Therapeutic Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 7

Rest, Restore, and Heal

60 min - Practice
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Description

Cheri, with the help of Jodi, guides us in a restorative sequence designed to bring our nervous system into harmony and balance. With a focus on the low back, hips, and upper chest, Cheri incorporates gentle movement to warm the spine and open the muscles of respiration. This practice promotes deep relaxation and helps to reduce the accumulation of tension, stress, and anxiety. You will feel held and nurtured.
What You'll Need: Mat, Eye PIllow, Square Bolster, Blanket (3)

Transcript

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(waves crashing) Welcome to Rest, Restore and Heal. In this segment, we'll be looking at just a wonderful practice that supports you in healing where ever you are. And it's my belief that we're always healing on some level, so giving your body the perfect environment, the perfect practice to just support that. Today I have with me Jody, and Jody and I met at the Cancer Center in Santa Barbara where she's been taking my therapeutic yoga classes, and it's so wonderful to have you here, thanks for being here. So, we'll start with a wonderful pose that is great for just connecting with the body, and it's starting to open up areas that get tight.

We're gonna work with the low back and the hips quite a lot today, but also the upper chest as well. So, we'll take the bolster and I'm gonna position it here for you, that's it, you can just come off it carefully there and this goes lengthwise behind you, so you'll position your bolster lengthwise behind you. You can sit actually on the bolster for me. Then you'll take an additional blanket and you'll fold it and place it at the far end, and this will eventually become your head and neck support. Now the first pose is a butterfly position with the soles of the feet together.

So go ahead and bring your feet together, knees open, and I'll take a rolled blanket, and you can position a rolled blanket, just taking your yoga blanket or if you have a pillow, that would work as well, and place it under the outside of the leg on both sides, both sides to create that nice support for the legs. Now once you're here, you'll sweep your feet forward a little bit so the feet are not right up towards the pelvis but creating more of a diamond shape between the pelvis and the heels. You might even bring you feet just a little further forward if that feels comfortable for you. Does that feel alright? Okay, now take a moment to close your eyes, and bring your focus inside.

And just take a few deep breaths, as you begin your practice. Perhaps taking a moment to set your intention of what you're opening to receive for your yoga practice today. And as you breathe, just notice the feeling of the breath as it flows in and flows out, and anything else that you may become aware of as you feel in or take a moment to scan your body. It's a wonderful time to meet your body, to turn towards it and to begin to listen to it in a deeper way. Now bringing your hands wherever they feel comfortable, they can stay there or to the knees, as you continue this wonderful breathing, and you can stay in that space of meditation here.

You can inhale and draw the heart forward, pulling gently on the knees, and then as you exhale, leaning back, engaging the stomach muscles, and don't hesitate to round the spine a bit, good. Then as you inhale, your hips will rock forward, your chest draws forward, the elbows stay drawn in slightly towards the ribs, good. And exhale, leaning back. This is a seated cat cow pose, and this can be done sitting on a chair, you can do this at work, but you can also do it here, sitting with the hips on the edge of the bolster, which creates a little bit of lift in the pelvis. Following the rhythm of your breath, your head can relax down as the back of the neck stretches, and then as you inhale, draw forward, lift and open the heart, lift the front body.

Exhale, and back, good. And then just finding your own rhythm, find the movement that feels the best to you, following that gentle flow of your breath, inhaling, and exhaling with this gentle yoga movement. So this is a great way to open up many of the muscles of respiration, the intercostal muscles, and some of the muscles in the chest, and it also helps to warm the spine, to create a flexible spine, and it's always easier to do some of the restorative poses if you're a little warmed up first, so this is a great warm up. And just three more, at your own pace. See what feels the best, the movement that really works for you, and it can be done very gently, and it can be done very deeply, all depends on what's right for you in each moment, so really staying in that space of listening and honoring the communication from the body.

Then you'll pause for a moment, and you'll slide your hips forward now to sit on the floor, so you'll just scoot now into a deeper butterfly position, and you can draw your blankets down and let the heels now move as close towards your pelvis as feels comfortable. So some people like to pull them in, some people like to have them further away, whatever feels the best. And also, if your low back has been bothering you at all, it's tender, you've had a recent back injury, you may have the bolster a few inches from your back. If you want a deeper back bend, you can bring the bolster right up to your back. One thing I like to do is actually push it down a little bit as I come back, so you can bring your hands to the back of the bolster.

