– For more information and a full transcript of this video, check out Fun4theDisabled.com. When joining us for this video, you need to take some precautions as your health and safety are the most important. To avoid any injury or harm, you need to check your health with your doctor before exercising. By performing any fitness exercises without supervision, like with this video, you are performing them at your own risk. See a fitness professional to give you advice on your exercise form. Strategy for Access Foundation NFP and BYOM Yoga will not be responsible or liable, for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of this video.
– Hi, and welcome to Fitness with Friends, Yoga edition. I am Jackie Gadd with BYOM Yoga, and I’m happy to be here for Strategy for Access, Fun4theDisabled, to treat you to an hour of yoga. I’d like to take a few minutes to go over some of the tools that you could use for your yoga practice, and then we’ll continue on. If you are accustomed to yoga props, you can skip ahead in this video to the part where we begin our breathing practice. Otherwise, let me show you what we have. You’ll be using whatever chair you’re comfortable in. That might mean that you’re staying in a wheelchair. That might actually mean that you are reclined on a bed. It’s whatever is comfortable for you. So that’s your first prop is your body, and whatever you are seated on or reclined on.
The second tool you could use is a yoga block, a firm yoga block. I’ve got two different kinds here. So this is four inches thick. This one is two inches thick. And you’re gonna use those to elevate the feet, to lift the floor, and we may use those as a touch point for our hands. We can also use them, if they are solid, to sit on. We can use them behind our back to create lumbar support. We can also use them as a strengthening tool when we lift the arms up and use them in place of any weights. I would normally not use weights in my class. So those are yoga blocks. Also a strap. So here is an eight-foot strap. It is a cotton web strap with a double D metal ring. You can find ones with plastic rings. All right, here it is, nice, eight-foot. Eight-foot gives you lots of length to be able to reach down and capture a leg and use your hands to lift it. There’s also straps that have extra loops on it if you have difficulty grasping with your hands where you can reach in and lift with a forearm limb. It’s also nice to create balance in the body when you hold with two hands, or to reach behind your back. You can use a towel. Stretchy fitness bands are acceptable in most cases. Some people have latex allergies, they wouldn’t necessarily be useful there. You always wanna make sure if you’re using a stretchy band that it’s in good shape, it’s not old, used, or has any cuts or tears in it.
Another prop could be a pillow, a firm pillow. This is my disco yoga bolster. This is a half size bolster, and this can be used as a lap pillow to create nice pressure like a weighted blanket. It can be used behind the back, the lumbar support, under the seat, for lift for the hips. You can place it on the ground in lieu of a block, giving us cushion under our feet and also elevating the floor. If you’re reclined, this is a really nice snuggle tool, that also can elevate the spine and give you some heart opening. There’s lots of different applications with the bolster. Another option would be a large blanket. You can use a throw blanket. This is a yoga blanket. I folded it up. So here it is folded in half, long end to long end or short end to short end, then in half again, and then cutting across into thirds for a standard fold. This could be sat upon. You can put this on your chair. Again, it makes a nice weighted blanket. It can be rolled up into a tube and used to replace a bolster. Isn’t that nice? It can be placed under the feet, can be placed behind the back, lots of places to go. A towel, a nice beach towel can replace this as well. A beach towel can then be wrapped around the neck and create some cervical support. A beach towel can bridge the gap between a bolster and a strap as well.
So those are the tools that I like to use in classes. You don’t have to have all of them, but if you’re new to a practice, they tend to make things a little bit more facilitated. And if you don’t have access to any of those, perhaps a step stool would be nice for a foot instead of a block, a robe belt could be nice instead of a yoga strap, a nice couch pillow, could be nice instead of a yoga bolster and just kind of squish it up. So those are all the props we could use. We’re gonna take a quick pause and then get settled for our yoga class. I’m gonna put my bolster on the ground so that my feet have something to root into.
