Asana Studies Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 8

Relaxing the Belly

15 min - Practice


A magnificent relaxing practice to encourage deep belly breaths and elimination. Heidi demonstrates how to appropriately place the blanket, and then leads us into a practice of receiving and opening. You will experience a quiet, calm, and easy feeling.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket

About This Video

Oct 17, 2015
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(crashing waves) Welcome. We're going to do a practice today called Belly Bolster. You'll need a blanket and a comfortable place to lie down. If that happens to be your mat, so be it. So, find your blanket and open it up to this size, alright.

And then you can come down towards the bottom of your mat and lay your blanket long on the floor with the fringey side away facing away from you. Alright? Then we're going to fold the blanket lengthwise. Lots of different ways to do that, just make it as easy as possible. I like to hold the fringey side and the non-fringey side and accordion-fold it once, twice, three times, four times.

Alright? So it makes this tube, although I kind of have to adjust, right? Don't be afraid to adjust the fold and make it as smooth as possible. So, I just want to lift it up one more time so you can see how narrow it is. It's narrow and long. And then, lay it on the floor, with the fringey side facing the top our your mat.

OK. So we're going to roll the edge that's closest to you, but before we do, I'm going to show you where you're going to place that rolled-up blanket. You want to locate your navel and your pubic bone, so this space in there, right? It's about a good, I don't know, six inches, or less, on most people. That's where the rolled up blanket is going to go. So it's going to go into your low belly area.

Alright? So kneeling down right in front of this long strip of a blanket, you're going to just start to roll it up. If you've never done this before, I wouldn't roll it to far. You don't want it too big. It's a pretty intense practice, so take it easy.

So this is about as far as I'm going to roll my, my blanket up. And you have to hold that steady with one hand and lie down. And you can watch. You really want to place it below your navel, and above the pubic bone. And furthermore, you want to be right on the center of the blanket, not, not wobbled over to one side or the other.

Stay on your elbows for a moment, sort of walk, amble your legs back until you feel that your legs can relax. Alright? And you're just going to stay up on your elbows for another moment, because already you might be feeling the pressure of this rolled-up blanket in your low belly. Like I feel my belly pulse. And if that is creating anxiety for you, then you can always come up and roll your little roll smaller.

Okay. Now, you're just going to lie down. So widen the elbows, you can make a pillow with your hands or you can take the, if you have enough length of blanket under you, you can just turn the fringey side under so you can make a little place for your cheek to land on. And now, this is the play, this is where we are. Release the tailbone, so no bracing.

You can take a little wobble, side to side, so you feel that your buttocks is really not gripped in the least and then you let the legs go, like they want to be heavy and dropped. And you let your head go, it's heavy and dropped. If you have your head turned one way or another, you can, every once and a while, you know, you want to change the direction that your nose is facing. The big toes are moving toward each other, and the heels are falling away from each other. And just breathe here so that you give your body time to adjust to, and mold over, the prop.

Remember to turn your head. Now you can start to wobble and it might mean that you move your arms so that you just let the weight of the body fall, roll to the right make like a ship in the sea, keeling over just a bit. Feel the weight through the right ribcage, the waist, the hip, the buttocks. And then, wobble, roll shift to the other side. Adjust the arms as you need to.

And then come through center, shifting over to the right again. Extend your right arm long, and bend your left knee, it's like the perfect sleep position. Stay here and breathe. Notice that the right edge of the bolster, moving deep into that right belly. Be attentive.

If you start to grip against experience, then breathe. Let it go. Then lenghten your left leg out. Come through center. Take a moment here.

Find center. It's like two halves of the body are pouring out wide over the bolster. And then wobbling, shifting weight over onto the left side of your body. Extend the left arm long along the floor and turn your face towards the knee that's bending. Absolutely no activity in the legs.

Just weight. Dropped. And then, taking that right leg long, come into the middle, take a little wobble, side to side, releasing, over the roll of the blanket. Feel the weight of your exhalation. Without engaging the legs at all, you're going to bring your hands onto the floor, press down, lift your head up, and then walk one elbow and then the other elbow in toward the edge of your blanket.

This can change how the weight is, how your body is molding over the roll of the bolster. You can let the head really drop and be supported on your elbows. So this roundness, the shape of the rolled up blanket, is changing the shape of your body. It's erasing your lumbar curve. So feel the tailbone, the very bottom vertebrae of your spine, right?

Like an earring just dropping straight towards the floor, hanging off the earlobe of your sacrum. So what you might experience is a real width and release of the two halves of the pelvis off the sacrum, away from the sacrum. Don't create that action in the body, but just see, really bring your attention to the roll of the blanket pressing into the front of the sacrum and the body's response to this. Very slowly, incrementally begin to send some energy down the legs so that you bring the very front of your thigh and your kneecaps on the floor. And tune the outer ankles in towards the midline, but you're still released over the roll of the blanket.

Drop your head again, adjust your elbows and your hands so, it's more like a sphinx pose, so the elbows are under the shoulders, the belly bolster is supporting your body from front to back. Do not engage your buttocks or your legs, but lift your head up a bit and see if you can actually look forward without engaging your legs or your butt. So you're really receiving the support of the belly bolster. And it's a scooping feeling of the lowest belly back and up. Drop your head so that now, when the head is dropped, even your lower back, so the very back lower ribs can be wide.

And then commit to the width of the skin and the ribs, and see if you can thread your head forward and up, as if the head were just a natural expression of the release of the legs and the width of your sacrum. Drop your head. Pull your elbows back even further and then press your hands down, forearms down, take the weight of the chest up. You can drop your head. This gives you access to the knees as you lift your hips up, walk your hands back, and come in to child's pose, but bring that blanket with you so that you can lay your forehead on the roll.

And then take your hands back. Hmm, too high for me. So find the right height for your forehead so that you can lay the head down, take your hands back by your feet, and just let the arms roll off the back. Tailbone's still heavy. Memory, the sense memory of the bolster in the belly.

Wide, wide, wide. Bring your hands onto the floor. Take a breath in. As you exhale, tailbone heavy. Tailbone drops like, like a dowser, a divining rod down, down, down into the earth.

And you roll up to sit. And you let the spine unfurl like a little fern. Namaste.


Margi Young
Darya Wenzel
Wow, amazing practice! Thank you Heidi!

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