MBSR Yoga #1

MBSR Yoga #1

Hi, my name is Dr. Lynn Rossy, health
psychologist for Healthy for Life. Welcome to the practice of mindful
yoga. Mindful Hatha yoga consists of gentle
stretching and strengthening exercises, done slowly with moment to moment
awareness of breathing and of the sensations that arise as you put
your body into various postures. While you will be following my
instructions, it is very important to simultaneously
listen to your own body in order to discover your version of each posture.
Honoring the wisdom of your body and what it tells you about how to move into a
posture… How long to hold it, and if you need to move out a posture
before I say to you, then do so. If you find yourself unable to do a
particular posture, please feel free to skip it. Engaging with your body with the
attitude of kindness and acceptance… Jenny will be doing chair modification of
each pose, in case you want or need to do yoga from your chair. Finally,
we always recommend that you check with your health care provider before starting
a new practice of physical activity. So let’s begin by lying down on our backs in a comfortable position on a mat or pad
on the floor. Allowing your body to settle into what we
call the Corpse Pose… Lying on your back with your feet falling
away from each other and your arms alongside your body with your
palms open toward the ceiling, if that feels comfortable for you… If
you have lower back problems, you can bend your knees and have your
knees falling together, if that’s more comfortable. Now bringing
your attention to the breath at the belly. The gentle rising and falling of the belly
in response to the breath… And taking some time to invite the breath to
be deep. Softening the belly in order to get a deep breath in, and then
contracting the belly, as you breath out… Feeling the belly
rising and falling, and the ribs expanding and contracting… All
in response to the breath. And continuing to breathe in and out in
this way throughout the practice period, letting the breath and the body be your
touchstone to the present moment… And whenever you discover the mind has
wandered away, simply bringing your attention back, time
and again, to the breath and the sensations in the body just as you
find it. Letting the body completely relax into the
floor, completely letting go… Letting the floor do all of the work of
holding you up… On the in breath, breathing in a sense of
vitality and renewed energy… And on the out breath, letting go of any
tension or tightness in the mind or body… And now,
when you’re ready and on the next in-breath, stretching your
arms up over your head until your hands reach the floor above you. You can
leave your arms parallel or lock your thumbs together as you reach the
fingers overhead in one direction, and point your toes and stretch them in
the opposite direction. Getting a nice deep, full body stretch… Feeling the stretch through the elbows,
the armpits, and shoulders, and the rib cage, continuing to
breathe as you stretch… Now taking another deep breath in… And
out on the out-breath, bringing the arms slowly and mindfully
back down to rest alongside your body… Staying in touch with them all the way,
and noticing the wave of release when your arms make contact
with the floor… Feeling the whole body once again, and inviting
the breath to be deep and full, and feeling the effects of just this one
stretch… And now when you’re ready, bringing one knee
and then the other into your chest, and taking a hold of the legs and squeezing
them into your chest… And if you’d like, gently rocking side to side… Getting a
nice massage of the muscles along the spine… Taking a
few deep breadths in and out, feeling the belly expanding into the
upper legs… Letting your face be relaxed and soft… Continuing to
pull the knees up toward the chest to get a deeper
stretch… And when you’re ready, taking a hold of the right leg and letting
the left leg go straight on the floor… Gently pulling the right knee up into your
chest in the wind-relieving posture… We’re going to move the right knee from
side to side, or even make circles with your knee in one
direction and then the other… Just loosening up that right hip…
Relaxing the face… Inviting the breath to be deep… And if
you would like, you can circle the toes of the right foot
in one direction to loosen up the ankle. And then circle the toes in the opposite
direction. And when you’re ready, switching sides…
Letting go of the right knee… Letting it go straight on the floor, and
bringing the left knee up into your chest, hugging it tight… Moving the knee from
side to side, or circling the knee to get some movement
into that left hip… You can circle the toes of the left foot,
loosening up the ankle. Breathing, moving the toes in the opposite
direction… And then letting the left foot come down
to the floor, and bending your right leg, so the right foot
is flat on the floor… And from here, we’ll move into the Crocodile
twist. So to prepare the body for the twist,
shift your bottom about an inch to the left on your mat. Clasping your hands
and bringing them behind your head… Bringing one knee and then the other into
the chest… And when you’re ready, just letting the knees fall over to the
right as far as they’ll go… It doesn’t matter if your knees reach the
