Yoga: Gentle Bed Exercises

M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Place...of wellness Videos-on-Demand 2008
Duration: 0:19:20

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Marisse Farnos:

Hello, I'm Marisse Farnos, and I'm a yoga instructor here in M. D. Anderson. And we're going to do some soft yoga practices. This time we're going to be working on the floor, or, basically, you will be working in your beds. So, first of all, keep your bed flat, and we're going to start with some breathing exercises. Okay? So, what we're going to do in yoga -- it's called pranayama, and this will help you start centering and tuning in and sort of tuning out everything that's around you. So this helps -- any breathing exercise always helps you get in touch with yourself. The other thing is at anytime of the practice you feel tired or you -- it doesn't feel right for you, please don't do it. Just go back to your breath, breathing very slowly, very consciously and aware, and that will help you. But do not do anything you don't feel comfortable with. Okay?

So, we're going to start. So, we're going to do this alternate nostril breathing, and there's two ways of doing it. The traditional way is you bring the index finger and the middle finger down like this, and you're going to close one nostril with one finger, and then the other nostril with the other finger. Okay? That's one way of doing it. Of course, if this is too complicated, just go...

[Inhaling sounds]

Okay? But this is the traditional way.

The other way is, if your nose is stuffy, and you cannot breathe out of both sides for whatever reason, then what you will be doing is just bringing your arm up -- let's say through the right -- if I say breathing through the right side. And then on the exhale -- the exhale's on the left -- you're just going to bring your hand down the left side. So instead of closing the nostrils as I talk you through this, you will be just moving your arm up through the side that's supposed to be closed, then down through the side that's supposed to open. Okay? And then back.

So we're going to do a few breaths, and this is a practice that's very good for relaxing and just bringing -- instead of bringing you up with a lot of energy, this is more serene one: one that calms you down. And more hold practice we'll say. Okay? Anyway, so we'll start. You can close your eyes or you can look at me at the beginning to make it easier for you: whatever is best for you. And we're going to start with the right side. So you're going to be closing the left side of your nostril, and you're going to inhale up through the right. Now you close both, hold it, and slowly exhale through left. There you go. Inhale through left, hold it, exhale through right. That's it. Inhale through right, hold it, exhale through left. Inhale through left, hold it, exhale through right. Inhale through right, hold it, exhale through left. Inhale through left, hold it, exhale through right. Inhale through right, hold it, exhale through left. Inhale through left, and imagine that movement going up, holding it, exhaling through the right and imagine that energy moving down your spine on the exhale. Inhale through right, imagine the energy moving up the spine, hold it, exhale through left. Down the spine on the exhale. Inhale up the spine, hold it, exhale on the right. And we're going to do one more round. Inhale through right, hold it, exhale through left. And inhale through left, hold it, and exhale through right. Then just bring your hands to your knees or to the floor. And just roll your shoulders back a little bit, very softly. That's it. And forward. That's it.

Now we straighten the legs in front of you. Make your spine very long. And bring your hands to the floor or to the bed. You're going to push down, and on the bed it's going to be easier because it's going to go down more than the floor does. Now bring your chin close to the chest, and your toes closer to you. So what you want is to contract your quadriceps: these muscles. So you bring your toes closer to you, and make the spine very long. Very long. It's like you're sitting up straight. Chin to chest and if you can straighten your arms, that's good. That's great. If you can't and you need to bend your elbows, that's okay too. Okay? But what you're trying is to make your spine longer. Imagine you're creating space between your vertebrae in the spine. So take a deep inhale, and you start at the tailbone and you go all the way up. Imagine energy going up your spine, and on your exhale, imagine energy coming down your spine through the front of the chest. And throughout the whole practice, every time you inhale, you're going to imagine you're inhaling healing, nurturing energy. And when you exhale, you're going to be exhaling all the toxins, negativity and stress. Okay?

So let's do just three rounds. Inhale up the spine, and slowly exhale down. Go at your own pace. Don't follow mine. Just go at your own pace. Do three deep inhales and three deep exhales. Up the spine, bringing in nurturing, healing energy. Down the spine, and getting rid of all the toxins, negativity, anything you do not need anymore. And then one more inhale up, and exhale down.

