Class #4643

Shoulder Tension Release

45 min - Class


Ease tension in your hips, spine, and shoulders. Christi Idavoy begins class with nourishing hip open and spinal twists. You will then move into creative shoulder openings. With all the twists and rotations you will feel a sense of renewal and release. Make sure to have a chair nearby to end your class with an inversion. Enjoy the wisdom and support of Christi as well as the ground beneath you.
What You'll Need: Mat, Table Chair

About This Video

Sep 24, 2021
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Hello, thank you for tuning in today. So in this class, we're going to have a look and an experience at releasing our shoulders, our rib cage, and into our hips. Towards the end of this segment, you will need a chair. I've got this bench here. We are going to do something where our legs will come up.

So you'll wanna have an Ottoman, do this close to the side of your bed. Just be in a space where you'll be prepared to put your legs up as we near the end. So to get started, we'll come onto our back. Let's go ahead and lie down. And we'll just start bringing our feet onto the ground for a second, and just really tuning into the soles of the feet on the ground, sensing through our toes, through the balls of our feet, and through our heels.

And then traveling up the body, sensing the area of the pelvis, and feel free to bring your hands to the front of your pelvis. Just tuning into how it feels against the floor on the backside, and how it feels under your hands on the front side. Does one side feel different than the other? And then scanning up the body with the hands on the front of the body, coming up towards the rib cage. And as we inhale, we'll encourage the breath to slow down a tiny bit, inhaling a little bit fuller, a little more expansive, and noticing how the back of the ribs move into the floor, how the front of the ribs move into your hands, if and how.

They may not necessarily do that or you may not necessarily feel that And then bringing the arms out to the sides with the elbows bent in a goalpost, or a scarecrow, or a capital letter E position. And if you ever feel any discomfort, any sharpness or achiness, please slide your arms lower, bring your limbs closer to your body. Generally is the rule. Otherwise find the angle where you're a bit more open. So there's so many options of where we can place our arms in this particular instance, find the angle that allows the back of your shoulder and the top of your arm bone that's meeting the shoulder feel like they're in the best potential for letting go and falling into the earth.

Inhaling slowly and fully, as you exhale, releasing into gravity, and again, just noticing how does one side compare to the other? What's the surface area of the body feel like against the floor. As you inhale slowly, can you sense the breath moves more on one side than on the other? Simply noticing if those things are very subtle and hard to tell, and then when you feel ready, you'll bring the arms down at your sides, and on your following exhale, gently glide your right knee towards your chest, place your right hand on your right knee, and then exhale your left knee into your chest. Place your left hand on your left knee.

And just pause for a second and notice what that did to your low back. How does the relationship of the back of the pelvis, ribs, and shoulders now change? And we're just gonna gently rock ourselves from side to side here. Feeling though that we're really falling back into the mat as we roll off to one side and then slightly roll off to the other side. So it's emotion that's starting to occur from just letting go.

If you let one thigh start to fall out to the side, it'll rock your body. And then the other thigh kind of comes over and rocks your body. With every breath, and every time that you move through the center, where you're on your spine, keep reminding yourself that you're lying on the floor. That you're intentionally falling back into the mat, falling back into the support. And now, when you're ready, you'll pause in the center, we'll place the left foot down and then the right, and we'll separate the feet about as wide as the shoulders.

If you want, as wide as your mat, bring your feet in a little closer together. So that they're just a bit wider than where your sitting bones are, or just a bit wider than the width of your head. And now again, on the following inhale, we'll bring the arms up into that capital letter E position. And again, if you find that your shoulders start to feel weird or any part of your body starts to get a bit achy, always make a change. Do something rather than just staying in the discomfort.

Inhale slowly and fully while you're in the center. And as you exhale gently allow your right knee to start moving out towards the ground, going slowly and notice how it picks up the back of your left hip. Go as far over to the side, as it feels comfortable and inhale. And as your exhale in gently roll right knee in towards the center, and notice at what point the back of your pelvis settles onto the mat again. Inhale and allow your left knee to roll out slowly enough so that you can sense how your pelvis is moving off of the mat, the right side of your pelvis when your left knee falls out.