floor. But trying as best you can to leave your left elbow and shoulder flat on
the floor, so your chest is facing up toward the ceiling… Now, inviting the
breath to be full and deep, even though it’s a little
challenging to do this in a twisted posture… Feeling the left rib cage
expanding on the in-breath, and deflating on the out-breath… Feeling
the twist in the spine, stretch along the arms and the arm pits,
the hips and the legs. Letting your body just relax
into the twist… Each breath relaxing just a little bit
more… And when you’re ready, bringing your left knee
up to center, and the right knee will follow, and then
lowering both feet to the floor… Straightening out your body… Taking a
breath and shifting your bottom to the right about an
inch or two, and then bringing your knees back
into your chest… Letting the knees fall over to the left,
as far as they’ll comfortably go… Not forcing anything, but being gentle
with yourself and feeling the twist in the spine… Again,
trying to keep the right elbow and shoulder on the floor… [BREATH SOUND]
Inviting the breathe now to be deep… [BREATH SOUND] Breathing into the right
rib cage… [BREATH SOUND] And on the out-breath, relaxing the face and
relaxing into the twist… [BREATH SOUND] Taking your time… Not
pushing the body too far, and not striving to be in any particular
position, but letting the body slowly release and open
up all on its own… And then to move out of the twist,
bringing your right knee back to your chest, and the left knee will follow…
And lowering the feet on the floor and straightening out the body, so your spine
is straight on your mat… Releasing your hands from behind your
head, and pausing here for a moment and feeling the effects of the
twist on the body… And now when you’re ready, bringing your
right ankle to rest above your left knee… And then bring your left knee
towards your chest, clasping your hands together behind the
left leg by bringing your left hand around the outside
of the left leg, and threading your right hand through the hole
that’s been created by your right leg… Hugging your left leg in close to your
chest, and if you’d like, you can gently rock side to side…
Inviting the breath to be deep and full… Feeling the stretch now in the right
hip… Imagine that you can breathe all the way down into the right hip and
out from the right hip… Letting the body relax and let go… Now,
this is a good posture for preparing the body for sitting mediation
by opening the hips and allowing you to sit on a cushion more
comfortably. Now, releasing the clasp of your hands and
letting the left foot go flat on the floor… Bringing the right foot back
to the floor and just switching sides… Bringing the left ankle over the right
knee, and bringing your right knee into your chest… Clasping your hands now
around the right leg, and hugging the right leg into your chest,
and gently rocking side to side… Taking a
nice long deep breath into the body, and letting the breath and the sensations in
the body be your anchor to the present… Remember, when your mind wanders away, as
it will, coming back again and again to the breath and the body
sensations. One more deep breath in and out. [BREATH
SOUND] And when you’re ready, releasing the clasp of the hands, and
letting the right foot come flat on the ground, and bringing the left foot
flat, and pausing here for a moment… And now we’ll do some core strengthening
postures. And we’ll start by clasping your hands
behind your head and bringing your knees into your chest.
Raising your head toward your knees, and bringing your right elbow to the left
knee… Switching sides and bringing your left
elbow to the left knee… Once more, bringing your right elbow to
your left knee, and straightening out that right leg, and
we’ll do some bicycling motions back and forth. Moving at your own rate, bicycling
back and forth… Remembering to breathe… [BREATH SOUND]
Breathing out as you move to each side… If you need to stop before I say to, go ahead and do so. But just a few more here together. [BREATH
SOUND] Then when you’re ready, relaxing the head back
down to the floor… Letting your feet go flat… Placing your
hands on your belly. Feeling the strength that it took to do
these postures. And we’re going to use that strength as we
move into the Boat Posture. So, reaching your finger tips up towards
your knees or taking a hold of your legs, and bringing
yourself to a seated position… Your feet are flat on the floor about hip-width
apart. Bringing your hands behind you… Your finger tips facing forward, and
raising your legs, so that they’re parallel to the floor… Now,
this is one version of the Boat Posture. Lifting your sternum as best you can… If
you feel comfortable here, you can release your hands. Bring them to
either side of the legs. If you want to go a little deeper, now you
don’t have to. You can stay right here, you can place your hands back on the floor
and straighten your legs. And then there’s one
more version if you’re comfortable here, you can release your hands and bring them
to the sides of your legs. But again, finding the version that you’re
most comfortable with and staying here… A posture that’s not going to be one where
you can’t smile, while you’re doing the boat. And you want
to be able to breathe. Relax the face, breathing in and out. And again, just finding your version of the