And we’re gonna start with pranayama. Check our time. Pranayama is breathing exercises. So press your feet gently into the ground. Maybe you wanna put a weighted blanket or another pillow on your legs so you have that sensation of moving down into the ground, (loud exhale) like you’re rooting. We want that sense of safety and comfort. (loud exhale) And then as we can, gently engage the low belly towards the spine, not a locking out, but a postural support. Shoulders will drop down and back. We’re creating that proprioception awareness. Where are our body parts in space? Let’s breathe a little softness into that space. Take an inhale. Imagine that middle portion of your belly, right above the belly button but below the ribs is opening. And then let it relax as you exhale and then create a little gentle squeeze. Let’s repeat, allowing it to open, your diaphragm activates. Relax that space. Let it start to come in and then squeeze gently. You may start to hear an echoing of your breath. Continue like this maybe for five more breath cycles. Seeing if you can slow your inhales and your exhales down, no rush, no panic. Finding that rhythm of the breath, that up and down. Take your time. You might hear the phrase, “Go with the flow.” Let your tongue be easy in your mouth. You feel that softness coming from the inside? And it’s balanced out with the strength of your body continuing to be aware, and breathe, holding your posture. In to out, out to in, there we go. Hopefully you feel settled and grounded here.
We’re gonna move into a little bit more active part of our yoga practice, our asana practice. So I’m gonna keep my feet on the bolster so I have a nice grounding sensation. I’m pushed to the back of my chair. Take our hands down. If you have arms on your chair, just press them out. Thumbs will turn out. Let’s roll those shoulders back. Lift the heart. The head may drop back ever so slightly. And as you create that little bit of arch in your back, I want you to hug your belly button in a little bit. We’re not going for the biggest back bend. We’re just taking a little open the heart stretch, inhale here and bring everything back to center. We’re gonna call this the “How Wonderful.” And we can add another layer onto this. So what if we sweep the arms up, inhale, this time as we exhale, those arms come down and open the heart. How Wonderful. Inhale, sweep the arms up, go right into it. Press your feet down. Exhale. How wonderful! Wonderful, we’re opening our heart. Taking deep inhales and exhales bring the shoulders back, bring the hands back. How wonderful indeed. Each time you do that practice, perhaps you’re thinking of something that you’re truly grateful for. An affirmation can go a long way in sustaining your practice, elevating your mood, positivity. Let’s take one arm up this time, one arm and make a nice big circle with that arm. Reach it to your range of motion. Two more circles all the way around. You’re working on becoming aware of that shoulder joint. Are we there? Let’s reverse direction. Up and around. Now this may seem like a very, very sedate yoga practice, but it is all about the body awareness. So you can put more into it; make the circles less, make the circles greater. Let’s try the other side. I have a sore shoulder, so I’m gonna make my circles not quite as big. And I don’t need to maneuver on my chair that much to try and make my circles big. I’m checking into what I feel for the day.
Come back around, inhale as you lift up and exhale you bring it back. Finding that balance, all the way around. (audible sigh) If you’re able, maybe bring your hips to the center of your chair. If you’re in a wheelchair, stay back towards the back of your chair. We want everybody to stay safe. Our overarching rules in any yoga class would be: stay breathing, and stay safe. So now I know my feet can reach into the ground strongly, I’m gonna sit up tall. We’re taking gentle twists for our backs. So these twists might be greater for your body or smaller. We’re gonna work on the cervical spine, the thoracic spine, and the lumbar spine. We’re gonna roll one shoulder back gently, not a huge pull, but roll it back and open the heart to the side. Exhale when we get there, feel the belly muscles lifting in and up, and then we have this neck.