And as you're ready, pulling the left knee back in towards the center, noticing what happens through the back of your pelvis. And so as your heavy leg rolls out towards the floor, notice how your pelvis is wrapping around the back of the standing leg. And as your knee rolls back in towards the center, notice how the pelvic bowl returns to its center. So we'll just play with this a few more times, and rather than focusing on the leg out and the leg in, bring your awareness to what the back of your pelvis is doing. And we've heard the image, right?

The timeless image used of the bowl to represent the pelvis. Notice how one side of the bowl is sliding up around the thighs. And then that side of the bowl slides down, and the other side of the bowl slides up. Notice the way that you place your leg down onto the ground and the way that you move away from the ground. Are there moments where there's a loss of control or where it speeds up or get slower?

We'll just do this one more time, bringing more and more awareness to the quality of smoothness of release, and of allowing the pelvis to do what it feels it wants to do. Every time you come back through your center, you have an opportunity to soften your chest, soften your lower back, soften around your jaw. And the next time that you're lying on your back, go ahead and stay there, inhale and reach the arms up and over your head, exhale and take a long yawning stretch. Literally trying to provoke a yawn. And when you're ready, you'll interlace your hands.

Bring them to the back of your head, making a pillow for your head. And again, inhaling while you're in your center. Again, as you exhale allow the right knee and thigh to gently roll back out to the side, pick the back of the left hip up in off of the mat. Now, this time, stay here, press down into the left foot, reach the left knee away from you as if you want it to travel away from your head. So you're not necessarily taking the left knee down towards the floor, but instead feeling like we wanna move it in a diagonal away from the head.

Release in your shoulders, and then release the pressure under your left foot. That'll bring the back of your left shoulder down. Bring the right knee in, and that'll bring the back of your left hip down. Let the left knee roll all the way out. Notice where the back of the right hip lifts off the mat, then stand into the right foot, reach the knee away.

Notice how that pulls up into your ribs and your armpit. Keep the pressure under your right foot, and soften in your upper back, soften in your chest and in your ribs. And then again, release the pressure under the right foot so that the right hip starts to fall back. And the left knee finishes rolling the pelvis all the way in. So we'll just continue this movement.

The leg rolls first out to the side. We witnessed the pelvis rock. Then we stand into the foot, and that reaches the knee away from the back of the head, the back of the head and shoulders falling into the mat. Release the pressure under the left foot to return. Let the right knee come in.

Notice your timing as you roll from side to side. For example, when you're releasing the weight under the foot, notice the timing between the back of the shoulder falling down, and then at what point does the knee start rolling into center? So that the body feels supported by the sequence of movement. Feel free to allow this to become a little more rhythmic. While still keeping the speed at one that your mind can follow along with the sequences.

So the heavy thighbone falling out, the pelvis rocks, then the foot stands. The reach through the knees starts to peel the side of the body off, the left shoulder returns down. The hip starts moving towards the mat, and then the knee rolls back in just in time so that the low back and sacral area feel very supported, very nurtured, very taken care of. Moving slowly enough and waiting for the tempo of your breath will allow your nervous system, will allow all of your systems to work with a higher efficiency to understand that there is no threat right now. There's no need to hold on to any patterns of protection.

We're able to let our guard down in our neuromuscular system. And now the next time that the right knee falls out, and the left foot is pressing down and the knee reaches away, pause there for a moment, and now continue to bring the left knee down and over towards the floor. You can leverage the inner edge of your left foot for that. Notice how that starts to pull up on your left shoulder. Bring your left elbow in close to the side of your head.

Let that roll you onto your side and reach the top elbow forward towards the mat. Exhale while you're there, really feeling your chest falling through towards the ground and your legs just staying heavy. As you're ready, your legs will stay heavy. Your head will start to roll back into your hands. Opening the chest first.

Now again, be really mindful if there's any pull in the shoulder, any tingliness, you keep your elbow close to your head. And now again, your left knee will come up. The back of the hip comes down, the right knee rolls in, as the left thigh rolls out. The right foot pushes down. First create the length on the side of the body, then use the inner edge of the foot to appeal the rest of the spine up and over onto your left side.

