Hi, thank you for being here again. So today we're going to do a restorative practice and we'll need some props. We're going to have a big towel, it doesn't have to be this big but it can be, and we'll open it up fold it in half this way and we're gonna wanna keep it long. So what that means is that you'll keep it just fold it in half and now start rolling it up to make a long towel tube, kind of like a towel foam roller. And the cool thing about this as we move around with it, is that if for example we roll it all the way up and I ask you to place it somewhere at this size and it just feels like it's too big, it just doesn't feel right, you can unravel it a little bit and change the size of the roll that you need for that particular part of your body.
So we're just gonna roll it up this way for now and just keep it prepared in this long roll and we'll just set that next to our mat. Also set behind the mat is another pillow. So you're going to need three pillows in total. So gather your props and let's begin. So to get started we're going to have one pillow at the front or top of the mat.
We're going to start lying face down. And then the other pillow is going to come long way so that you make a sort of a T here. And if you have bolsters, if you have blankets, or cushions from a couch not necessarily pillows, the basic idea throughout this practice is that our body feels cradled by the props. So we're using the props to make us feel very comfy. So just as we go through, I'll keep reminding you, but just know that's what they're here for.
So we're going to come to lying on the stomach, and you'll want part of the front of your thigh on your pillow or bolster. And then this up here really depends on how your shoulders are feeling. So if you find that bringing your head down over your shoulder, so if I stay here it feels okay on my throat. If it feels a bit too chokey, always feel free to move around, squish up the pillows, do whatever you need to do so that you can settle in with your hands stacked your head releasing on your hands, feeling that your shoulders and your armpits are resting on the pillow. Now if you're fidgeting with this and you just can't seem to get that comfortable for your neck and shoulders, you can take the roll that we prepared and place that under your forehead instead, and just have your arms out to the sides like a capital letter E or a goal post position.
So the basic idea is for us to start in this prone or face down position, where we feel that the cavity of the shoulder, the front of the chest is very supported that down around the abdomen, the pelvis, the lower back feels supported. And if there's any discomfort or achiness in your lower back or you're just not that satisfied you wanna feel even more relieved, you can take the extra pillow and place this in front of your pelvis as well and then your thighs will relatively drop down lower. So, the idea is for us to take the time that we need to get very comfortable in the shapes that we're going to move through. Can you commit to lying in this shape for a good while? And so, as you settle in and make your way into a deep comfortable space, you'll close your eyes and just take a moment to sense how you feel, notice how the front of the body is connecting with the props.
And as you become aware of those points of contact, allow yourself to release into them. And if you find at any time that you need to make any subtle changes, sometimes the hands or forehead will need to adjust, the elbows might feel like they're sliding farther away from each other. And again noticing the points of contact that you're making with the ground, with the soft pillows, and feeling yourself releasing into that contact, go ahead and sense the space around you, the areas of your body that are not in contact with anything. And as you exhale allow yourself to release into the support beneath you. And without trying to change or control anything, gently bring your awareness towards your breath.
Noticing where you might feel the sensation of the inhale filling you up, and knowing that with every exhalation there is an opportunity to let go to receive more support. Notice if there's a texture to your breath, does it feel smooth, does it feel choppy. Knowing that whatever you sense, whatever you feel and find it's okay because it is there, that is what it is. And noticing if there are any pauses between your inhales and your exhales any moments where there's any hold. And very gently, suggest to your breath that it become just a little bit slower, a little more silent.
And that if we do find these pauses between breaths, they become a little bit smaller. And as you inhale slowly and fully, allow your abdomen to soften, feel the expansiveness around your waist, where else might you notice the body expanding as you inhale, and exhaling slowly and feeling yourself releasing into this shape. Inhaling slowly and fully appreciating the space that every inhale creates by sensing it through your skin, through your props, and as you exhale slowly allowing the tissues to melt. And encouraging the following inhale to come in even a little bit slower as if you have a valve through which you can control how much breath is coming in at once, draw it in very finely, very slowly, and let it out in the same way. Slowly let it out, slowly let it in.