Press it down like a little ramp, and then tuck your chin towards your chest and slowly recline back, beautiful. You're gonna bring the blanket under the neck, but not under the shoulders, and the reason for that is we want her to, and you, to receive the best opening through the chest as possible, and if the blanket is under the shoulders it creates a blockage for that to happen. Then let your arms go out to the sides, and find the position for you that feels the best with your arms. This looks really nice. This can be a nice time to take your eye pillow or your scarf or sleeve of a shirt, and place it gently over the eyes.

So when you're practicing at home, when you set your props down, you wanna make sure they're nearby so it's very easy for you to take your eye pillow once you've reclined back and place it over your eyes. Now in this position, you're completely held and supported. The legs are supported, the back is supported. If, as you come into this pose, something feels a little pinchy, and sometimes you'll feel this in your low back, you can actually lift your hips off the floor, tuck your pelvis a little bit, and then set your tail back down, that creates more space in the lumbar. Also, you may have teachers come around and give a little stretch here for you, and one of the nice ones is to just hold the tops of the thighs, and give a nice release as you lean back.

This helps to create some space in the low back, it's a deep stretch. There's wonderful points all through the tops of the thighs as well that are nice to massage, so that can feel good to put some pressure there. Now let's have you once again feel into your body, and take a few breaths. And with each exhalation, just let your whole body sink down into the support beneath you, feeling how you're being held and knowing that in any point in time, you could adjust your neck support, your leg support, you can come out of a pose early if you need to, following the wisdom from within. I think of the body as speaking to us through sensation, so it speaks to us through that little discomfort or the pain or the pleasure that we feel in it, so we wanna follow that information.

So if you're in a pose and something's not feeling right, please don't stay. Find an additional prop if you need it. In this pose, you can come all the way to the floor and just have support under your legs. You could do a strip down the spine instead of the bolster, a little bit lower, even a pillow. One thing you wanna make sure of is that your head isn't tilting back.

Your forehead is level or higher than your adams apple, just to ensure that the neck isn't getting compressed. So those are a few little guidelines to help find that ease and comfort, and then once you do, you can deeply relax into it and really receive the benefits. So one of the great benefits of relaxing this deeply in these restorative poses, is it turns off the stress response in the body, the sympathetic nervous system response, and it turns on the parasympathetic response, the rest and digest and healing mode. So what happens is, when the body's under a tremendous amount of stress, or even a little bit of stress, it has to focus on that. When we move into a state of relaxation, as in yoga brings in so many different poses, this pose is a beautiful pose for that, it helps to bring us into harmony, balance, into the parasympathetic response where the body says, "I'm safe, everything's okay," and it can focus on deep mending and healing which is so important when you're going through challenging times in your life, or when you're going through healing process.

Now eventually you'll just let your breathing, your deep breathing, go and just let your body move into that space where it's just being, it's being a human being, instead of a human doing. So even with the breath, we're not really working hard with the breath, unless you wanted to do some focus breath work, that's fine as well. But let yourself really enjoy the deep opening and the healing that this pose offers. Think of your body, like one of these beautiful roses, just softly blossoming open in it's own time as it's held in this way, and let yourself be fully receptive, letting go of any holding or tension, and just relaxing, receiving, and releasing into the support beneath you. And very gently now, take a few deep breaths and feel as you breath as if your whole body is breathing, expanding and softening with each breath.

It's important to be very relaxed as you transition out of poses, not to rush, to stay with that wonderful essence that you fostered through this very meditative practice, so just when you feel ready, you can slide your hands to the outsides of the legs, and then bring the legs together, supporting them as they come together. You can kick your blanket off to the side a little bit, and then slowly straighten your legs out in front of you. In this position, you can separate your feet a little bit, and do some nice circles with the feet, as if you're drawing a circle with your toes, but then allow for internal and external rotation as well in the hips as well, so you can internally rotate as you circle the toes and then the legs go out as well. We've had the hips in this wonderful, deep open position so, it might feel nice to roll them in as well and roll them out. The ankles are really key for balance, so especially as you get older, you wanna work with ankle flexibility and strength, and this can help keep you from falling and different things that can happen when our ankles get stiff, we start to shuffle a little bit more when we walk, so keeping...

