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Mini-Training: Debbie Harbec

Calming Yoga & Breathwork with Debbie Harbec

I created this 30-minute video to help you calm your mind and body, and increase your self-awareness.  Using gentle yoga, adapted for most abilities, I lead you in a simple sequence of breath and movement.  When you can integrate your breath with your movement, ultimately you feel a sense of control and ownership of your body, and from that place you can begin to make positive shifts in your life.


Hi welcome. I’m Debbie Harbec. I am a yoga teacher and life coach, and I’m going to do a little sequence of yoga with you today. That includes breathing and also some postures, but in a way that actually calms and relaxes you. So this is a practice for anybody, for anybody who Wants to relax for anybody who’s never done yoga before, which is absolutely fine.

And if you need or looking for weight loss relaxation in the form of yoga can be a great thing. And in the form of breathing, of course, is what we’re going to do. The reason why it works for weight loss is because. When your body is in a relaxed state and you can decrease your stress hormone, then your body is more capable of releasing weight.

It will do that for you when you’re extremely stressed or chronically stressed, your body wants to hold onto it. It’s just programmed that way. Just in case, you know, something should happen. It wants to keep the weight on. So when you can learn to relax, you can actually help release your weight. So that’s a really good benefit of this.

So I hope you’re going to enjoy this practice and we’re going to get to it. So before we begin, I just want you to know some of the tools that you can use. And one of them is to have a yoga mat. So some sort of anti-slip surface, you want to be able to stand. And not fall down. So that’s ideal something.

Your feet will actually stick to another great thing to have is a yoga block or a yoga bolster, which has a really firm cushion. You might actually have a firm cushion in your house, which you can use. If not, you can take a towel, ideally, a towel or not a blanket because it tells more firm and just roll it up and it can create this kind of bolster for you.

So feel free to get that right. Bottle of water. If you have any, that would also be useful. So we’re going to have these tools. We’re going to keep them to the side for now. And we’re going to start today on our backs. So take your time, getting there however you want to roll yourself on your back. And we’re going to start with bended knees.

So we want to keep the knees bent the feet in contact with the floor or the ground. And just have a hand on the upper chest, a hand on the belly, and you want to tilt your pelvis a little bit. So you can that you know, that curve at the bottom of your spine, you want to try to lose the curve and really feel the contact with your entire spine and the ground beneath you.

So just getting really grounded here and we’re going to come into breathing. So in breathing, we want to inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth, making it long and slow.

I see. Your body as it rises and falls with your breath. And when you start it with yoga, so you’re continuing to breathe, I’m talking, but you continue to breathe. When you started with yoga, you might only feel the breath in the top of the chest and that’s okay. That’s normal. A lot of people feel that it might take a while before you start feeling the breath in the belly area.

But ultimately that’s where we want the breath to be able to go, because that triggers our relaxation response at the diaphragm. So we want to be able to get to that point. But for today, we just want to connect with our breath, feel it in our body. Inhaling fully through the nose and exhaling fully, really feeling your belly button drop towards your spine.

As you exhale,

let’s take one more. Really good breath hair.

Awesome. So we’re going to take the arms and place some along the sides.

Yeah. And we’re gonna lift the arms and actually bring them above the head. So let’s start with the arms above the head instead. So we’re inhaling here in this position, exhale. We’re going to lift the arms and bring them along the sides of the body. So inhale to lift and bring them above the head, exhale, lift, and lower.

Awesome. So continue with that movement. Any the arms come up and over exhaling as a calm arms come up and back down and let’s do two more complete cycles. Inhale. And exhale.

And one more cycle inhale

and exhale. Fantastic. So here with the arms on the sides of the body, we’re going to inhale in this position and then exhale, bring your right knee towards you. Good and inhale to bring the flip back down, exhale are going to bring the left knee in and inhale it back down. So nice and slow. We’re moving with the breath exhaling as a brain in the end and healing as we bring the foot down intentionally moving with your breath.

Allowing actually a breath to lead your movement. So you’re following it and your breath might be faster or slower than mine. So you can go at your own pace, just follow your cue. So exhaling is bringing knee in inhaling as you bring it down. We’re going to do one more exhale. And inhale. Perfect. Now we’re going to take feet a little bit wider.

We’re going to bring the arms out to the sides, inhaling in this open position and then exhaling, bring the knees down towards the right. Good. And then inhaling, lifting the knees and exhaling as we bring them down towards the left. So inhale. Continuous movement. X has they come down inhale as we move exhales.