And again as you're inhaling gently, notice this time the back of your body as it expands. And as you exhale sense the weight of your toenails, the tops of your feet releasing through your arches, heels and ankles. Inhaling slowly sensing where and how the body rises and expands. And as we exhale slowly releasing around our calves, our shins, feeling a release around our knees through the kneecap, the side, the back and around the side again. Inhaling a deep sense of gratitude for our feet, for all of our nerve endings, all of our (indistinct), our ability to take the world in through our feet.
And as we exhale, let them know that right now they don't need to perceive anything, they get to rest. And as you exhale, gently visualize the soles of the fleet getting cleared away, feeling a sense of the exhale is like a liquid that can wash things away. Allow the feet to feel washed and refreshed as you exhale. As you inhale slowly, sensing again how your body expands, and as you exhale feeling the weight of your thighs, notice that thigh bone is gently releasing downward towards the ground, softening around your lower abdomen, allowing your glutes to fully release, feeling as if your sacrum is gently falling forward. As you're exhaling softening around your abdominals, exhaling to soften your waist the tissues of your lower back, and feeling the weight of the forehead falling into the hands maybe noticing at this point that it's weighing a lot more than it was initially, as you feel your following exhale, allow your head to start rolling over to the side just enough to stay across the width of your eyebrows.
Inhaling slowly and feeling how the upward rise of the inhale can help bring the head to center. And as we exhale allowing the head to gently roll to the other side. Inhaling slowly the body and breath rising up, will encourage the head to be pulled back to center, the exhale and letting out will allow the head to roll of center. Inhaling the breath in and the head into the center and letting out, letting go, allowing your body to release whatever it's willing to let go of today. And the next time that our head is back in our center, we'll pause there, inhale, bend the knees, drawing the heels and slowly towards the sitting bones, and very gently allow the feet to roll away from each other and then let them roll back into each other.
It might be a very small range of movement, move extra slow. When we slow down, we create more time for the movement. Notice when you're inhaling, and notice when you're exhaling. Allowing the weight of the feet to roll them away into gravity, and then as we exhale or inhale they roll back in. And the next time that we bring our feet together we'll keep them together.
And this time just let both feet slide over to the one side, inhale them up through center or exhale them into center, and then they'll both roll to the other side. The front of your thighs stay very heavy on the mat, the front of your pelvis, chest and head stay very heavy. And just notice throughout your practice, those moments where sometimes the body reacts as if it needs to lift or do or work to go somewhere, you can always come back to center, pause and let go, and then keep the gentle movements happening. As a result of that, letting go. And the next time that our feet rock over to one side, we'll keep them there for a moment, let's say they both rock over to the left side and we'll stretch our left arm up and over our head to press down into the right hand, you can slide it under your shoulder, you're just gonna roll on to your left side.
So you just kinda roll off of the pillows here coming onto the side, you can slightly push them out of your way, and we're going to take one pillow now that's on the ground, inhale and exhale very slowly as you're moving around, keep this reverence and awareness of using the least amount of energy as we make our transitions. And on the following inhale, you'll use your top arm to push down into the ground, slide your bottom elbow under your shoulder so that you can take one of the pillows and slide it between your armpit and your bottom hip. You'll take another pillow, slide it under your head or above your forearm where your head will go, and then lastly, the third pillow is going to come between our inner thighs. And we wanna make sure that we get the pillow between the legs very close to the groin. Again, this idea of the pillows cradling our nervous system.
So it's important that areas where we might feel vulnerable, sometimes tense or compromised especially in the neck here where the head right depending on how wide the shoulders are and how much comfortable mobility we have in the neck, we might have to fold the pillow and bring the head up so that the shoulder and the neck right the bottom side feel very comfortable. And remember you've got your rolled up towel, you could always use if you needed to either put it under your head, or sometimes tuck it just behind the armpit or under the shoulder. So we'll close our eyes in this side lying position, and just notice how the top arm feels as well because here you might wanna play with where you have it to begin, whether it's lying at the side of the body, elbow bent. The only way to know is to try different options and then feel the one where you have that sense of like, okay, I can stay still for a moment here, I can commit to this, or for a series of moments I can stay here. We're just gonna close the eyes again and tune in to all of the points of contact that we make with the left side of the body now, with the side that's on the ground.