I actually do this before I get out of bed in the morning because it feels so good to warm up the ankles a little bit before you get out of bed. And then go ahead and clasp your hands together, and you can stretch your arms all the way overhead and lengthen here through the side ribs and create a nice long stretch down through the legs and up through the heel of the palms, activating a lot of the yin meridian lines which run through the insides of the arms, and then taking a nice deep, full breath here, and as you exhale, you'll release your hands and bring them down, and once your hands have come down, you can circle your wrists here, so just nice big circles with the wrists. If you want you can open the hands, and so the fingers are open, that's it. But just finding what feels good to you. Exercising the hands and the wrists, especially if you spend a lot of time at the computer, can be really nice, keep it nice and flexible and open.

And then gently release your hands, and you're gonna keep your eyes closed as you remove your eye pillow or scarf, and you'll bend your knees and transition slowly onto your side. You can take the blanket with you that's under your head. You may wanna scoot the pillow or bolster out of the way so that you have some space to have your body on the soft yoga mat or wherever it is that you're practicing, and this is a wonderful place to just pause and feel the effects of your practice, noticing your breath, quality of your breath, allowing your breath to deepen into a soft belly. This can be a nice place to focus the breath from the belly actually into the low back and feel it massaging out any tension in the low back. This is an area that for a lot of people holds a lot of tension, a lot of stress, so this can be a wonderful focus.

And then taking just a few more deep breaths here. To come out of the pose, you'll very slowly bring your hands down in front of you, and as you press up, you wanna try to let your head turn to face down, and keep your neck relaxed as you come up. You're gonna stay sitting side saddle this way, and you'll bring your bolster so it aligns with your right hip, so everyone is sitting side saddle to the right, the knees are to the left of the yoga mat. Then bringing one hand to one side of the bolster, so your right hand to the right side, left hand to the left, but before I take you forward, I'd like to place this additional blanket just between your knees, ankles, and shins, and you can bring your legs forward and up a little bit, good. So, as you come forward, you'll lengthen your spine, inhaling, and as you exhale you'll bend your elbows and come down.

Your head can turn to the left so your right cheek rests, and then just allow your arms to find a comfortable position usually I just let the arms slide out a little bit, so that it feels like you're not propping up on your elbows, so if you find that you're propping up on your elbows, you'll want to just makes sure that you walk your arms out a little bit wider. If it feels too strong anywhere, so if it feels like it's not quite right, you can try moving it around, you can add another pillow or blanket folded on top of the bolster. The other thing, if it feels like it's too much pressure in the chest, you can take a small roll and place it right under the breast bone, the sternum, so that it lifts you up here a little bit and creates a little more space for the chest to be comfortable. Now this is the gentlest variation, and this is great if there's any SI problems, but you may enjoy the deeper variation too, with the left leg drawing back into the inner arch of your right foot. You can always try it and see how it feels, and if it doesn't feel good, you can stay where you are, or stay where you are if that's just feeling delicious, just enjoy that.

Good, now the supported spinal twist, this pose, is a wonderful pose for opening up the paraspinal muscles, releasing tension along the spine. Twists literally wring out the body, like a washcloth, and so it releases tension, it releases toxins, it really clears wonderful things out, or things that need to be cleared out of the body, so it's a time of just letting go into the pull of gravity, and then this side, let your left shoulder get really heavy and as your left shoulder relaxes down into the pull of gravity, that's naturally going to take you deeper into the twist. If your right shoulder at all feels uncomfortable with the arm up, you can always slide it back behind you, so find for you what feels the best. And then just take a few moments to really sink your heart into the earth. I always feel as if the earth is giving you a hug here, it just feels so comforting, and all the organs are really in a place or position of protection, so it's quite nice for creating a feeling of safety.

As you relax, just let your eyes close, and just noticing what you feel as your body is being massaged in this way. I find that not only the physical body gets wrung out, but the energy and energetic body and the emotional body as well. So sometimes when there's things that are being held, emotions that are being held, certain poses can go right into those areas and help that energy to move so, remember to give yourself freedom to feel whatever's there, to meet what's there, and what arises in your practice. These different poses are meditations that take us deeply inside ourselves, where we're able to really connect with these precious gems of wisdom, as we can be more in that space of receptivity and listening. Just resting here, completely letting go, a few more moments that you have here.