Keep your hands interlaced behind your head, and keep reminding your entire body it can fall into the mat. Send the top elbow as far forward as possible and breathe into that space between your shoulder blades. As you feel ready, your head will roll back, and yet your legs stay heavy so that your upper back, your rib cage has something to roll back away from. Then the right knee starts to come up to standing. The left knee comes back in, and we'll do that again.

Settle your spine on the mat as you need to, let the right thigh open out to the side, back of the left hip comes up, the left foot presses down to send the knee away. Roll the left knee in towards the midline, leverage the inner edge of your left foot to peel the left shoulder up and over, and notice how you can just keep going to roll forward. Exhaling, rolling back into your head, opening your chest, keep your legs heavy. And then again, your left knee opens out first, then your right knee rolls in. Notice the center, do what you need to do to feel smooth on that center.

And now again, the left knee opens out, the right foot presses down, the knee reaches. Use the inner edge of the right foot to leverage and roll onto your left side. Keep the legs heavy, wait for your chest to open comfortably, the head rolling back into your hands. And then the legs returning back to center. Inhale when you're on your center, exhale and just stay there this time.

On your following breath, you'll reach your arms up and over your head one more time. Let's stretch our legs all the way out to take a full long stretch, stretching to yawn, reach through all of your joints. And now as you're ready, you'll take your arms up towards the ceiling. And if you're comfortable with the legs heavy and lengthened out this way, you can keep them there for now. If your low back gets a little cranky, then go ahead and bend your knees and walk your feet in.

So with our hands reaching up for the ceiling, we're gonna cross the elbows now, cross the arms over the chest and hug yourself, taking your hands to wrap towards your shoulder blades. But you'll notice, you're either feeling like you're strangling yourself and it's quite awkward, or you're more on your chest with your arms and your fingertips are rolling over or around the shoulder blade, which may also be awkward, right? Depending on how it feels. So the idea is that our fingertips are wanting to reach around towards the lower aspect of the rib cage. And wherever our hands fall, we're just gonna pause there for a moment, and take another slow and full inhale.

As we exhale, allowing ourselves to release fully into the mat. Inhale slowly and notice how you sense the breath with your arms in this shape. Does this shape bring more awareness to this fear around your heart center? And after the following exhale, you'll gently drag your right heel in towards your sitting bones. Stand that foot on the ground, and then drag your other heel in towards your sitting bone standing both feet back on the ground.

And again, separating the feet about shoulder width apart. Inhale while you're here. And as you're exhaling, same thing we did a moment ago, allow the right knee to start falling out to the side. Notice how the pelvis rolls. Press down into your left foot to reach the knee away and then use the inner edge to leverage yourself and roll over your hand onto your side.

Let it feel like your head is falling off your shoulders. Inhale while you're there. Exhale, falling into your side. And if it's really awkward and uncomfortable, just be patient, know that this will only last for a moment longer. And then very gently, start moving your left knee back over to the side, lifting it up.

That's gonna start rocking you onto your back. And then again, the right knee comes in and we're in our starting position again, inhaling there. As we exhale, the left thigh falls out first. Back of the right hip rolls up, push it down into the right foot, leverage the foot to roll you onto your side, rolling over your hands now. You can let your head turn so that your forehead turns to the mat if that's available.

Just breathe wherever you arrive, remind yourself it's safe to fall into the floor. As you feel ready, your left knee, gently lifting the left knee up, rolling the body back. And notice how we're just playing with the weight transfer from the thigh bones, which happen to be very heavy, which is very useful for the spine to have such heavy legs. Notice how the weight of the leg and then the gentle leverage of the inner edge of the foot really does the work to roll us through our bones. We'll just do this a couple more times, move at your own pace, make it your own.

If there's any angle, any shape in this movement that feels really good to be in or has some interesting information for you to listen to, stay there, stay on it, breathe into it. Maybe it's the feeling of the pressure through the thumb. The thumbs are benefiting a lot from this when we manage to roll over them. Keep moving at your own pace. And the next time that you come back onto your spine, just give the arms a rest for a second.