And as we exhale, we let go. (clears throat) We are allowing ourselves to fall into gravity, to fall into our left side. And as we exhale and release, if we find that we start to get nagging aches anywhere, we'll wanna make some subtle changes. And we'll just use the first few moments of coming into a shape to allow for that readjusting, sensing, right? First I notice, I bring my awareness to the areas that are receiving all of the weight and then I sense them.
How do they feel, how do they make me feel? Am I willing to let go and release? And once we find that place where the body, the self, where there's an agreeance, there's a harmony between my willingness to let go, to feel held, to feel embraced, where I feel very cozy, very cradled. Once I feel all of that, I stay still and I just notice. And on the following inhale, encourage the breath again to come in just a little bit slower, a little bit fuller sensing what side of your body do you feel more when you inhale in this shape, and as you exhale noticing where you feel the release.
When I inhale slowly and fully, do I feel the parts of myself that are receiving weight that are into the ground, or do I sense the parts of myself that are above the ground that aren't receiving contact? And as I exhale and release, do I notice the releases happening in those same areas or not? And as we exhale will bring our awareness back down to our feet feeling a sense of letting go around the toes and the arches, through the calves and the knees, exhaling to really feel the weight through the thighs, the letting go of the groin, and the lower abdominal area. As you inhale slowly and fully, encourage your abdomen to release and notice if you can sense the movement of the lower abdomen, pubic bone, groin and inner thigh area expanding into your pillow. And as you exhale, allow your thighs, the groin, the pubic bone an abdominal area to release.
Let your body know that you're safe, that you're grateful for all of its strength, that you see your body's greatness, and that in this moment it's safe to let go. Encourage every following inhale to come in just a little bit slower sensing the area of your inner thighs, the groin, the pubic bone area and the low abdominals. Gently moving, gently flowing with every long and slow and steady breath. And as you feel your following inhale expanding through your pelvis and up into your ribs, gently bend your top elbow bringing your fingertips towards your top shoulder. When you feel ready, you'll take your top elbow keeping your fingertips on your shoulder to slide forward and down keeping that sense of weighting down and staying heavy through the arms, circling the elbow forward along the side of your face, and gently reaching into the space behind you allowing the chest to roll open towards the sky and the head to gently roll back into the pillow.
Slide the elbow in and next to your ribs and let the movement of your elbow and shoulder create this little gentle sliding back and forth in the ribs around the heart center. Keeping in mind that you're staying on the side of your head so as the elbow is coming alongside of your head, notice how your fingertips can slide down the back towards the shoulder blade. And then it's just a little bit of opening up not looking for anything, just allowing a small rolling back and forth motion to occur for your bottom shoulder, for your top shoulder in a different way, and the relationship between the two create this circular motion around your heart center. Whenever you feel ready, pause, wait for your breath. And as you breathe, you'll roll the elbow back simply reversing the same motion.
Notice the movement of your breath as your body circles around, and continue to remind your legs, inner thighs, pelvic area, that they can stay heavy and released. And as you're gently rolling back and forth, remind your abdomen that it's also able to let go and release here. Last time, reverse the direction of your elbow. And the next time that the arm comes down and at your side, pause there for a moment, let the arm come back to its resting position and just take a breath, exhale all of the air out. (exhales heavily) And now when you're ready, you'll take your top hand back down to the mat just in front of your face or in front of the pillow under your head, prepare yourself mentally to come up a little bit, your legs will stay heavy in where they are.
And on an inhalation, you'll gently open your eyes, push down into your top hand to slide your elbow back under your shoulder. We're gonna move this pillow now maybe just a little ways away, we wanna keep it close just in case we still need to use it. So this time our legs will stay where they are. The most important thing here is that, you allow the shape to change and morph if you will, as your joints and your needs determine today, okay? So don't try and imitate the way I do it, but instead, feel into your body to decide where you need more pillow, less pillow, what to do with your legs, et cetera.