And, as you're ready, you'll take a few deep breaths, preparing to transition out of this side and moving to the other side, so when you're ready, you can slide your hands under your shoulders, and pressing your hands down into the floor, you'll slowly roll up. Try to keep your neck relaxed, so let your head relax a bit more, yeah. So there's a tendency in, as we come up, to let the head lead, but see if you can keep the head down as you come up, to really keep the neck relaxed, and then you'll turn to the left. And as you turn to the left, you can bring your knees towards me, so You'll turn a little half circle all the way, all the way, and so you're sitting side saddle now with the left hip, and you'll hand that to me or you can just place it yourself right between your knees, ankles, and shins, stacking the knees, and then I usually like to leave a little bit of space between the bolster and the hip, and that's, you're very slender but, if you have a belly, that can feel a little better to have it more just under your chest and your head. Then both hands to either side, take a deep inhalation, and exhale as you come forward and down.

You may have noticed, and then your arms can go out to the side, you may have noticed I lined up the bolster with her hip. You'll wanna do that, line it up with your hip rather than having it centered on your mat, so that it's in alignment with your spine. That feels the best, I think, when you're coming into the pose. But you can also reposition to find, just where it feels just right, good. And your arms are welcome to come out as far as they need to so that you're not propped up on your elbows at all, and what you'll feel when you do that is the upper back, the thoracic spine and the muscles here can really soften and relax down.

This is a wonderful pose for the spine. Of course if you have any SI issues, this area can get overly stretched from a lot of twisting, and to take care of it, you'll do the pose this way, with your knees stacked, and for a deeper pose, you can always slide your right knee into the inner arch of your left foot, but keeping the leg bent here. So that would be the second choice for those of you that wanna go a little bit deeper. But you'll wanna do what you did on the first side, on the second side, so we're gonna have you bring your leg back, yeah. Always making sure that you're creating a sort of balance, a homeostasis in your body in your practice.

So take a few moments to just take a few deep breaths and begin to soften into that earth embrace, and just let your whole body sink into the support of the earth holding you. And feel how safe you are here, protected, your body held, the support, protecting your organs, that you can deeply relax in this feeling of safety and ease. And then if there's anything that you'd like to clear, anything you'd like to release, you can imagine your body's being wrung out in the most gentle way. You can just breathe it down into the earth and imagine the earth is absorbing it, recycling it, transmuting it. So it could be stress or tension, it could be a worry that you have, or it may be something physically, discomfort, unhealthy cells, whatever it may be, breathe it out of your body and let each fresh new breath come in and nourish you.

Fresh oxygen, positive energy flows in with the inhale, and with the exhale, releasing anything you're ready to clear. Let yourself rest and relax, with each exhalation sinking deeper and deeper down. You'll notice in many of the yoga sequences, we counterpose, so this is the opposite position of having the legs open. There's a wonderful internal rotation and release for not only the hips, but also a good release for the spine releasing from the back bend. So enjoying the areas that are getting stretched and opened, and feeling that just in resting here and being here there's tremendous benefits taking place.

There's nothing that you need to do, you can just rest. And noticing as you're here, what arises for you. It might be quietude, or there may be an image or a feeling. And now taking a few breaths as you prepare to release from the pose and so, when you're ready, you can slide your hands right under your shoulders, keeping your head heavy like a pumpkin hanging on a vine, nice and slow, so the nose can turn down towards the floor, there you go. And you can see how much easier that is too, on the spine, to take it a little more relaxed as you come up.

So I'll remove this blanket, and we're gonna do a pose that's called full moon, and it's a position, a side lying position. Let's have you turn this way first, so both knees are gonna go that way, sitting side saddle once again. Now, if you're a tall person, or you just want a deep, deep stretch today, you can take an extra blanket, and I like to take time to just fold the blankets well, make sure the edges line up and that they're smooth to the touch, and that can be positioned underneath the bolster. That would make it a little deeper. Also, you can add your second blanket that you'll use for a neck and head support, also folded in half.

We'll line up those edges, and fold it in half. And this goes to the left side of the mat, and then once you come into the pose, you can slide it on top of the arm and under your head. Now, because you're shorter waisted, I'm not gonna give you this big high position. I think for you, probably just the bolster is gonna be enough. You wanna center the bolster now so the middle of the bolster's in alignment with the hip, and the right arm will step over the bolster.