Let’s add the cervical spine. Turn the head over the back shoulder. Create a sense of gentle hugging together of the knees to keep your torso, your lower hips and belly facing forward. Inhale, lengthen your spine. Exhale, create maybe a tiny bit more of rotation, not to twist as if you were a towel. Not to twist it so hard, but maybe just, (loud exhale), bring it back. Just give it a little bit more, (makes a soft vocalization) something. Just that little more (gently and softly vocalizes). We’re not trying to be forceful; we’re trying to be gentle and loving to our backs. Let’s try the other side. Inhale, we’re feeling the ribcage lift up, gently getting taller and then we’re peeling the other shoulder back. The ribcage is rotating. The heart is rotating. The belly muscles feel like they’re rotating. The hips face forward and then the head may turn towards the back shoulder. Mine is not going there. We can release the head a little bit and then exhale, start to rotate the head more adding in the cervical spine if you want, and then come back forward. Exhale. (loud exhale)
So experiencing the twist for our first round. Let’s reach for one leg. Feel free to grab your strap if you wish. I’m gonna make a loop and let it drop to the floor where I can put my foot inside of it. Remember, (slaps thigh) these are heavy body parts so we’re not trying to hoist them to the sky. We’re trying to give them just a little, sense of lift, making some space between our foot and the floor if at all possible. We don’t need to rock our body a lot. So if the foot doesn’t leave the floor, it’s okay. It’s creating that sense of energy lifting up in the leg, and rooting through the sit bones. All right, take an inhale. As you exhale see if the leg lifts anywhere. You may bring your knee to your belly. Your foot may barely skirt the ground. Either way is fine. Inhale, sense of lowering, exhale, knee to chest. Inhale lower, exhale knee to chest, nice and gentle. Inhale. Exhale. Last one, inhale, and exhale, and release. To switch feet we’re not gonna fish around for the second foot, we’re just gonna slide it right there in and bring the other one. Our standing foot, the one that’s not leaving the ground, presses down. You may even put a blanket over that leg to help create that down sensation. We take an inhale, and the exhale’s where we add the power. Lift, and lower. Inhale. Exhale. Feel a little bit like an oil derrick. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, we’ve done that drive. Exhale, down 101 in California. and then release.
Switch back to your first foot. Okay? We’re gonna open that leg out. If you don’t need the strap, that’s fine. You can also hold the pants leg. Independently, maybe move the leg a little bit out. Be wary of the shape of your chair. We don’t wanna be pressing body parts into the chair and create any bruising. The other leg may walk out and it may straighten out. The first thing that happens is the toe wants to come up. So we wanna turn that toe down to the ground. I’m gonna back my chair up just a couple of inches so you get enough nice view of this. There we go. See that foot? The toe is gonna reach down to the ground. So let’s rotate our ankle a little bit. Get a little ankle flexibility. When we press the toe down to the ground, your knee may wanna curve in like this so let’s push the outside edge of the foot into the ground. Now, if you don’t have a lot of mobility in the legs, keep them where we started. Keep them here. We can still do the upper body work. In the mind, create the form. Right? In the mind, create the form. You can let your strap rest. Inhale, your heart will now point forward and your arms will extend out. Warrior pose.
When you’re ready, carefully rotate your neck so that your head is pointing in the direction of your bent knee leg. Let’s give our shoulders a little work. Palms will flip up, inhale, take the arms up. One or both arms, flip the palms out, exhale, press them down. Feel that power? As you are pressing down there’s that sense of lift. Inhale, arms go up, exhale, press down. And then let’s bring all the body parts back to center. So I’m gonna bring my hands in first, walk that bent knee in, and then help my other leg in. And to keep the body balanced, we do both sides, Bent knee foot. So I’m gonna help that leg move out. If you want the strap, you can have two straps. Other leg will extend out, foot goes up, take some nice ankle rotations. When we do foot yoga, I call it toe-ga. (loud exhale) Focus on the breath. If you were to sit through this entire sequence and do that beautiful sonorous breathing the whole time, you are doing yoga. Let’s reach the toes towards the ground. And if you can turn them in a little bit getting that nice stretch in the outside of the leg. We do not wanna collapse on the inside of the ankle. So if that’s happening to you, press through the outside of the foot, ultimately turn the heel in and take this wide-legged stance. Let these leg muscles take a little bit of extra effort, to bring that outside edge of the foot to the ground. So take your time.
When you’re ready, with your sit bones on the chair, rotate your heart towards the front and take the arms out. Press your feet down. You’ll sit up taller. Watch the difference. If I let my legs become a little passive, and then if I push my feet down, and if I were to actively press into my legs; this leg coming rolling in, this leg pressing down, helps me create that belly lift in and up. It’s nice to have hands to help massage the body parts into place. So if you have somebody your practicing with, they can always help create that energetic awareness. Take the arms out, inhale, reach the arms up. Let’s do that shoulder strength and I’ll flip the palms up, press down. One more time. Inhale, lift up. Flip the palms out, exhale, gaze over the bent knee side. Take another breath. Beautiful inhale, and exhale. Release the arms. Bring the legs back into center.