So we're going to slide our left elbow out to the side, stack the hands here and notice what it's like to bring the forehead down onto the hands. It turns your chest open and sometimes we need to take the top arm, right? Referring back to the side lying position, that top arm inside lying, use it to move your chest and your bottom ribs over just a little bit so that your skin and your tissues are also you're feeding this message to your whole body this way. And now you'll slide your bottom elbow out and you come down. And if your left shoulder, your bottom shoulder feels a lot of pull, you can bring this pillow back, tuck it under your armpit so that it's a little easier to bring your head or face down, you can also turn your head so that you're on the left side of your head which is going to ease the torsion around your rib cage.
Now if what you're feeling instead is a lot of pull around the ribs or the low back area, you'll let the bottom leg in this case, the left leg slide out a little bit, so that you're more in a number four with your legs, the pillow is still very close to the pelvis and the head is able to release. And you'll still notice that you've got rotation in your neck, your bottom shoulder is reaching back, so there's some rotation in your chest, and your abdomen, right, needs to feel like it's in line with your breastbone if your lower back was feeling cranky. Let your knee slide out, so again, take your time with yourself, feel all of these things to determine what's your best spot. I'm gonna keep my knees stacked so that I'm still side lying on my pelvis and I'm rotated in my upper body. And as you find your comfy position that again, you feel like, yeah, this feels like I'm being held, I'm starting in a place where I'm really comfortable to let go.
And as you settle into that shape, ask your inhale to again become a little bit slower, a little bit fuller and more expansive. And as you exhale, keep reminding the parts of your body that are in touch with the ground that they're safe, that it's safe to let go. Because this shape has mobilized more areas of the body, it may start to feel like it changes a bit more than the other shapes we've visited, the intensity increases. Take the time to explore how the sensations arrive, and then notice if they're starting to feel a little strange and yucky maybe because they're different, and our tissues and our system and our minds are not used to keeping these shapes, or does it start to feel like there's a sharpness around the sensation, there's an edge in the sensation and the body is asking you to please make a change. Inhaling slowly and fully, notice where you feel the breath expands.
And as you exhale slowly, notice how you're able to let go a little further. Notice how the breath might create some subtle movement, how things may start to give and slide. So we'll only be here for a few more moments. Inhale just a little slower, feel your seams expanding against your breath, exhaling slowly feeling yourself melting into the shape, aware of what you're feeling from your toes up through your calves and inner thighs, around your pelvis and your abdomen, through your low back and waist area, feeling into your ribs, your chest and your shoulder blades. I'm noticing your armpits, your shoulders, arms and hands sensing the position of your neck, the weight around your throat, and the feeling of your head on your hands or pillows.
Inhale fully conscious of your entire self, exhaling releasing into all of the sensations you're picking up. And when you feel ready on one of your inhales, you'll gently start to roll back into your comfy side lying position. You can do that by extending the arm that's on the ground over your head maybe for a moment, let your head rest on the arm. The more sensation accumulation if you will, the more build up of sensations or pooling of sensation which can be felt by temperature changes, or through temperature changes, it can be felt when things fall asleep, when there's a bit of an itching sensation, a bit of a tingle, we wanna move extra slow with a lot of reverence for all of these sensations, and all of the changes we're making to our fluids, our energetic fluid and our physical fluid. Very slowly and keeping your eyes closed, continue to make your way into a comfortable side lying position if you're not there already.
And as you come back on to your side, we'll just take a few moments to let things settle, and simply notice the sensation through the bottom side of the neck, the shoulder, the arm knowing that everything and anything that we might be feeling is going to pass. Nothing that we feel right now will stay. And very gently, we'll keep our eyes closed, take a deeper and fuller breath. (exhales heavily) And when you feel like you're ready, you'll slowly make your way up to sitting. Inhale and exhale very slowly as you take a lot of time to bring your head up.