You'll take your left hand to your right rib cage, and you'll lengthen over the bolster, stretching that way and straightening your right arm out in front, good, beautiful. You can reach up and clasp the blanket you placed to the left side of your mat. Put it on top of your arm, and just right under your head, good. Now the bolster, you'll find that if it's under the rib cage you're gonna get a nice stretch, but you do want a little bit of a stretch through the quadratus lumborum. It's a muscle, it's a hip hiking muscle that often gets tight and can cause low back pain, so you want it really centered.

If it's cutting into your under arm area, it means you haven't gone far enough over, so you can always take it another notch over, but she looks good here. Now the bottom leg in full moon stays bent. The top leg straightens out, and this gives a really nice stretch through this whole line of the body. If, for any reason, this doesn't feel good, you could put a blanket or a block underneath the foot, but for most people, especially as we roll back, which you'll see in just a moment, it feels really good. Now starting with a gentle circle, and I'm gonna invite you to start with the gentlest variation, which is your fingertips are gonna rest onto that left shoulder, and you'll draw a circle with the point of the elbow, so starting here and just feeling where your body is.

If you've had a recent surgery, if you have a port, if you have an injury in your shoulder, this is a really wonderful beginning movement, so just see how it feels. If this isn't enough and you'd like to go deeper you can start to straighten the arm, and draw a circle all the way on the ceiling above you, big circle, she's got nice range of motion here, and feeling the stretch as you reach overhead, and going back just as far as feels comfortable, and then as you bring the arm down, let the shoulder get a little bit of a stretch. Good, just a couple more, and this is great for milking the lymph through the chest area, it's wonderful for shoulder health. The ball and socket joint of the shoulder does these incredible movements. Look how beautiful, the way that we can reach forward, back behind us with our shoulder, incredible.

And so this is a wonderful pose for bringing some lubrication into the joints. Movement helps to keep our joints juicy. You'll reach up and clasp now your left wrist with your right hand and just gently pull and start to stretch. One of my friends, who's a doctor, he says "Motion is lotion for the inner body," and I love that. When we move we create this great lubrication within.

So now, as you're stretching, just as deeply as feels comfortable for you, you can start to roll back towards me to get a little deeper into the hip flexors, so the psoas, the iliacus muscle. When we sit, they get contracted and shortened, and this is a beautiful pose. Probably just about there, how's that feel? So finding just for you the right amount of depth, but you don't wanna roll all the way back on the bolster. You wanna just roll part of the way, maybe a quarter of the way back or halfway back to get into that area, and you'll feel it when you hit the sweet spot.

And then breathe here, breathe into... One of the reasons I like to teach this for anybody that's healing from cancer is it's very good for the liver gallbladder meridian, and the liver does a lot of work when you're taking chemotherapy, or various medications, so we wanna support liver health, and this is a great way to do it. So breathing, it's also creating a squeeze and soak for the liver. The liver's under the right rib cage, it's getting a little bit of a squeeze here. As she changes sides it's gonna flush the liver and descend energy and fresh blood through that area.

Nice deep breaths, just feeling the body opening with each breath. And from here, you'll take another long deep inhalation, and you'll slowly start to roll back onto your side, and then you'll roll forward just a little bit, sliding your left knee to meet your right. You can remove the support from under your head, and just pushing it out of the way, and then left hand goes down in front of the heart, keeping the head relaxed, the face turned down, and slowly rolling up, beautiful. Then you'll just turn to your left, and you'll bring your knees now to the other side of your mat or the space that you're practicing. Let's have you scoot forward just a little bit so that your hip is centered with the bolster, beautiful.

And then taking your left hand, stepping it over the bolster right hand to your rib cage. Take a moment to reach and lengthen and extend the arm straight up. You can bring the blanket under your head and on top of the arm, not under the arm, but on top, and one thing I meant to mention is that if it's too strong for you to straighten the arm, you can always slide it in front of you and just put more support under your head here. Good, now the top leg goes straight, the bottom leg stays bent, and when you're ready you can start with the elbow point, drawing some circles, and feeling the movement through the chest, under the arm, in the joint. Then when you're feeling ready, you're welcome to take it deeper if you'd like, and I usually recommend going back like she's doing because we tend to get so tight in our pectoral muscles, and the back movement really helps to open the chest, create some lovely space there.