As you bring the arms down to rest, notice if one shoulder feels like it's further away from the ear than the other. Does one shoulder feel like it's higher than the other? Which way does your mind perceive it more clearly? Do they feel perfectly even across and that distance between shoulders and ears is even? Is it hard to tell and you're not sure?

All of it is okay, there's no goal other than just becoming aware of what we feel. And allowing ourselves to feel it without judgment. And now when we're ready, we'll inhale the arms back up towards the sky. And this time we're going across the other arm in front. And if you have that moment, like I did of wait a minute, which arm did I just have in front?

If it feels really familiar, then it's probably that same pattern. Switch it and notice if your mind is like, yeah, that's less familiar, I didn't just do that. Inhale while you're here and in your center, holding yourself again. Mindful that when you exhale, the elbows can drop down towards the chest rather than having the arms so high that you feel like it's choking you. And now as you're ready, let's allow our left thigh to fall out to the side this time first.

And it's the same pattern we've been playing with using the falling out, the weight of the thigh and the pressure of the foot to power the effortless movement up through the rest of the trunk, head and even eyes. Take your time with it, your thigh falls out, it rocks your pelvis. Your foot presses down, it rolls the rest of you over. If it feels like it's available, you can let your forehead keep turning to gently look over the shoulder. And again, and again, just being mindful of those moments where perhaps you find yourself pushing the floor away, pressing with your head, pause, take a breath, release, give in to the shape that you're in, and then wait and ask your body to wait.

Wait for my thigh to start pulling my pelvis and my body back, so that I really experience the movement without the muscle effort. Release through your jaw. We'll just spend a few more moments here. Take advantage of the time to really slow down. Release your abdominal area, release around the groin and the glutes.

Release any concern about getting it right. Just allow yourself to feel, allow the shape to evolve and change based on how you feel. And when you feel like you've had enough, you'll return back to your center onto your spine, and we'll just lengthen our body out. Lengthening legs, releasing arms, and just resting on our back again. Sensing what we feel, what jumps out when we ask ourselves, what do you feel?

And now we'll just wiggle through our fingers and our toes, open the eyes. Bend your knees one more time. We're going to turn onto our side and just pause there for a second. This kind of practice will bring your blood pressure down many times oftentimes. So be really mindful of taking your time when we transfer to bring your head up.

When you feel ready on an inhale, you'll push down, bring yourself up to sitting, and now we're going to move towards our chair or the edge of our bed, whatever it is that we're going to use to prop our legs up. So now we're going to turn towards our chair, and we'll wanna bring ourselves as close as possible so that the back of our knees feel like they're connected. The back of the knees feel the support of the chair or ottoman, whatever your prop is. And as you settle in, just again, really important that the back of the knee, the fold feels contact, it feels cradled, and that we allow the calves to release and the feet to release. We're just gonna allow our arms to rest at our sides.

They can either be on your pelvis or out to the sides. Whatever makes you feel more comfortable, just in general. And we're raising our feet up now to work with the circulation and just irrigation internally in the body. Taking a deep inhale. And as we exhale, releasing through the pelvis, releasing through the abdomen, the rib cage and the chest.

With every following exhalation, feeling the width of your shoulders relaxing through your jaw, the base of your skull and your eye sockets. As you're exhaling, feeling that your exhale allows you to wipe away all expression on your face. And releasing the control on your breath, allowing your breath to be involuntary, automatic. And without trying to change or control the breath, just bring your awareness towards it. What part of your body do you sense as you breathe?

Where might you find some movement? And as we're releasing, we're giving our tissues, our fluids all of the gelatinous watery structures of the internal part of our body, a chance to start moving based on the demands of gravity in this shape. If you find that you become achy when you're here, especially if it's in your low back or your high up in your neck, you can put another pillow under the back of the knee and calf. Gently bring your awareness to the parts of your feet that are in contact with the surface, traveling from your heel bone, up through your ankle into your calves. You may or may not have contact, so that's okay.

Again, there is no getting it right, there's no getting it wrong. Just notice where you have awareness, where do you have contact? Notice the back of your knees and out through your thighs or down through your thighs. Feel and sense the weight and the letting go almost as if the back of our pelvis were gently falling away from our heavy thigh bones. And softening through your abdomen, rib cage, shoulders and jaw.