We’re gonna do some mock push-ups, mock push-ups. So imagine you have your hands on the floor. Careful on your wrists. So we’re just flexing or extending at the wrists. Inhale here. As you exhale, hug those elbows in towards your waist and pull the heart up and forward. Take an inhale here. As you exhale, press the feet down and push an imaginary floor away from you. Straight arms, inhale, exhale. Squeeze, feel strong across your chest. Inhale here. Exhale. (loud exhale) In. Ex. (loud exhale) So we’re moving on the exhale In, ex. Two more, in, ex. In, out. Last one. In, out. In, out.
Walk the knees a little bit apart. Take the arms to a cactus, arms to a cactus. Hold here, hold here and breathe. Can you press the knees out a little bit? If you have room on your chair, press them out as wide as they comfortably go. If your chair restricts you, just hang out where you are. Make sure you’re pushing down with the feet creating that intention of downward energy and outward energy. When the arms go up, can create a sense of lift from the underarms up. The shoulders need to drop down. Imagine you’re holding a beautiful, glowing orb between your hands and it’s encompassing your head. All right, walk the legs in. Let’s take our orb, pick up our orb helmet, lift it up, bring the hands all the way back down to our heart. That’s our sun salutation. It warms the body. It’s a way the ancient yogis used to honor the coming in, usher in the coming in of the day, as well as create warmth in the body, prepare themselves for whatever the day was going to bring and the rest of their yoga practice. Sweep your arms high, we’ll do How Wonderful. (audibly sighs) Let’s do three of them. Inhale, arms up, exhale. Arms up, notice how we’re moving on the breath rather than breathing and then moving afterwards. All right. Neutral hands.
Let’s spin our heart gently over to the side using the core muscles, inhale, and exhale. Even if the knees shift, there’s a gentle hug in between the thighs. Let’s lengthen from the crown of the head up. And as you exhale, rotate the head in the direction of the back shoulder, no force, just gentle encouragement, and then bring it all forwards, inhale and exhale. You feel how that kinda moves stuff around in your core, massaging the muscles of the back. Let’s go to the other side. Sit up nice and tall. As you exhale, rotate the chest, Gentle hug between the knees. Back feels safe, inhale again, exhale, rotate the head towards the back shoulder, hold for an inhale and an exhale. (sighs audibly) And then counter rotate, come out of your pose. Find your strap for leg lifts. You can also do it without the strap. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, lift low, lift high, whatever feels right to you. Exhale, just three on each side. Notice that I don’t wrap the strap around my hands. It’s a singular grip, so that I’m not creating any discomfort in the hands or aggravating any arthritis, inhale, exhale, inhale, here’s me using my hands on my thigh, exhale. And inhale, exhale, release the foot to the ground.
I’m gonna leave the strap to the side. Please feel free to use it for your body. One knee will open. Other leg will extend, do a little ankle rotation to start. And then reach the ball of the foot to the ground. See if you can press the heel away while the toe points in. So your feet kind of look like this position. Kind of like they’re an arrow. Drop the sit bones into the chair, inhale, lift the belly, exhale, rotate the heart towards the front edge of the chair and the head over the bent knee side. Let’s inhale, take the arms high, exhale, flip the palms out, press down and imagine you’re lifting yourself up. Spread your fingers wide, activate energy, and then relax them a little bit. Did you feel that power? Bring the hands to the heart, hold here. Inhale, as you exhale, lean a little bit to your right. Instead of crunching up, can you feel like you’re taking your whole side ribs off to the right? Push, your left, your right, well, I’m leaning to the right. Push your left foot down a little bit more. Feel how that balances you. Maybe if you’re leading to the right onto a bent right leg, take the right hand down, take the left hand up, side angle pose. We add it into our sequence. (sighs audibly) Press down into both legs to lift up, bring the hands to your heart, and bring all body parts back to center.