boat, and then releasing the legs. From here, we’re going to let the feet go flat on the
floor with the soles of the feet together. Okay. So
you’re sitting, your soles of your feet together. You’re
going to bring your hands behind you, and then just let the knees fall out to either
side. Sitting up straight and tall… Breathing
in and out… Lifting your sternum… Spine is erect. Letting your knees be relaxed, as they
fall to either side in this bound-angle posture, connecting
with the breath… Breathing all the way down into the inner
thighs… Helping them to open and release… Letting the breath be deep and
full… And from here, we’re going to move into a
twist… So, to do the twist, we’re going to start by leaning to the left. As you
bring your right foot either to the front of your left knee or over your left knee,
you want to have both sit bones flat on the ground. So sitting up nice and tall…
[BREATH SOUND] Taking a deep breath in, and on the out-breath, we’re going to
twist the body to the right, as you bring your right arm behind you.
Placing your hand on the floor, and cradling your right leg with your left
hand or arm, and twisting the head, and looking as far to the right as you
can… Even looking into the far right corners of your eyes…
Finding a spot to focus on, and keeping your attention there as best
you can… In yoga that’s called a drishti. It helps
to improve concentration and focus. Breathing in as you lift up,
straighten the spine. And as you breathe out, moving to the edge of
your twist. One more deep breath in, and on the
out-breath, releasing the arms and coming back into the Bound Angle Posture.
Bringing the soles of the feet together… Hands behind you, sitting up nice and
tall… Connecting with the breath once more… Pausing here for a moment…
And then we’ll move to the other side. So, leaning to the right as you bring your
left foot, either to the front of the right leg or
over your right knee… Making sure that both sit bones are flat
on the ground, sitting up nice and tall… And then twisting to the left, trailing
the leg with your arm… Bringing the left arm behind you…
Twisting the head, so that you have a nice twist from the bottom
of your spine to the top of your spine… Looking out into the corners of the
eyes… Finding one spot of attention… Inviting
the breath to be deep, even though it’s a little difficult to
breathe deeply in a twisted posture… Consciously, taking some nice, long, full breaths… Bringing your awareness
down into the body… A couple of more breaths, in and out… And then releasing the twist by letting go
of the arms… Coming back to center, and bringing the soles of the feet together
once more in the Bound Angle… And now, when you’re ready, we’re going to
move into the Head to Knee Posture. So, you’ll start by bringing your left leg
straight in front of you, and you’ll take a hold of your right ankle and bring it across your left leg, so that the
knees are falling out on top of one another. Clasping your hands around
the right knee, flexing your left foot, so that your toes are pointed up toward the
ceiling… Sitting up nice and tall, spine erect… Taking a deep breath
in as you lift up, and as you breathe out, letting the chest fall forward over your
legs… And feeling the sensations of stretch along the back of the left leg,
the hamstrings and the calf muscles, releasing and letting
go… Then close your eyes, if you’d like. [BREATH SOUND] These muscles down the back
of the leg shorten by sitting at our desks all day long. And when we
exercise, what’s really a good idea is spend some time lengthening them
out on a regular basis. Leaving your spine straight, and just
falling forward to the place that helps you get a mild to
slightly moderate sensation… Being sure not to pull yourself down or
force anything, but letting the body open up on its own…
Gently and slowly… Relaxing the face… Relaxing the jaw… Letting the whole body relax into the
posture… And then coming back up, and we’ll switch
sides. So straightening the right leg, taking
hold of the left foot… Bringing it over your leg, and letting the
knees fall over each other… Clasping your hands around your left
knee… The toes of your right foot are pointed up toward the ceiling. Sitting
up nice and tall… Taking a deep breath in, and then breathing out as you let the
chest fall forward… Just to that place where you can sense the body saying, stop.
If you’ve gone too far, you’ve run the risk of injuring yourself.
We’re not looking for a painful sensation. My motto in yoga is no pain, no pain. So
not moving to the point of pain… There’s a sense of the body stretching and
opening. Not creating tension, but a sense of gentle releasing and letting
go… Looking for the sensation that feels delicious…
Breathing deeply, relaxing the face and jaw… Letting the
body just lengthen on its own… A couple of more deep breaths in and out. And then once again, sitting up and just
crossing your legs in preparation for some neck rolls and shoulder releases…
Resting your hands on your legs… [SIGHING SOUND] And then dropping your
chin down to your chest, and feel the stretch along the back of the
neck, letting your shoulders be relaxed…
Taking a deep breath in and out here… [BREATH SOUND] And then rolling your right