Release your tongue, release your throat and release around your eyes. Gently bring your awareness toward your left leg, and specifically to the outer aspect of your left knee and thigh area. And as if you had a dimmer through which you can control the speed, the pressure, the force of your movements, you're going to ever so gently start to dim the energy on and invite the outer aspect of your left thigh and knee to press into your cushion, your ottoman or your chair, and notice how that starts to ground and weight the back of the right hip towards the mat. Release the pressure behind your left thigh and fall back into center and inhale. As you exhale, bring your awareness to the outer aspect of your right knee and thigh area, and gently press into your prop and your chair, and notice how that creates movement or how the movement transfers and travels into your pelvis.

With that same quality of dimming the energy on, we'll dim the energy off. Inhale when you're in the center, exhale and stay in the center if you ever feel tensions wanting to sneak up on you. And then again, return ever so gently to pressing the outer thigh towards your chair, towards your prop. And then gently releasing that pressure so that it releases the pelvis back. We'll just be here for a few moments like it's a laboratory for a deep observation.

Take your time so that your mind can really have a chance to notice. What do you find when you start pressing the outer aspect of your leg into the edge? We'll continue with this rocking motion that happens as a result of the gentle pressure and direction of the thigh. Bringing our awareness back into our breath. Being mindful if we have any pauses or holds between the breath.

Sometimes bringing awareness to the breath can actually make you stop breathing. So if you find that, just ignore your breath, and just feel into the aspects of this experience, of this now moment that encourage the breath to just move effortlessly. If you feel great pleasure, and a sense of ease and support by focusing on your breath, just be mindful that there aren't any pauses or holds in the breath or in the movement. That we allow the changes, we allow the ebb and flow from right to left to occur with the breath in a way that feels guided, that feels organic. Noticing as long as it's been feeling good throughout, which means it feels smooth and the tissues of the spine of the neck.

Sometimes we can feel tissues wanting to grab and pull back and tighten. As long as it's not accompanied with something that's sharp, we can stay there and breathe into it and communicate to those tissues that might feel like they wanna pull back and hold on and tighten, pause there and tell them, hey, you can hang out here and use way less effort. And then notice where does the energy go to? So if I'm able to release in my low back or my waist a little bit, do I then feel more pressure of my knee against the cushion? Do I feel more energy through my inner thigh?

There's no right or wrong way to feel. There's nothing you're supposed to be feeling, just notice. And the next time that we fall back through our center, we're just gonna pause and stay there, taking a deeper and a fuller inhale. As we exhale, once again, we'll stretch our arms up and over our head, and take a long reaching stretch that just feels good throughout our whole system. And for a moment, we're going to slide, bring the knees in close to the chest, slide the feet onto the edge of the chair or the bed.

And just give yourself a little squeeze. If it's plenty, just bring in your feet to the edge, just stay there and breathe. Just wanna give our low back and our tissues a moment to rest in the opposite direction. And then we'll drape our legs back out to where they were, just getting comfy there, asking the front of the thighs to relax, your groin to release your lower abdominal, and pelvic area to just feel heavy. You don't have to hold yourself in any position.

Just let go into the position that feels like you're being held. And on the next breath, we'll reach both of the arms up for the sky, bring the palms together, and we'll hook our index fingers around one another. The rest of the fingers can have an arrow-like feeling reaching towards the sky. Now be mindful here that if you literally reach too much for the sky, it might start pulling back on the neck. So not necessarily a bad thing, but we wanna be mindful that we're still waiting down, and that the back of our neck feels long and released.

And we can check in with that feeling by tuning into what the jaw and the root of the tongue are doing. So we wanna make sure that it feels like there's a little bit of space between the molars, between the teeth and the mouth. Inhale while you're here. And as you exhale, start to move the back of the right shoulder away from the ground. Just the back of the right shoulder, gently moving away from the ground.

We'll start to rotate our upper back towards the left. Inhale while you're there and be mindful that you're still able to release through your pelvis and legs. When you feel ready on your breath, you'll start rolling back towards your center. Notice how your shoulders rest on the mat. And now this time, start thinking about the back of your left shoulder moving away from the ground, and notice where that takes you.