We come to this twist. Now you can think of it as like waves in the ocean and actually your breath might sound like the waves as you inhale and exhale as the waves come in and the waves go out. So just enjoy this gentle movement, warming up the hips, learning to move with the breath.

Just one more to each side.

Fantastic. So from here, we’re going to make our way to sitting. So feel free to turn onto your side and get yourself up. Or if you’re feeling a little bit more energetic. You might want to roll yourself all the way back up. So feel free to get there as you want. Now we’re going to be sitting. So if you want, if you’re not flexible and you’re comfortable on the floor, use the blocker a bolster and bring it under your hips.

So that. If you’re S you can keep your spine straight. Now, if you want to use a chair that is also fine. You just find a way of sitting with your spine straight legs, do not have to be crossed. So you find a way to sit important is, like I said, it’s a spine to find a way to sit that’s comfortable for you.

So we’re going to be just relaxing. The backs of the hands, opening the hands here. This is all always a position of receiving. So often we we’re giving, giving, giving, and so rarely do we receive, so it’s really important to open your hands, to receive what it is you want to receive today. And that’s what I want you to think of now as an intention for your practice today.

Just one word. So what do you need more of in your day today? Is it more calm or focus? Maybe you want to be more present or strong. Maybe you need some confidence today. Just pick your word, breathe in, breathe it out.

Awesome. And then we’re just going to let the arms go. Let’s take a few big shoulder circles. So like to inhale the shoulders up, exhale, squeeze them back and down. So inhale, squeeze and draw. Nice big shoulder circles. Just to loosen them up a bit.

Fabulous. So let’s just drop the arms down. We’re going to move the arms with the breath. So on an inhale or bringing the arms out and exhale to the heart. Inhale, bringing the arms up, palms together, exhale, bow the head forward, grouping the hands down, inhale to stretch them up again and exhale to slowly.

Let them come back. Good. So we start again, inhale and exhale. And again, you go at your own pace, inhale them up, exhale them down, inhale them back up and float them down and you follow your own breath. So you might be faster or slower than me. Just follow the breathing, inhale up.

Let’s do it one more time. One more sequence.

And just slide the arms float back down. Fantastic. So here we are. As we inhale, we’re lengthening the spine sitting nice and tall, upgrade through the neck and then on an exhale bow, the head forwards, the rest of the spine stays tall, just bowing, head chin towards the chest feeling of stretch behind the neck.

And then just take your time to roll the head to one shoulder and then roll in the front of the body towards the other shoulder. So just doing some nice gentle neck rolls. Being really mindful here because the neck and the shoulders, they carry a lot of tension. So take your time, maybe hangout out where there’s more tension.

If you want to hold the posture there a little bit, you do what feels good for your body. Okay. So just keep moving the head, try to maybe coordinate that with your breath, inhaling to one side, maybe exhaling to the other. Just do two more gentle roles.

One more.

Good. And then just float the head back to center and we’re going to be moving to hands and knees. So if you are on a block or in a chair, just move that to one side and bring hands. We want to stretch out the thing. Bring the wrists under the shoulders knees under the hips and the tops of the feet on the mat or the toes on the mat, depending on how you feel or we’re going to do cat cow.

So great little stretch for your lower back. So on an exhale or tucking the tailbone in, and then sending that spine upwards, like a rainbow towards the sky. Drop the head and then on the inhale or dropping the belly down, gently opening up the heart, lifting the head and let’s go again. So exhale, we get that stretch all the way from the tailbone to the top of the head and then inhale.

We’re stretching actually through the front of the body, through the belly and the neck and the heart. So keep it moving again. Move at your own pace. No, what feels good for your body? And let’s do it one more time to cat, nice stretch, and then cow pose. And then we just come to a flat back here. So I’m just going to move myself up, be here because we’re going to stretch the left leg back toes on the mat.

And we’re going to gently move back and forth to here, to feel a bit of a stretch through the bottom of the leg, the calf muscle. And if it feels really good, as you can hang out there, you don’t have to move. You can hold the position. If it feels really nice, you decide, and maybe coordinate this movement gently with the breath.

Good. And then just come back to that center, that neutral position, and we’re going to lift the legs. So the toes are pointed down. The leg is parallel to the floor and we’re just holding this position. So you’re going to notice you, you’re going to be using your core muscles, meaning your abdominals and your lower back to keep the leg here.