And now, we move around. Be careful. And just -- you're going to face the floor. You're going to face the floor. You're going to face the bed. So you're lying down: face down. This way. Yeah. Try -- I'm bringing my head up, but you try to keep your chin close to the chest. Maybe the first time you need to bring your head up so you can see me, but afterwards you can just follow the instructions and keep your chin down. That's better for the back of your neck. You do not compress the neck as much. Okay? So, hands by your sides, forearms close: about your face distance. And try to keep the forearms parallel to each other: not like this, and not like this. They're sort of parallel. The right distance between both forearms is this one. So you can find that by just bringing your hands to your arms like this and that will give you the idea of the distance. So you can go like this and then you open the arms.

So you're lying down and then slowly come up, keeping the heels close to each other. If you can't that's okay. Now feel your tailbone and try to bring it closer to the floor. It's like if this is your tailbone - like my hand here - and see if you can push it down. That might help release the lower back a little bit. And now bring the chest forward. And these are very minute movements: they're very slight. And breathe deeply so you do this. Breathe deeply. And then slowly come down, one hand on top of the other, forehead on your hands. And just take a few very deep breaths into your back. Imagining all this energy coming into your lower back, middle back, upper back. And as you exhale, exhale and let go of those things you don't need anymore. Inhale and exhale. So now we're going to do it again, but this time you're going to keep your chin on the floor, either looking at me or forehead on the floor. And you're going to take a deep inhale and push the right hipbone on the floor: your pelvic bone. And bring the right leg up just a little bit, but keep it straight. Very good. You're like this. Keep breathing deeply and slowly relax the head, relax the leg. And now we do the other side. Bringing, pushing that left hip on the floor and bringing that left leg up, just a little bit. And breathe deeply and just notice how your body is reacting. Notice what muscles complain, and keep breathing through those complaints. Okay. Come down and again take a few breath, one hand on top of the other, and forehead on the floor. Inhale, cleaning nurturing light, and as you exhale, exhale anything you need to let go mentally, physically and emotionally. Let go.

Now, slowly we bring hands again to the sides, and you can do either one of the ones we just did, or you can do this one which is a little bit harder. Okay? So that's up to you. You can do the chest up a little, just the legs up a little or this one. And this one bring the chest up, a little bit on the exhale pushing the hands on the floor, bring the tailbone closer to the floor. Push the tailbone down and bring the legs up.

Now see if you can relax those shoulders a little. Good. Notice what parts of your body are really working. Notice that. And just breathe into those areas. Breathe into the areas that need more work. That's it. Keep your focus, and slowly exhale down and it's time to take a break. So just take a few breaths into any area that you feel any tension. And let go on the exhale. Let go. So again, you can go back to the first one we just did: up, second one, legs up, third both legs up or try the fourth one if you're in for a challenge today. Okay?

So the fourth one. Inhale, chest comes up, exhale, legs go up, and can you guess? Arms go up. Only if you feel comfortable, okay? And it's like you're flying and you can play with this. You can have the arms here. You can fly like a plane here and you can bring them behind you, or forward. This is the hardest one: forward. So just play with it and don't hit anything around your bed please. Be careful. So breathe deeply and this one is our last break. Take a few deep breath and relax. And now very slowly, we're going to lay down in the opposite direction. So, lay down and we're going to hug our knees, close to the chest like this. And here take a deep breath and then just rock from one side to the other. You can rock like this or you can try and maybe just move the knees in circles. Whatever feels more comfortable for you. Take a deep inhale and in the exhale, we're going to straighten the left leg, bring in the right knee close to the chest, and then slowly bringing the right knee all the way to the left. Left hand by the right knee: right hand on the side. And just do whatever feels comfortable. You might not be able to bring the right knee all the way to the left: that's fine. Just keep the right foot on a surface, either on the leg or on the bed. Don't keep it up in space because that's not good for your knee. And just take a few deep breaths. And then slowly, when you finish your exhale you come back to center. Straighten the right leg, on the next inhale left leg close to chest, fingers interlock in front of it. Right leg stretch. Deep breath. On the exhale, we bring that left knee all the way over to the right. Breathing deeply into your belly. Breathing deeply into your chest. Remember inhaling energy that's nurturing, that's healing. And exhaling everything you don't need anymore.

On the next exhale we slowly go back to center, and just close your eyes, take a few deep breath, focus on your body, notice how your body feels, any physical sensations. Notice your thoughts, what's going through your mind. Don't judge your thoughts, just let it pass. Let it pass like clouds in the sky and notice what you're feeling emotionally. And the same thing, don't judge it. Just feel whatever you're feeling. And from this place of presence, create an intention for the rest of your day. Keep breathing deeply. And this is the end of the lying down postures. You have a great day. Thank you.


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