And coming up into a comfortable seated position with your eyes closed, with your eyes closed just explore what you're feeling, like allow your body to explore the sensation with gentle subtle movements, use the movement to communicate with the sensations that you feel. For example, if I'm having a lot of sensation or more awareness around my shoulder and my arm, maybe I start to slide my shoulder up and down a little bit, maybe my head rolls into my shoulder a little bit and then it rolls forward and my shoulder rolls back. If I feel it in my hip or my lower leg, maybe I need to wiggle my toes 'cause my foot fell asleep, it's endless. And it's going to change and notice how moving and relating to your sensation causes things to change, causes things to move around. Allow yourself to have freedom with this, we'll only be here a few moments longer.
There's no movement that's too slow or too big. But just as you observe and breathe, just encourage the slow breath, the luxury of time, notice how that moves you into space. And then when you feel ready, you'll allow yourself to just kind of slouch, let your head gently look down at your feet, open your eyes and find yourself there and just kind of greet yourself and say hello. Hello body in space, here we are, still here. And then we'll take our pillows to the other side of our mat.
So we'll start with one pillow for the head, and I like to take the smaller pillow for the head if they do have different sizes, one pillow for the side body, and one pillow for in between the thighs. And so again, we're going to lie on our side, on our other side now, draw the pillow in close to the groin, be mindful that the bottom hip pelvis is on the ground, pillow is between the armpit and the hip, and then the other pillow comes under the head and neck. And now again, depending on how the width of your shoulders feel, you may need extra or less under your head. There is no one size fits all solution. So, fidget, explore til you feel very comfortable and satisfied on your side.
And then again you'll close your eyes and allow yourself to settle into it. And as you exhale, allow everything to release into gravity and bring your awareness into the side of your body and all of the points of contact that you're making with the ground Inhaling slowly and fully, noticing where do you have more perception? What side of your body is breathing more as you inhale? And as you exhale, gently release through your feet, your calves and your thighs, feel the contact that your pubic bone, groin and inner thigh, pelvis and abdomen are making with the pillow. And with every following inhale, simply bring your awareness down into the contact that your lower abdomen and thighs are making with the pillow, and just observe.
What do we sense? And then noticing where the side of the ribcage is falling into the mat, the shoulder and the side of the head. And on this side, allow your mind to zoom in on the area where you have the greatest perception. When you inhale slowly and fully, what do you sense and feel the most? And as you exhale and release, where are you willing to let go?
With every exhale feeling a deep sense of gratitude for all of the areas that are willing to go. Recalling that the earth that lies under your mat absorbs. As you exhale and release, allow the earth to absorb everything you're willing to let go of. And on your following inhale, again we'll bend the elbow of the top arm, bring the fingertips of the top arm onto the shoulder, and now this time keep the top arm resting on the side of the chest and rib cage. And as you exhale, you're just gonna very gently suggest to the body that it start to fall back just a bit.
And as it does, allow the weight of your top arm or wing, notice how it feels like a wing, opening up and out and around, rolling it back up next to your head around the side of your head and it'll bring you back on to your side. Let it drop down as it comes through, and it'll just gently just kind of slide over the side of the body. And again as you're breathing, rather than reaching with your wing, let the back of your heart roll first, then let the arm gently open being mindful again, that you're not looking for anything. Or rather noticing, when you find yourself reaching to go somewhere and you just kind of notice that and then you bring it back in. (exhales heavily) And you just kind of communicate with yourself and you just explain that right now we're just gonna explore these areas of being where we're not searching for any stretch.
We're not searching to hold, we're just exploring what sensations start to rise up. Allow every following circle to have a different shape. How does it affect the inner thigh and pelvic area? When you feel ready, reverse the direction of your circle. And the next time that the arm is coming down and around, we're going to place it just in front of us again, just in front of our face and the pillow under the head, inhale while you're on your side and prepare mentally to push down and just gently slide your elbow back under your shoulder.