Notice how your hips feel on each side. Notice how your shoulders feel. We don’t wanna aggravate any injuries, any dysfunctions, but we wanna feel strong and enabled. Let’s take the other knee out, the other leg out, work that ankle, work that ankle. If you normally wear any kind of brace on your legs and this motion isn’t gonna work for you, don’t take it off. Just do the best you can, as long as your leg is supported. You can put, watch this, cushion underneath. So now when I turn my foot out, I have something to press my foot into and my knee isn’t at risk. So that helps. It may take a little more finagling in your practice but, we want the body to be safe. Here we go, inhale. Exhale, extend the arms. Reach up, flip the palms out. You can’t see that I did that, I went off screen. And gaze to the other side. Hold here in your Warrior II pose, Virabhadrasana II, inhale, and exhale.
Option to add our new pose, side angle, hands to the heart, root down through that outside leg and create a tiny little tick-tock in your body. Feel how your other leg needs to get really powerful. Maybe that arm comes down and the other arm goes up. Feel that side waist opening. (audibly sighing) Push down into both legs, lift up with strength from your core, draw energy from the earth up and then bring everything back to the center.
Let’s move into our “push-ups.” Push-ups. Get set up. Knees will be hip distance apart. We don’t want to squeeze them together here; we want them in a neutral space. We’re gonna take the arms in front of us, fingertips are just above shoulder height. Wrists are kind of, sort of, at shoulders, inhale, brace your core. You have an option to hold here and plank and not move the elbows. So each exhale, you’re (loud exhale) you hear that loud, echoing exhale? Hold for five, four, you’re doing the push-up. Extend on the inhale this time. Squeeze on the exhale. So you choose. Don’t bring the fingertips to the shoulders. We’re just hugging it in at waist height, inhale, exhale, or I should say chest height, sorry. That’s three, four. Last one, whether you’re holding or whether you’re pushing. Squeeze. Release, let’s walk the knees apart.
Take the arms to cactus. Take the arms to cactus. Palms will face your head, like you’re fanning yourself cause you’re your own biggest fan. Knee will press out. Take an inhale, maybe extend the arms as you exhale. Bring those elbows in like you’re puffing up your chest a little bit. Squeeze like you’re trying to touch the elbows behind you. They don’t have to go way up behind you just squeezing ’em in as if they could pass through you and touch. Inhale, reach up, exhale, squeeze the elbows in. Option: lift a heel. One of ’em, get a little foot articulation. Inhale, reach the arms up, exhale, lift the other, the other heel, put the first one down. And then this last time through you have an option of doing both heels. There are options, inhale, exhale both up. We’re gonna release, inhale, and bring it all back to center.
You guys are doing great. You should be proud of yourself. Get some water if you need it, always, right? Every 20 minutes we take in two ounces when we’re doing a physical activity. More, if you’re doing a more intense aerobic activity. I’m gonna put this down. (sighs) So we’ve done our warming up. Maybe we go for some more thoughtful stretches. If you have a block handy, or a second chair, or a step stool, go ahead and grab that. We’re gonna do some side bending. Be mindful of your shoulders and your balance on the chair. I’m gonna place my block right next to me right next to my hip. You’re also welcome to scooch back on the chair and allow the back of the chair to help guide you. We’d like to avoid bowing forward, creating a forward curved spine, kyphotic spine, doing our best to hold ourselves open. So support yourself however you need to. One hand will be down on the side of the chair. It can also be on that second chair, here’s my pantomimed second chair, or a step stool, or I have this block. Notice how it’s a little bit far from my fingers. So if I find that I can’t really touch it easily when I start to lean, and I’m leaning in and down instead of out and down, then I’m gonna use my chair seat, and I can make a tiny bit of room here.