Good, breathing deeply, noticing how this movement feels, lengthening up through the side ribs, reaching back behind you, and then down. Finding your own rhythm, just a few more. Then whenever you're ready, you can reach up and clasp the wrist. You'll clasp your right wrist, that's it, and then start to just lengthen first, reaching through the leg, and then little by little you can take the hip back until you feel a nice sense of opening through the hip flexors and through the liver too on this right side. And then breathing into these areas, nourishing them with your breath and your awareness.

Feel how the breath is bathing these areas with prana, life force energy. The yogis did a lot of focus breath work for activating the chakras and healing. You can use visualization too, so you can imagine that you're breathing in, it can be a force of nature as we did in the previous video, of water or light or a color that feels good to you. I know that even a medicinal mist can be a wonderful visualization. I used that after a surgery that I had and it really was soothing, this visualization of this healing mist, so choosing though the visualization that really resonates with you.

You may find an image arises and you can just take a few breaths into your body, and breathing in whatever image comes to you that feels the most healing, the most powerful. Enjoying the stretch, the area of your body that's opening. It's nice to give time for these large muscles to stretch, it can be very beneficial, especially muscles like the quadratus lumborum which can get so tight from sitting, so this is a great pose for that. As you're ready, you'll take a few breaths right into that right side again, or any place you'd like to send your chi or prana to. And then when you're ready, you'll start to slowly transition.

Remember there's no rush so, you can let go of the top arm, slide it down in front of you. You can remove the support under your neck, and you can draw your right knee to meet your left, and then slowly rolling up, keeping your head relaxed. Let's have you come onto all fours with your head this way, and with the knees a little higher. Actually, let's bring your hands just above, yeah, and your knees a little wider, toes touching, and start to sit back as far as feels comfortable for your body in child's pose. So if your hips are here and that's about it for you, it's fine, you can just bring your forearms and your head down.

She's got a lot of flexibility so she can come all the way down. You can let your head relax, and if you're able to do a full child's pose, great, but if not, don't push yourself there. Find where it works for you, bringing your hips up if you've had a knee replacement or you've got a lot of tenderness in your hips, just honor that and come up to the place where it feels comfortable for you. It looks like your hips are floating, but that's okay, you'll still get a nice opening here. So this is a wonderful pose for bringing flexibility to the hips, the knees, opening the shoulders.

After doing both sides and the twist and then the full moon pose, I wanted to also just give the spine an opportunity to rest in this more neutral place. Another wonderful thing that you can do here is to massage one of the points of calming the spirit in chinese medicine, but it's also a point where we, an area where we tend to furrow our brow when we're worried or we hold tension there when we're stressed, so by gently resting your forehead on the floor, and if your head isn't touching the floor in this pose you can always add a folded blanket, position it, since your arms are open shoulder width apart, you might have to do it lengthwise under your forehead in this pose, but go ahead and let your head come down onto something. It could be an eye pillow, a blanket, or if it reaches the floor, the floor, and then just gently turn your head from side to side, without lifting the head, so you'll massage right across the third eye, from temple to temple. So as you rock from temple to temple, even slightly pressing down which creates this wonderful, like a little steam roller, smoothing out the worry, the concern across the brow, the third eye, and stimulating the calm spirit point which is between the brows. It helps to prepare you to move into that more relaxed place, to prepare for our final relaxation pose.

And then just allowing your head to come back to center, and you'll come back up slowly onto all fours, and then you'll turn around and lie on your back. So you can bring your feet here, and your tailbone towards the bottom, good, and then using your stomach muscles or your hands by your sides as you come back, can create a small roll for your neck once you come back. Gently take your knees towards your chest, and feel free to rock here, from side to side. Now you can also position your bolster, once you're done with knees to chest pose or if someone's handy they can do it for you, or you can do this pose without a bolster under your knees. You're welcome to just rock from side to side, and then come into the traditional shavasana, with your legs straight.

That's it, you can go ahead and extend your legs and relax them over the bolster and blanket combination. I'll place your scarf over your eyes just to block out the light and relax the eyes here, and then I always enjoy bringing essential oils into the end of the session. It feels very sacred to anoint yourself and to breathe in the oil, but it also creates different effects, so you can choose oils depending on how you're feeling, what you need, if you need to go to sleep, or you need to get your energy up. Today I've chosen an essential oil that has some lavender, some orange, and sandalwood, and it's good for stress reduction, stress relief, and relaxation. So you can, once you've administered your oil, you can rub your hands together, you can cup your hands over your nose and just breathe in the scents, being aware of the different scents as they come in.