ear over your right shoulder… Releasing the muscles along the left side
of the neck… Breathing in and out, and then rolling the
head across the front, and bringing your left ear over your left
shoulder… Getting a nice stretch along the right
side of the neck connecting with the breath… And then moving your
head in whatever way feels good for you… Taking some time now to explore the movement in the neck… Moving it in
and out of sensations… Relaxing the face and
the jaw… And then bringing the head up to
neutral… And dropping it straight back, and feeling the stretch along the front of
the neck, the throat, the chest… Breathing in and
out here… And then bringing your head forward… And we’ll begin to roll the shoulders in the
forward direction. Making big circles with the shoulders…
Letting the arms be relaxed… Moving the body in response to the
breath… Breathing in as you move your shoulders
up… Breathing out as you bring your shoulders down… And then moving in the
opposite direction… Feeling the sensations in the shoulders…
Loosening and relaxing… And then when you’re ready,
coming to rest. And we’ll do something called Eagle Arms.
First of all, breathing in and bringing your arms up into a V position…
And as you breathe out, bringing your arms down in front of your
torso… Keeping them straight… Crossing the right arm underneath the
left… Bending your elbows and bringing the palms of your hand together,
and pressing them together as best you can… Lifting your elbows up, stretching
your fingers toward the ceiling… Finding your version of the posture… [BREATH SOUND] Taking a deep breath into
the back between the shoulder blades… Feeling the shoulder blades opening and
releasing… Staying connected with the breath… And
then releasing the arms… Bringing them back up into a V position…
And then breathing out… Bringing the left arm underneath the
right… Bending the elbows… Bringing the palms of the hands together,
in the Eagle Position on this side. Taking a deep breath in and out… Lifting
the arms up… Feeling the stretch now in between the shoulder blades…
[BREATH SOUND] Bringing new oxygen and blood into this area of the body that can
often be tight and tense… One more deep breath in and out. And
releasing the hands, and bringing the arms and hands behind
you, clasping the hands behind you, and squeezing the shoulder blades
together, opening up the chest… Sitting up nice and tall, breathing in and
out… Noticing if your mind wanders away once
we’ve moved into a posture, and bringing yourself back… Feeling the
sensations that are created throughout the chest and back from this
yoga Mudra Posture… And then releasing the hands, bring them to
the front again. And pausing here for a moment… Checking
in with the body and how it feels from doing those shoulder and neck releases… And now moving into a
side stretch… So, bringing your left hand to the side of your body… Raising
your right hand up towards the ceiling… Reaching your fingertips up to the ceiling
as you breathe in… And as you breathe out, bending over to
the left as far as you can go. Leaving your chest open… Inviting the
breath to be deep, stretching… Reaching the right finger tips out to the
left… Feeling the stretch all the way down the arms and into the hips… And then coming back up again… Lowering
the right hand down to the floor… Bring the left, hand up to the ceiling.
Breathing in as you lift your left hand up… To the right. Leaving the chest open… Feeling the
stretch along the left side of the body now… Notice how the
body begins to release over time. Listening to the body’s signals about how
far to go, and when to move further, or when to back
off… And then coming back up again once more, bring
your hands back to your knees and pausing briefly, breathing… Sensing the
body being a little bit taller… And now we’re going to come on to our
hands and knees for the Cat and Cow Postures. Okay. So, you want to sure
in this tabletop position that your wrists are right above your shoulders, and that
your knees are directly below your hips. You want to spread your fingertips wide
apart. And then move into Cat, you’re going to exhale
as you arch your back. Pushing out through the hands, tuck in
your tail bone, arching your back… Dropping your head, letting your head be
relaxed… And on the inhale, moving into Cow by
letting your belly be lowered to the floor, lifting your sit
bones and chest, looking up towards the ceiling… And then
breathing out as you move into Cat… [BREATH SOUND] Breathing in [BREATH SOUND]
as you move into Cow… And then moving back and forth at your own
rate of breath… [BREATH SOUND] Loosening up the spine… [BREATH SOUND] Couple of more times. And then coming into a neutral position
onto your hands and knees, and we’ll move into the Sun Bird. To do that, you’re
going to extend your right arm forward and your left leg behind you, parallel to the
floor. Reaching in both directions… Your fingertips in one direction and toes
in the other. You can look down at the floor or you can
look out over your fingertips. Relaxing as best you can, breathing… This is a posture that requires a lot of
strength in the arms, and the back, and the legs. Feeling the muscles that are
working in this posture… One more deep breath in and out, and then
lowering the right hand and the left knee. And then releasing the