Here we go. Find your chair seat to start, or your second seat, your other surface. If you’re sitting on the ground, you’ve got that other arm will start in cactus, palm facing your head. You’re gonna lengthen through that opposite side of your body. Shoulder doesn’t come up, you just elongate the ribs and then squeeze into your other ribs and take a side bend. Imagine you’re opening the upper side ribs, like blinds. Then once you find yourself in a nice arc, I just touch my fingers down. I’m not so much reaching out as I am reaching down. (loud exhale) This arm may straighten if it feels good. Now I don’t wanna put so much weight on this block that I can’t help myself get up. That’s important. That’s not safe. So I’m gonna bring this arm down, transferring some body weight back to my chair and with my core, lift up, big stretch. If those areas have not been stretched in a long time, you know, and a long time might be overnight, you’re gonna make sure that you come back nice and slowly.
Let’s switch sides with our tools. Okay, here we go. Starting position, half a cactus. Inhale, lengthen, exhale, squeeze into the downside. So just my fingertips are touching and I can’t really put weight on those. I don’t wanna bend a fingertip backwards so I’m gonna stay on the chair and this arm may go overhead, it may stay close. The lower shoulder needs to root down into my back. So much about our practice is becoming aware of what our body’s doing, as opposed to that, you know, “I don’t know. I can’t see it, not looking at it. I can’t feel it.” And not to be dismissive. It’s just reengaging with what’s ours. Let’s lift up. Finding that energy, that has us aware of all our body parts. Okay. Doesn’t that side and stretch feel good? Hope so, I hope so.
We’re gonna do a forward fold, so if you’d like, your second chair, your block, can come in front of you. You don’t have to, this can be done at a wall. Forward folds are lovely for rejuvenating your energy or taking it down, cause as you come back up, you’ll feel refreshed. I’m gonna take my blanket, excuse me, my bolster and put it on my lap. It’s a little extra support for the belly so that your back doesn’t have to do a lot of work. Inhale, elbows to knees or elbows to blanket or block. Walk your sit bones back. If bending forward is something that you and your doctor have agreed is not for you, just take an upright seated pose and breathe into your belly. If bending forward works for you, notice I can use the block and the bolster. Shoulders are not up at my ears. I wanna pull them down away from my ears, keeping good alignment, keeping those shoulders, those rotator cuffs, really safe. (sighs audibly) As I have support for my upper body, I can create traction for my low back. Notice I took my knees apart. (sighs audibly) Can you feel how your heart rate just starts to go down as soon as you take your gaze towards the floor and you tell yourself this is a calming pose? Maybe it feels good to relax the neck.
The hard part? Committing to coming up. So lift the head back to neutral, very slowly inhale, pause for your exhale. Depending on how far forward you are, maybe you bring elbows back to knees, or hands back to knees. And as you’re rising, you inhale and exhale as you feel those sit bones root back into your chair. And then you celebrate your new hair do. (chuckling softly) Yoga hair, don’t care.
Move your props out of the way. We’re gonna do tree pose. Tree pose in a chair, so shrub. Bolster optional, block optional, strap optional. You can do bare-root roses. One leg is gonna turn gently sideways. The toe stays on the ground and the heel connects to the ankle of the other foot. We wanna keep some connection between the two legs if at all possible. That may mean that you put a foot up on a block. If opening the knee out doesn’t work for your hips, absolutely, nice to do that. Hey, guess what? You can also do this. We’re maintaining an energetic connection between the two legs by holding the block and we’re creating that lift in the low belly. So pick something. Look, I can even put my feet together here. Something that’s creating an energetic connection between the two legs, and we have a sense somatically of a balance. Here I am. There you are. Bring your hands to your heart. Gentle pressure between the palms, feeling like you’re energizing, balancing out left to right.
Option: start to send the hands up. Use the energy from pushing down into the feet to create a safe sense of you being able to lift up. And know those hands can come right back down. There is no obligation to take the arms up. There is no, it is a goal. It is the point of the pose. The point of the pose is to feel like the tree, whether you look like the tree to an outside observer or not. And what kind of tree do you wanna be? Are you deciduous? Are you winterizing? Are you an evergreen? A palm?
Bring the limbs back towards center. What we do on one side, we do on the other. We create the energetic balance and the experience to notice any changes, any shifts, any differences. And it doesn’t have to be identical on both sides because we’re not identical on both sides. So you may have a hip that is more flexible on one side than the other. Start with the hands at the heart, press down into the ground. Inhale, maybe you extend, maybe you open. I can be a barrel cactus; here are my spikes. Let’s bring the hands back to center, and release.