And also of course your arms and shoulders are working in your other leg, but really feeling it in the center of the bar. So we’re going to inhale here. Exhale. We’re going to tuck it in some sort of like cat pose. We’re arching the spine up and then inhale, stretch it back again. So exhale and inhale to stretch exhale, tacking it in me towards the nose, new story at the knee and inhale.

And we’re going to do one more exhale. Okay. And inhale and just let it go. So let’s just take a moment for our wrists and our fingers and hands here, just to move them around. If ever on your hands and knees, it’s a bit of a challenge you can come on to your fists instead that could help or really just focus on stretching your fingers at nice and big.

So we’re coming back into that posture wrists under the shoulder. Knees under the hips and this time the right leg goes back toes on the mat and then just gently move it back and forth. Just introducing that little stretch into the back of the leg and also through the bottom of the feet. All right.

Moving with the breath. Nice gentle movement. Holding it. If you want to feeling good here

Good. And then just coming back to a neutral position here and I lift the leg up toes pointed down leg parallel to the floor, flex the foot a little bit. The leg I’ll be more engaged, feeling the strength that takes in your body to hold this position. So we’re going to inhale here and then exhale, tucking it in raising your knee and nose towards each other, and then inhale to stretch it back.

So exhale and inhale and exhale. Inhale. We’re going to do one more exhale and inhale. Just stretch it back and then bring the knee back down again. Just move your wrists around a bit. Now we’re going to move into a child’s pose. So depending on your body, you might want to open your knees a bit, especially if you’ve got more, more weight in the front of your body, you might want to have the knees open.

It’s a lot more comfortable and then bring the body forward. So if your hips don’t want to stay on your, on your heels, that’s fine. Your hips can lift up because we want to bring the forehead down. Or you can place a cushion under your forehead and come to this position. So, important thing is we’re relaxed in child’s CO’s, it’s a relaxation posture.

It’s a forward fold. All these forward. Folds in yoga are relaxing postures. So forehead down, letting the body go. Feeling the inhale in the back of the body. So really feeling that space created as you inhale through between the ribs and between the vertebrae and exhaling, maybe just folding deeper, melting a little bit more into this posture, letting go.

Let’s take one more, really nice breath here.

Wow. So we’re going to come out of child’s pose and we’re just going to lift our knees up and walk our feet forward. So we’re going to come to a forward fold again. If you’re got more weight in the front of the body, you might want to open your feet a bit biter, which might feel really good. You have more space and keep the knees bent.

So especially. And me too. I’m lacking flexibility a little bit, so it’s good to bend the knees. It takes the pressure off the lower back, and that’s what we want. So bend your knees, generously, hang forward. If you want, bring your hands down or if you like, you can hold your elbows and that sort of stretches at the spine.

It can feel really nice. Some people like it, some people don’t. So you get to choose. And if you’re hearing, you might want to twist from side to side again, that’s totally personal preference, you decide. But again, this is a forward fold, so it’s a relaxing posture. We just enjoy it. Ah, good. And if you are holding onto your elbows, we’re going to release.

And on an inhale, we’re going to slide the hands up, halfway up the legs. So we’re just coming to this halfway point or your hips or points back. Your head is pointed forward. Opening. The hearts is just squeeze the shoulder blades together a little bit here, Elvis close to the bar. And we might feel this really nice stretch at the back of the legs.

We don’t want to lock our knees. So keep the knees soft, but find this nice stretch. Enjoy this position three here.

Fabulous. And then on the next exhale, we’d bend the knees and dive forward. And on the next inhale, we were really unroll at nice and slow. One little vertebrae at a time, really taking your time here to get yourself up. Wow. And then once you’re here, you wanna just open your shoulders, open your hands. And we’re going to inhale, send the arms all the way up, bring the palms together and then exhale, slide the hands all the way down.

Like you’re zipping down through the center of your body. And then again, inhale and exhale. And one more time. Inhale and exhale.

Fabulous. Okay. So we’re going to come to mountain pose, which means that you’re standing with your feet, hip width apart, noticing where your hips are. So notice your hipbones are the ones that stick out in the front here the most, and you want your ankles knees and these bones and your shoulders to sort of line up.

So we’ve got this going on and you want to tuck your tailbone in just a little bit. It’s going to engage your belly. You’re going to feel that in your belly and lower back. So just engaging those muscles, open up the shoulders, meaning, roll them back and open up your hands. And I just want you to feel this position.

So feel free to close your eyes. If you feel stable here, close your eyes and mountain pose. Just notice if you feel strong and stable in this position, as you breathe.