Your legs can more or less stay where they are, we'll move the pillow out in front again, slide the bottom arm back. So we slide the right arm in this case behind and that side the bottom side of the body wants to turn towards the mat and both hands can stack under the forehead. Now again, if this is too much pull for today on the chest or the shoulder, we want to bring the pillow something under the armpit, something under the chest if it's too much around the groin low back area then slide your bottom leg out. And over time slowly, the more we practice this work, this practice, the easier it'll be for our tissues to adapt to the shape of having the chest turned open towards the earth, and the thighs resting on the side. Remember you can turn your head to look at your elbow so that it's easier and more comfortable on the neck.
Ask yourself, am I in a shape or I feel really cozy, really supported and cradled, do I feel like I'm being held? And if there's any part that says no, I don't feel like I'm being held, make a change. Fidget around, do the things to feel and sense until you're satisfied. And then once you feel satisfied, find the pause find the stillness and take a deep breath into the shape. And as we exhale, we notice that we're able to let go.
And sometimes when we let go, things will give, which is a very different sensation than us moving. When we move ourselves, it's based on a judgment, on a discernment, right? This is better than that, so I'm gonna make a move. When we exhale and release and experience the letting go, it's a give and a very subtle movement that occurs not from judgment, right? From the lack of it, rather simply from being, from allowing.
Inhaling slowly and fully, sensing again the feedback that we receive around the area of the abdomen, of the chest, of the shoulders and the head. And as we exhale, reminding our limbs through our toes and our feet, our calves and our thighs, our arms and our hands, that were so grateful for all that they perceive, all that they do. And in this moment, we allow them to release, we allow ourselves to release the need to get it right. And drawing the breath in just a little slower, taking a few more moments here. Gently preparing yourself to start moving out of this.
As you're feeling ready, you can gently start to press down slide the elbow in a little closer to the body, inching away out of this, sliding the bottom arm out and over the head so that it's actually under the head. (laugh) We'll come to lie on our side again, get comfortable, bring the pillow back for your head, do what you need to do, if you wanna remove the pillow that's under your side, just take a moment to lie on your side comfortably. Notice all of the changes, the ways, the many varied ways that we perceive sensation, just notice them. When we notice things from the place of knowing that they are going to pass, we really allow ourselves to see things for what they are, and we release ourselves from the need to figure out if it's good or bad, if it's right or wrong, we just know that it is right now. And in a few seconds, minutes, sometimes days or years it passes.
And then again exploring movement with the eyes closed, we're going to feel around inhale and exhale slowly. And very gently, take your time, make your way back up to sitting comfortably. And keeping the eyes gently closed, just notice how it feels, how does the space around you feel as you come up. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, just allow yourself to let go whatever that means, releasing in your jaw, releasing around your abdomen and pelvis, feeling the weight into your seat, into your earth. And as you feel and sense into your earth, into your quality of waiting down, you might feel like you wanna lie back down and you're welcome to lie back on your mat, bringing a pillow behind your thighs, maybe the towel roll behind your neck.
If you feel comfortable in a seated position, you're in an ideal state to sit in meditation and keep the central channel that flows through the body in this vertical relationship to our energy field to gravity. And as you move into your comfortable grounded position, again you'll close your eyes, you'll keep them gently closed. And as we inhale, we'll visualize a color that comes to mind any color is fine, visualize this color traveling in through your nostrils down into the base of your spine at your pubic bone, groin and inner thigh area. And just the same way that you'd fill a container with liquid, it fills from the base of the container and rises up towards the rim and then it empties, the container empties from the rim all the way down to the base. So with every following inhale and exhale, slowly guide this color in through your nostrils or through your face down into your groin, the base of your container, feel how it rises up towards the crown of your head.
And as you exhale, you cleanse from the crown of your head through your face and jaw, your throat and your chest, your abdomen and pelvis. Inhale slowly visualizing this color traveling to the base and rising to the crown, exhaling even slower as you (indistinct) and cleanse from the crown releasing down into the base of your pelvis. You're welcome to carry on with this breath for as long as it feels right. May you carry this light with you throughout the rest of your days, thank you.