Are your palms still together? Are the index fingers still wrapped around? Do we still have both elbows straightening? Return to the center as you breathe? And again, the back of the right shoulder moves off the ground.

Let your head roll along with it. Inhale, notice how the left side of the back of the ribs and shoulder blade feels. And as you're exhaling, let the back of the right shoulder fall into the ground, and then move the back of the left shoulder away from the ground. The elbows stays straight, the pelvis and thighs stay heavy. Let your head roll and breathe.

Release the back of the left shoulder back towards the earth. We'll just play with this a few more times, and notice that our awareness is really tuned in to the back of our shoulders. One shoulder moves away from the ground, and that roots the other one into the ground. And then the opposite happens. One shoulder rolls back, the other one rolls away, and it continues to roll away until it rolls the other one back.

What's going on around your abdomen? What's going on through the groin and the thighs? Does the body allow you to release as you gently move the back of the shoulders? Where does the energy start to accumulate? Where does it pool?

Energy pools, just like liquid. Where do we start to feel that accumulation or that pooling of sensation? And the next time that you come back through your center, you'll pause. Allow the arms to release palms, turned open towards the sky and just notice how you feel. And you can feel free to stay in this position as long as it feels like you're benefiting from it.

And when you feel ready to move out of it, you'll gently slide the knees back towards the chest, resting the feet onto the edge of your chair or prop. And then we'll bring our knees back in towards our chest. And again, just gently rock from side to side. When we feel ready, we'll allow ourselves to just fall onto our side, whichever side is most comfortable for you. You can use your bottom arm as a pillow, and just cradle yourself for a moment on your side, and open your eyes if they're not opened already, just kind of scanning, notice what looks back at you when you open your eyes.

And on the following breath, or when you feel ready again, be mindful of moving slowly, not taking for granted all of the changes and movements in our liquids and in our energetic fields. We'll slowly bring our heads up as we inhale, and bring ourselves back into a comfortable seated position. And let's just check in with ourselves after that bit of movement, rocking back and forth in your pelvis, letting your chin mimic your tailbone. The tail rolls back, the chin goes up, the tail curls under, the chin rolls in. And then settling into the midway point between those two, close the eyes for just one more moment, and allow everything to settle.

On the following, inhale, we'll bring the arms back up. Look over and up. Spread your fingers, open your armpits, open your chest, relax your pelvis that drops down, and then bring your palms together in prayer in front of your heart center, bowing your head down, feeling a deep sense of gratitude for your body, and all of the sensations it allows you to feel. And may you carry this settled energy with you throughout the rest of your endeavors, thank you so much for watching.


Cynthia G
2 people like this.
Oh thank you so much for that beautiful lesson. It was just great to settle into the movements and notice the unconscious tension and effort I was using rather than allowing my body weight to teach me and to remind me of an unused pattern.  If this doesn't  make sense now its because I am still  so relaxed and drifting.  I am not in a hurry to resume the rat race yet, but will take my time.  Thanks again.
Rina S
1 person likes this.
This class was a blessing of calm and peace after a stressful day. Thank you
1 person likes this.
What a fabulous class. It felt wonderful. I envy your ability to open your hips to the extent that you can, perhaps with practice and patience I will get there. Thank you 
1 person likes this.
Very somatic, lovely pacing. Grateful 🎁
1 person likes this.
It's a very calming, peaceful class, full of mindfulness for one's body. Just one note for those who might take it: make sure you don't get cold wherever you are watching the video because the movements are very slow. I enjoyed it much more after getting a jumper ;o)
1 person likes this.
Beautiful rhythm and flow, thoroughly enjoyed this class thank you. Very well versed.
Katie Summers
Christi, I would love to hear more about your somatic resources and training! This was lovely. 
1 person likes this.
Perfect for a Sunday morning 🙏🙏🙏
This was ever SO good, thank you!
Oksana P
Beautiful. Loved the grounding and the calmness of the flow, allowing the psoas to release gives amazing peaceful energy through the body. Would love to see more classes like this, please. Thank you!
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