Our endocrine systems are amazing. Throughout our bodies we have glands releasing just the right amount of hormones to help us sleep, relax, charge up, grow, develop, regulate temperature and SO much more. These glands include the pituitary, pineal, thyroid, hyperthyroid, spleen/pancreas, adrenals, reproductive organs - from the crown of the head to the base of the spine!
But what happens when these glands produce too much or too little? Fatigue, overwhelm, insomnia, temperature fluctuations, inability to relax and more. In this practice we will focus on bringing the endocrine system and all it's glands back into balance to relieve and prevent these and other symptoms.
Join me for this hormone balancing practice with the detailed practice guide below OR join me for the video practice: http://bit.ly/YinYoga4HormonesAdrenalFatigue.
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Supported Fish Pose with Sukhasana (crossed) Legs
Hold: 2-5 minutes +
Take a rolled towel or blanket across the mat. Settle down onto it with the shoulders fully supported at first and then slowly begin to inch your way towards the floor with shoulderblades barely grazing the floor behind you. Take the feet into criss cross easy seated pose with right in front of left. Start here allowing the shoulders and upper back to fully release and open. Take your arms up overhead or out to sides (even interlacing them if comfortable). You can stay here for the remainder of the time OR gently inch your way to where the shoulders are fully supported on the floor. Cross your left leg in front of your right halfway through. To come out - stretch your legs out straight for 5 breaths then bend knees, press into your feet and lifting your hips - remove the blanket from underneath. Bring your hips back down and relax for 5 more breaths before continuing.
Hold: 2-5 minutes per side
Come onto your seat (use a folded blanket if needed to prop under hips) and take both legs out wide to the sides. Reach under your left leg with your left hand and pull the heel into the pelvis. If this is uncomfortable for your knee, take the heel out further from your body. Relax the knees and begin to fold forward taking your hands out to prop yourself up or come all the way down onto a block, bolster or the floor if appropriate for you. Settle in, ground through your heel and your pelvis and allow gravity to take you forward and down. To come out, press up with your hands and bring both feet flat - windshield wiper the knees side to side and then take the second side.
Sphynx Pose (lifted)
Hold: 2-5 minutes
Come onto your belly and bring your elbows under your shoulders or slightly in front on top of a folded blanket or bolster, palms together with outside edge down. Feel your chest pulling forward and belly towards the floor. You can sink your chest between your shoulders OR keep lightly engaged to lighten the load on the back. If you want more, bend your knees to 90 degrees and/or drop your chin to your chest. Sense the area of your lower back and breath into it. Release the tension in your lower back and shoulders. To come out, slowly lower your head to the bolster and take your hands out to sides.
Hold: 1-3 minutes
Lift your head and take your elbows under your shoulders. Take your hands a little wider to sides of your mat. Turn your thumbs forward and fingers out and straighten your arms. If you need to come down lower, take your hands out further in front of you or bring them in closer. Focus on releasing the glutes and legs and allowing your chest to come forward. Keep shoulders soft and let them slide down your back. To come out, turn the elbows out and VERY SLOWLY lower down. Rest your head on the backs of your hands and rock the hips gently for 5-10 breaths.
Hold: 1-2 minutes per side
Come onto hands and knees. Take your right knee over towards your right hand, left leg out behind you in pigeon pose (your right heel can be under your torso). Place a bolster or blanket/towel under your hands to lift, keeping the hands in closer to the hips if possible (you could use blocks or books here too). Lengthen the spine and reach out through the crown of the head and then release the hips deeper to the floor, keeping your torso long. Avoid crunching into the lower back but imagine being lifted at a curve to lengthen and open the hips, legs and lower back. Continue onto the next pose for this side.
Hold: 3-5 minutes per side
From Swan, take any props off to the side and slowly lower your upper body down to the floor either all the way with head on floor or forearms propping your up (or propped up on blocks/blanket/bolster). Reach out through the crown of your head and lengthen from the back leg through the crown then allow the body to release deeper into the pose. Breath and feel the back opening with new found space. To come out, press into the palms and lift up and back into downward facing dog for 5-8 breaths before taking Swan and Sleeping Swan on the second side.
Melting Heart Pose (Anahatasana)
Hold: 2-5 mins
Come onto hands and knees (blanket underneath for comfort if needed). Begin to drop your belly down towards the floor keeping hips directly over knees. Start to walk your hands out in front of you (wide if that opens your shoulders more) and drop your chest and forehead to the floor (or a block). If it feels okay, you can take chin to floor - remember 2/3 of your max pose. Breathe deeply into the spine and chest (engage navel if this is too much on your lower back). To come out, engage your core and begin to lift, walking your hands back towards your knees. Take Downward Facing Dog for 5-8 breaths - bending one knee and the other.
Revolved Child's Pose (Parvritta Balasana)
Hold: 2-5 mins per side
From hands and knees, bring big toes together, knees wide apart (as wide as mat or whatever you can sustainably hold). Walk your hands over to the right and take your left arm underneath your right shoulder with palm facing up. Try to rest the back side of your left shoulder on the ground and your left temple on the floor or a block/blanket. You can "tent" your right fingers and press into them to twist deeper, tuck your right hand behind your back OR walk the right hand out diagonal from your shoulder. After a minute or two, you may find you can tuck the left shoulder underneath further. To come out, gently press into the right hand and lift back to center. Take 10 cat/cow tilts with slow breaths to realign and take the second side.
Hold: 2-4 minutes
Take the blanket underneath you and fold over the edges. Bring your knees onto the double fold aligning your knees with your hips, your ankles with your knees and flexing the toes. Take your elbows underneath your shoulders and slowly allow the knees to slide open more and more until you have reached 2/3 of your maximum depth. You can use a bolster or blocks to support your torso here or simply hang out - lowering all the way to the floor with your body in alignment if that feels appropriate for your body. To come out, press through forearms, tuck heels back in and begin to drag the knees closer together taking the weight on the forearms. Sit with heels under your hips for 5 breaths and notice the "rebound" effect of energy flowing through the body.
Hold: 2-5 mins per side
Come onto your back and walk both heels over to the right, stacking the left ankle over the right (option to just keep them side by side). Keeping the hips in place, move your upper body and head over to the right as well. Take arms up overhead and grasp left wrist with right hand OR simply take hands where you feel stretch but not pain. Turn your head wherever it feels most comfortable. Take deep breaths into the left side body feeling the opening from the left foot through the left hand. To come out, release the hands to the hips and move the upper body back to center. Slowly unwind the ankles and realign the lower body to center. Relax with arms and heels wide for 1 minute. Try the second side.
Hold: 2-5 mins
Gently press through your feet to lift hips slightly over to the right side. Bring knees to chest and drop over to the left side, stacking the knees as much as possible. Take arms wide out from shoulders and turn head to the right. Allow gravity to pull your knees ground bound and settle your shoulders deeper. Enjoy the release of the spine, back and hips in here and breathe deeply into the space you have found. To come out, turn head to center, engage core and come back to center hugging knees in and rocking for a few breaths. Take the second side.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Allow the heels to settle out to the corners of the mat, slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands out to the sides, palms up. Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go! Take a 6 count inhale, 6 count exhale, 6 count hold at the bottom of the exhale for 3-5 rounds. Focus on your breath. LET. IT. ALL. GO.
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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