌤️✨ So Nice!
Shawn M
4 people like this.
This was a great class. I've been so tense and anxious lately and this class just helped me melt it all away. Fantastic. I hope you do more like this!
Maria Villella
I’m so glad you both liked it and it helped you feel better!
Laura T
1 person likes this.
Loving this series. How do you find the pdf? I cannot locate it.
Elizabeth M
1 person likes this.
Hi, Laura T - If you are practicing with Maria on the phone or tablet app, you will unfortunately not be able to access the pdf. Just pull up your internet browser on your phone or tablet, go to yogaanytime.com and find Maria's class, and you will be able to see and download the pdf from the website. Does this help? Thank you for being here! 🙏 
Sarah Beston
Feeling such a sense of release and fluidity after this practice, Maria Villella - Thank you!
Maria Villella
Sarah Beston love it!!!

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