Hello and welcome to Mindful Cherry Yoga .
This is a chair based yoga practice that emphasizes mindful awareness of body sensations .
While one engages in gentle postures and stretches that are linked with the breath .
Mindful awareness or mindfulness is the process or skill of paying attention to present moment experience with an attitude of curiosity and acceptance .
So throughout this practice , you will be cued or instructed to bring a curious and nonjudgmental attention to the sensations in your body .
You do not need any special clothes for this practice .
Although extremely tight clothes or skirts and dresses may not be comfortable or appropriate for certain poses .
If you feel comfortable , you can also untuck your shirt for this practice .
In order to make it easier to stretch your arms above your head .
For this practice , it is recommended to use a chair that does not have wheels and a chair that has a straight back and a seat that is flat and not tilted .
Keep in mind that everyone's bodies are different and it is important to honor your body and its limits .
If any movement or posture causes you pain , it is wise to back out of the posture rather than trying to work through the pain .
So please feel free to skip any exercise .
Finally , it is suggested that you do your best to set aside any goals for this practice , including the goal of trying to become relaxed .
You may indeed feel relaxed at times and it is also ok and normal for you to go through the practice and not feel relaxed at certain times .
It is suggested that you just follow the instructions and see what happens for you being open and curious about your experience and what your body has to say to you .
Now , when you are ready , let's begin before we start moving and stretching .
Let's take a moment to calm our minds and settle into our bodies .
We can begin by sitting back , letting our body rest and be supported by the back of the chair , but making sure not to slouch , close your eyes .
If that feels comfortable for you and place both of your hands on your belly without trying to change your breathing , begin to notice any sensations of breathing that are present in your belly .
What sensations do you notice ?
Perhaps you feel the subtle and gentle rising and falling of your belly on each in breath and out , breath , your hands on your belly may move slightly as your belly balloons in and out or maybe you do not feel much at all .
And if so reminding yourself that this is ok , just note to yourself .
What your particular experience is .
There is no right way to feel here .
We're simply taking a moment to become more familiar with our breathing in our belly .
Continue watching your breathing in your belly for a few more moments here .
Now , when you are ready , open your eyes , if they were closed , remove your hands from your belly and just rest in your chair .
We will begin with a basic pose called seated mountain pose .
Come to the front edge of your seat and establish yourself in a comfortable upright sitting position .
If you have any lower back pain or if sitting at the edge of the seat is strenuous for your back , then feel free to sit with your back , resting against the back of the chair .
Now sit up tall with a straight back , but without being too stiff or rigid , have your feet flat on the floor about hips with a part and have your ankles directly under your knees .
Let your shoulders be relaxed .
Your facial muscles soft and let your pelvis provide a stable base for your upper body .
Your arms can be in your lap or dangling at your sides .
We call this seated mountain pose .
While it is simple , it is different than the way we often sit in a chair rather than slouching in our chair .
We can sit in this upright position , imagining our body is a tall and strong mountain feeling your feet firmly rooted in the ground and feeling as if your upper body is gently rising towards the ceiling , sensing your whole body sitting here , solid , strong and tall .
During the practice , we will use the seated mountain pose as a home base pose to come back to and rest in between stretches and postures .
If your seated mountain pose is at the edge of your chair , keep in mind that you can always change your position and rest against the back of the chair at any point during the practice .
If you need to rest your back , ultimately , it is important to listen to your body and to put yourself in a position that is comfortable for you .
Let's try some simple movements in which we coordinate our movement with our breathing in your seated mountain pose .
Take a deep breath through your nose and raise both of your arms to the side and then up towards the ceiling as you exhale , lower both of your arms in front of you , bringing your hands together in front of your chest .
Let's try this again .
Inhale and raise your arms , exhale and lower your arms in front of you hands together .
Continue this motion at your own pace , raising your arms on the inhale and lowering the arms in front of your chest , on the exhale , go at your own pace , feel free to close your eyes or keep them open , whatever is most comfortable for you , try spreading your fingers .
Now as you raise your arms each time .
Notice the air flowing between your fingers .
Also feel the sensations of your palms pressed against each other as you lower your hands down .
Know whether your hands are feeling warm , cool or somewhat clammy or sweaty at this time , just notice what it's like for you as you continue raising and lowering your arms at your own pace .
And according to your own breathing , now the next time your hands are together in front of your chest , keep them there and just breathe when you are ready , lower your hands to your lap and rest in seated mountain posts as you rest here .