spine by coming into Cat. Just one time, and then coming back into a
neutral position, and we’ll move to the other side. Raising your
left arm up and your right leg back, parallel to the
ground… Reaching in both directions… Looking at one spot of attention and
breathing… Relaxing the face and jaw… Relaxing everything that doesn’t need to
be working in order to do this posture… Breathing deeply helps you to hold the
posture… Smiling helps you to relax… Then lowering your left hand… Lowering
your right knee, and releasing the spine by doing the Cat once
more… Pushing all the way up into the arch, and then coming back into the
neutral position… One more time, and we’ll move into a C curve, which is a
simple posture, but helps gain more flexibility in the spine. So, exhaling as
you look over your right shoulder, and bring your right shoulder and hip
together. Breathing… And then exhaling as you’re look over your
left shoulder… Breathing here, bringing your left hip and
shoulder together… And doing it one more time, looking out over
your right shoulder… Bringing your right hip and shoulder
toward one another… And then one more time, moving in the
opposite direction… Bringing your left hip and shoulder
together… And then coming back to neutral… And
then lying down on our back for the last couple of postures that we’ll be
doing… You want your knees bent with your feet
flat on the floor, and you want your heels as close to possible
to your sit bones. Your arms are resting by your side with
the palms facing down on the floor. Start by flattening the lower back onto
the floor, and then lifting your tailbone up and rolling the body out
toward the ceiling, one vertebrae at a time into the Bridge Posture. Lifting
the buttocks up as high as it will go… You know, just be resting on your head,
shoulders, and arms and feet. Inviting the breath to be deep… You can
even see the belly rising and falling in this position, and try to keep
your knees about hip-width apart. And you can stay here, or you can clasp
your hands underneath your body. Wiggling one shoulder and then the other
towards the center… Pressing down through the arms to keep you
lifted up… Or you can just leave the arms at your
sides. Finding your version of the posture…
Breathing, nice, full deep breaths… And if you need
to come down before I say to, doing slowly, one vertebrae at a time. But together, let’s try to hold the posture
for a couple of more deep breaths in and out,
might help to relax the face and jaw. Feeling the strength that it takes to hold
the body in this position… Feeling the fatigue in the leg muscles…
And slowly lowering the body, one vertebrae
down at a time, by bringing your shoulders far apart, your hands by your side… Feeling the
massage along the back, and feeling the wave of release as the
body begins to melt into the floor… Pausing for a moment when you get down to
the floor, and feeling the effects of the bridge posture… And then to
release to spine, we’ll do a knee down twist by simply letting the knees fall out
over to the right to release the spine, which is always good to do after a back
bending posture like the bridge. And then moving your knees to other side
and letting them fall to the left and connecting with the breath… And then bringing the knees back up, and
we’ll move into the Corpse Pose… You can stay here, bringing your feet out
a little bit further apart and letting the knees fall together, or you can straighten your legs and let your
feet fall to either side. Your arms are at your side with the palms
facing up toward the ceiling… Or you can place your right hand over your
belly and your left hand over your chest. Just allowing the body to relax and let
go… Feeling the effects of all of the postures
that we’ve done together… Giving yourself time to relax… Feeling what it’s like just to be lying
here, completely relaxed… Staying here for as long as you’d like…
Experiencing yourself as being stronger and more flexible, not
simply in your body but in your life in general… And as you move
back into your day, noticing how this practice of yoga might
bring more flexibility and kindness into your relationship, not only
with your body, but with life itself.

11 comments on “MBSR Yoga #1

  1. Louisa Post author

    I found the instructions/video for the postures as done on a mat to be very useful. However, the seated practitioner was often not on the screen. It would be helpful to have a small picture of the seated poses being shown the whole time, with occasional close-ups as needed.

  2. Sky nvrgrn Post author

    I did an mbsr course a few years ago. I sometimes use this video for variety in my routine. thank you very much

  3. Patrick Schneider Post author

    Just completed my first session in the context of MBSR week 3. Am normally doing Ashtanga Yoga and have to say that – somehow surprisingly – these simple postures carried out mindfully did put a nice smile on my face and made me feel very calm. Thank you.

  4. Veve Priezviskova Post author

    This a good mainstream yoga session but I don't think it's mindfulness. It's too fast and doesn't allow enough time for feeling. I was too stressed by the fast change of positions as soon as I began being mindful of my body.


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