We’re heading towards the end of class. And we’ve done our balance poses. We’ve done our energy lifting poses. We’ve done our stretching, and then we’ve done our balance poses. So we’re gonna move into the back of our chair again, get set up for our meditation. So, you can put your feet up on something. Maybe a block, maybe a couch, maybe you enjoy and are able to get into a position where you are fully reclined. All beautiful options. Palms up, gives you a nice heart opening, shoulders dropping, also lovely. The weighted blanket on the lap is nice. I’m gonna move my bolster and take my blanket. Being warm helps. And allow me, in these last minutes of our class together, to talk you through a body relaxation. So take from it what works for you and let the words that do not resonate with you pass over. And then when we’re done with that, I’ll wake us up, back into the present moment, and we will say our closing greeting, closing salutation.
So if you’re comfortable, close your eyes. Either way, draw your awareness to the top of your head and imagine warmth spreading down and soothing and softening the flesh from the top of your head, down your face, allow it to reach the inner ear and throat, so that any tension you feel in your neck, inside, starts to dissipate. Allow the lower jaw to be separated ever so slightly from the upper jaw, put the tongue to fill the mouth. Tip of the tongue touching that space right behind the front upper teeth. You may need to swallow to create that sense of relaxation. Feel as if the ears are aligned over the shoulders. Allow the upper arms to melt, and the forearms to melt, and the fingers to take their natural curl away from the palms. Maybe you feel as if you have two beautiful pearls, one at the center of each palm, holding your hand open. (sighs audibly) Feel the side ribs, softly opening and closing still with the breath, that gentle rhythm of the chest rising and falling you may even be noticing your heart beating, the rhythm, slower and slower, finding its peaceful cadence.
Become aware of the muscles in the back body. Can you soften them and let the chair, or your support, hold you? Your muscles in your abdominals, rising, lifting, and falling to the rhythm of your breath, but knowing that they need not clench, crunch, sit up, or do any athletic maneuver for the next few moments. Allow the low belly to soften. Allow it to be a bowl of creativity, and passion, and happiness, swirling with potential. Allow the space where the thighs connect to the torso to feel at ease and the inner thighs to melt away from one another, the outer hips and glute muscles soften, the knee joints to feel more open, and free. The shins and calves releasing tension. Become aware of the feet, the heels, the tops of the feet, the spaces between your toes, the sole of your feet, the soles of your feet.
And as the flesh on the surface of your body softens, the muscles relax, the bones grow heavy. The body continues its rhythmic breathing metabolizing, digesting. You find this space between awake and asleep. Some days more awake, some days more asleep, that we call the most difficult posture, Shavasana, where we work to calm the fluctuations of the mind, and create some space between, what was, and where we’re going. Let’s take just another minute here, relaxing and releasing, and I’ll call you back, to finish the class. Be in no hurry, enjoy the peace.
On your next inhale, see if you can draw a little bit more and a little more, and a little more, and open your mouth and let it all out. (loud exhale) Wiggle those toes and fingers, spread them wide and create gentle fists and lemon toes like you’re squeezing something, and then release. Start to create small movements in your body. If you’ve reclined, perhaps you’re turning onto a side. For those of us in a chair, we’re allowing our feet to find solid purchase on the ground or wheelchair pedals, or a block, and then we adjust our hips so that we can sit upright with supported spine. Take your hands and rub them together. Create some warmth if you can, perhaps if you’re practicing with somebody else, you want to face one another.
Once those hands are warm, place them over your heart. First and foremost, we thank our bodies for all they do, (loud exhale) and we can place our hands together and we thank the universe for the opportunity to share this class with you, for all the people that came together to create it. And then you and I, we bow to each other in gratitude. The word for that is Namaste. And I say to you, in this moment, Namaste.
Thank you for joining us. Strategy for Access, Fun4theDisabled, Fitness with Friends. Again my name is Jackie. I’m with BYOM Yoga. You can find me at byomyoga.com. I’d be happy to hear from you. Reach out to all the website links and I look forward to more yoga practice. Take care.