Remember that throughout this practice , it is perfectly normal for your mind to wander and for thoughts and emotions to arise .
Each time you become aware of thoughts and emotions , acknowledging them , letting them be and then gently bringing your attention back to the sensations in your body as you engage in various stretches and postures .
Let's try a technique in which we coordinate our movement with our breathing .
This technique is called cat and cow stretches .
It is a good way to warm up the spine .
Begin in seated mountain poses and place your hands face down on top of your thighs , inhale and gently arch your spine as you push your belly and your chest forwards and look up slightly towards the ceiling as you exhale round your spine , looking slightly down towards your belly button .
Let's try this a few more times .
Inhale and arch your spine , exhale and round your spine .
Inhale , archos spine , exhale around your spine , inhale and come back to a neutral sitting position .
Take a moment to acknowledge any sensations arising in your body .
After these movements , let's try the same movement and add our arms .
Inhale , arch your spine , look up slightly and extend both your arms to the side as if you're going to give someone a big hug .
Exhale and round your spine as you cross your arms in front of your chest and look down slightly .
Let's try this again .
Inhale , arch and open your arms .
Exhale round and cross your arms .
Continue this motion at your own pace .
Remember as you inhale , you are opening your arms and arching your spine forwards .
As you exhale , you are gently rounding your back and crossing your arms , go at a pace that is comfortable for you .
As you continue these movements , bring a curious attention to what you are doing with your body .
Where do you feel a stretch ?
What muscles are working ?
Just notice what it's like for you .
And now gradually bring the movement to a stop when you are ready and come back to seated mountain poses , close your eyes .
If you are comfortable and observe any sensations in your body at this moment , let's try a gentle seeded twist , begin in your seated mountain pose and bring your left hand to your right knee and your right hand to your right hip .
Now take a deep breath in and as you breathe out , gently turn your body towards the right and look over your right shoulder .
Notice what it's like to breathe while you are in this twist .
Where do you feel your breath and your body ?
Notice any sensations of stretching and opening in your spine and continue to breathe as you hold this twist for a little bit longer on your next exhale , slowly come out of the twists and back to seated mountain pose .
Let's try the other side , bring your right hand to your left knee and your left hand to your left hip .
Now take a deep breath in and as you breathe out , gently turn your body towards the left and look over your left shoulder .
So continuing to hold this twist here a little longer breathing and being mindful of any thoughts or emotions that may come , acknowledging them and gently coming back to the stretch on your next exhale , slowly come out of the twist and back .
Two seated mountain posts , observe how your back feels after doing these twists .
Let's try a simple stretch for a neck to start , take your right hand and reach over your head to hold on to some area on the left side of your head .
Now using your hand gently , bring your right ear towards your right shoulder , be gentle with your neck and do not force the stretch only move as far as what's comfortable for you , let your shoulders be relaxed as you do this and hold this next stretch and breathe naturally .
Notice how the stretch feels for you .
Acknowledging any sensations that arise and on your next exhale , slowly letting everything go and coming back up to seated mountain poses .
Let's try the other side with your left hand this time , reach over your head and hold on to some area on the right side of your head .
Now , use your hand to gently bring your left ear to your left shoulder .
Hold this position and breathe naturally .
Notice how the stretch feels on this side compared to the other side .
And once again , acknowledging any sensations that arise , feeling into the stretch and on your next exhale , letting everything go and resting in seated mountain posts .
For this next series of movements , we will hug our knees towards our chest .
One at a time , begin in your seated mountain pose with your hands on your lap .
Breathe in and hug your right knee towards your chest with your hands , holding onto your knee .
Breathe out as you rest your right foot back on the floor .
Breathe in and hug your left knee towards your chest , breathe out and rest your left foot back on the floor .
Let's repeat this process .
Breathe in and hug your right knee to your chest , breathe out and lower the leg to the floor with awareness , breathe in and hug your left knee to your chest , breathe out and lower the leg to the floor with awareness .
Continue this at your own pace for a little bit .
Alternating from leg to leg , linking your movement with your breathing .
Now , bring everything to a pause and rest in seated mountain .
Both taking a deep breath in and a deep breath out this time as you breathe in , hug your right knee to your chest and keep it there .
Take a few moments to just breathe into the stretch .
Maintain your current position and begin slowly rotating your right ankle and circles with awareness , try rotating your ankle in both directions .
Now , on your next exhale slowly and with awareness , lower the right foot to the ground as you return to seated mountain post , take a moment to observe the sensations in your right hip , right upper leg and your right ankle .