It becomes a sort of training, a psychoneuroimmunology. When we breathe in a certain scent each time we relax, after a while our body smells that scent and says, "Oh, this is when I get to relax," so it's a nice way to also train the body through scent. Scent is directly connected, the olfactory, to our memory portion of our brain, so that's why a scent can also bring forth a memory. Now in final relaxation, it's often nice to put a blanket over you, especially if you have a tendency to get cool. Sometimes just the weight feels nice.

If it's really hot, you may not need that, but I'm gonna place the blanket over Jody today, and feel free to place one over yourself as well. It's always nice to get tucked in. So moving now into your deep relaxation, as the gifts of your practice settle into your body on a deep, cellular level, let your whole body relax and release down into the earth. And as your body's relaxation continues to deepen, feeling a softening from within, a letting go, visualize now a beautiful cocoon of light encompassing your whole physical form. Feel the quality of this light, the energy it holds for you as it holds you in pure energy.

And within this light, you feel weightless, and as if being lifted by a gentle breeze, you feel yourself floating up, held in this energy, floating higher and higher, growing lighter and lighter, more and more peaceful. We float out into the openness of the sky, enjoying this time of floating in this cocoon of bright energy, just the perfect vibration for your body. You feel your body moving into harmony and balance, moving to a new level of health and wellness. Feel yourself now floating down in your cocoon of light, returning back here into this room. Feel the back of your body now making contact with the earth, and take a few deep breaths, feeling this light that surrounds you flowing in with each breath and supporting you in reawakening, returning from your practice feeling rested, restored, filled with new energy.

And you can begin to awaken gentle movement, turning your head from side to side, wiggling your fingers and toes. I'll slowly remove your blanket. You can take your blanket off or you can keep it on and draw your knees toward your chest one more time from side to side. And then when you're ready, you can slowly transition onto whatever side feels the best to you. Take a few breaths here, fold that a little bit higher, making sure the support under your head is the right height so that your head isn't tilting too much, feels comfortable for your neck.

Then taking a few deep belly breaths, and when you're ready, you can make your way up to seated. Take your time. So there's a bolster right here for you to sit upon. And just noticing how you feel, taking a moment of seated meditation, bringing the hands to the heart, to anjali mudra, and let's chant one om together as we close. Take a deep breath.

(vocalizing) I honor the light, the divine within you, namaste. Namaste.

Comments

3 people like this.
So wonderful to see your lessons unfold on this site! I love hearing your voice, so gentle and calming. This is a great support to our previous training with you and Arturo and I love having you so available. Deepest gratitude!
Thank you for your love and kind words Esther. It means so much to know you are enjoying the sessions! xoxo
Thank you for doing these! I second everything Esther said. Wonderful sequence and I appreciate all of the information you share!! Has helped deepen my personal practice and in turn benefited my teaching skills. You're the best!!
Hi Nicole, I'm so glad to hear you are on Yoga Anytime and can join me on the mat! I just filmed another season last week, so there will more to come! Thanks so much for your sweet note. Sending my love. xoxo
Hi MJ, I think it's fine to suggest comfort as it's not always possible to evenly prop or do the same positioning on both sides. Let's say I have someone with a hip replacement in class, I may suggest the blanket between the legs on both sides, even though only one side requires it. I hope that answers your question. Sending my love xoxo
1 person likes this.
This is the juiciest practice I have ever experienced. Much needed as I deal with unknown health issues. Great release of my fear and tension. Thank you with all my heart Cheri
Dear [Hester, I am so touched to read how the practice supported you to release tension and fear. I know how challenging it can be to have unknown health issues. Sending my heartfelt wishes for your deepest healing and return to radiant health. Warmly xoxo
2 people like this.
Yes, this is wonderful. I am truly grateful to be able to practice with you here. My whole being appreciates this and now the students will too.
Hi Melissa, I'm so glad you are joining me here on Yoga Anytime! Thanks for your sweet note, I'm so glad you will share these practices with your students too! Much love xoxo
Cheri. It's been years since I've had the pleasure of taking a class with you personally, and I now live far away .... but what a treat to find you here. I think in all these years since I started yoga-ing in Santa Barbara in the early 90s, you are still the one I think of as the BEST restorative teacher ever. I've gone places "with you" that I've never reached in any other restorative class. Thank you, for your sweet and tender guidance and your wonderful gift.
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