Now let's try the other side as you breathe in , hug your left knee towards your chest and keep it there as we did before .
Take a few moments to just breathe into the stretch .
Now , as we did before rotating your left ankle and circles with awareness , breathing into the ankle , joint , feeling into any sensations of opening , stretching or releasing , try both directions .
If you would like .
Now on your next exhale slowly and with awareness , lower the left foot to the ground .
As you return to seated mountain post , take a moment to rest in your chair and bring your awareness to any lingering sensations from the movements you have just done .
Let's try a gentle forward , bend to stretch our backs begin in sea in mountain pose .
But now bring your feet and legs a little closer than hips with a part , have both of your feet flat on the floor .
And when you are ready , slowly hinge forward , bending your upper body forward towards your legs , allow your arms to hang down in front of you only bend as far as is comfortable for you .
If it feels ok for you , let your upper body rest against your legs .
Breathe naturally here , feeling the stretch in your lower back .
When you are ready , slowly come back up to an upright position .
Take a moment to just rest in seated mountain post .
Observe how your body feels after doing this forward fold just as we move in this practice , it is also important to stop and be still .
So we will now come into a final relaxation .
This technique is called a body scan .
When you are ready , sitting back in your seat and getting comfortable closing your eyes , if you wish and breathing naturally , as you let your body rest fully into the chair .
For this technique , we will slowly bring a mindful attention to various parts of our bodies .
One at a time noticing what sensations are present with an attitude of openness and curiosity to begin bringing your attention to the bottoms of your feet .
Perhaps feeling your socks or shoes in contact with the soles of your feet .
Acknowledging any sensations that are present at this time , warmth , coolness , tingling , wetness , whatever it may be .
And if you don't feel much at all , that is completely fine .
Just acknowledging that as your experience and now noticing the toes , the spaces between the toes , the tops of your feet , the ankles , the ankle joints themselves and moving up to the lower legs , the shins and the calf muscles , perhaps feeling your pants in contact with your skin .
Tuning into any sensations that greet you at this time , shifting your attention to your knees , noticing the knee caps and the bottom of the knees and now noticing your upper legs , perhaps feeling into the areas of your legs that are in contact with the chair , exploring the big thigh muscles and hamstrings , simply recognizing whatever is present at this time .
As we bring a close and curious attention to our upper legs , you may quickly realize that your mind has a life of its own and has already wandered off planning , worrying or daydreaming , remind yourself that this is normal and ok , each time you notice your mind wandering , then recognizing what is on your mind in that moment and then gently letting it go .
This does not mean you need to push other thoughts away or shut off your mind .
Rather , we can do our best to just acknowledge other thoughts and emotions as they rise in an open nonjudgmental way and then let them be coming back to your body again and again .
And now bringing your attention to your belly .
Feeling , any movement of the breath in this area , perhaps feeling your shirt in contact with your belly .
And now moving to the lower back , opening to any sensations here and experimenting with breathing into any sensations of tension or stiffness throughout this body .
Scan , you can experiment with breathing patience and kindness directly into any areas of pain or discomfort in your body doing the best you can to bring an attitude of patience and kindness to areas of pain or discomfort and seeing if you could just be with the pain and discomfort as best you can .
And now shifting to the upper back , the shoulder blades and up to your neck and shoulders and now noticing your chest feeling into any sensations and perhaps exploring whether you can feel your heartbeat at this time .
Body sensations in our upper bodies are often signals or indicators of various emotions we may be feeling .
So as you explore sensations in your upper body , you may become aware of various emotions , some pleasant or some unpleasant and seeing if you could just acknowledge these emotions without pushing them away or pulling them towards you just allowing and letting them be with you .
And when you are ready , bringing your awareness slowly down your arms , noticing what position your arms are in and opening to any sensations .
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Sitting here in the chair , sensing into your whole body and listening to whatever your body has to tell you at this time , as we bring this body scan to a close , taking a final moment to breathe awareness and compassion throughout your entire body .
And so as this practice comes to a close , perhaps taking a moment to thank yourself or congratulate yourself for taking the time out of your day to nurture your mind and body in this mindful chair , yoga practice .
Remember that mindfulness practice is portable and you can bring mindfulness into your everyday life no matter where you are or what you are doing .
You can always pause for a moment and tune into your body and your breathing as a way to connect to the present moment .
In fact , you can never leave behind your body and your breath .
They are always with you .
I hope you enjoyed this mindful chair , yoga practice .
Thank you .