No. I want you to imagine the breath as you inhale, you’re inhaling up through the ground, through the front of your legs, all the way up through your belly, lifting the chest up through the top of your heads, everything lifting, and then exhale, just grounding down, dropping the shoulders, feeling the hips drop dropping down through the heels.

And then we inhale again, inhaling ups through the front of the body, lifting energizing, an exhale to connect with the ground, to bring ourselves into connection with the, with the gravity and the ground beneath us and inhale again, lift and exhale, letting go. One more breath here

and then let it go.

Fantastic. All right. So from mountain pose, we’re going to inhale, bring in your arms all the way up and exhale. We’re going to send hips back. You don’t have to go low. You can just send them a little bit back into chair. So again, notice where you can come to here. It’s okay. No matter where you are, you want to notice that your weight is towards your heels, holding your mountain or your chair pose here, and then on the next inhale, just send it all the way up and let the arms go.

So we’re going to do a sequence with that. Inhaling, bringing the arms up, exhaling, sitting in chairs. In healing to bring it up and exhaling to let it go. Let’s do it again. Inhale. Stretch up. Exhale. Sit in chair. And, you know, to stretch it up, exhale to let it go. And one more time, inhale, exhale, inhale, and exhale to let it go.

Fantastic. So we’re going to move to the top of your mat. Again, just taking a moment to line up in mountain pose. We’re not rushing from one posture to another. We always want to be really mindful of the body getting to alignment. So that ankles, knees, hips, shoulders opening up through the body. Tilting of how this a little.

Taking a breath or two,

and then we’re going to step back with the left foot. So directly back so that you don’t bring the foot behind the other foot. You want to have this kind of hip width between your feet. Looking forward and your body is up and down. You’ve got that back foot completely planted on the ground. So at about a 45 degree angle, feeling the connection under both feet and then bring the arms up, look forward.

This is a warrior one posture. So feeling nice and strong and warrior one warrior. One’s a very vulnerable, but strong posture, inhaling and exhaling. Feel that grounding down through the legs, through the feet. So inhale, lifting up through the chest, through the arms, exhale, grounding down, inhale exhale.

Now on the next inhale, we’re going to. Straighten that front leg almost all the way. And then exhale, bending the knee, but bringing your arms down and back a little bit. So inhale, straighten the front leg, exhale, inhale and exhale. Let’s do two more. It feels good. And one more time and exhale pushing down through the feet.

Good and step out of the pose. All right. So we’re going to come back to mountain. You don’t have to switch sides just me. I’m switching sides. So again, take a moment. Line yourself up in mountain. Feel free to close your eyes. Just to feel yourself in space here. Feel your body up through your feet. Ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, and chest through your neck to the top of your head.

Roll the shoulders back, open the hands. Just feel yourself here. Nice and stable. You are safe and strong in this posture.

So from here, we’re going to step the right foot back again, planting that foot. So the whole foot’s on the mat. 45 degree angle feet are not lined up, so we don’t want to tip over. We like to be nice and stable, open the shoulders, send the arms up, looking forward forward focus. Really good posture warriors are for presence and focus.

So look forward. And hell lifting up through the heart, lifting up through the arms and exhale, grounding down through the legs and feet. Inhale and exhale, grounding, not even notice the shoulders grounding down shoulder blades, slide down a bit. So inhale and exhale. Now on the next inhale, we’re going to straighten the front leg and exhale, bending and dropping your arms down and back.

Good inhale. Bringing it up. Okay. And exhale down and back, inhale and exhale. One more time. Inhale it up.

Fabulous. Let’s step out of that pose. Shake that out. And we’re gonna make our way down onto the mat and we’ll back down onto our box again. So take your time and getting there however you want to get. There is good. I’m just going to take a sip of water. All right. So rolling yourself all the way back down, enjoying a bit of relaxation after all the movement.

Let’s bend the knees and let’s bring heels close to your bum, but still keeping the feet flat on the mat. So wherever that is for you, your feet are hip width apart, and you want to have your big toes, slightly pointed, inwards towards each other. You want to have the arms along the sides of the body with the palms down, and we’re going to tilt the pelvis like we did at the beginning.

So we really feel that connection between the floor and the lower back. So are you going to be giving some bridge lifts here? We inhale to lift exhale to lower. It’s not a bridge like in gymnastics. All we’re going to do is go from this pose to lifting and we’re taking our time to lift in lower. So on the next inhale let’s lift and one vertebrae at a time lifting up, maybe up to the top of the shoulder.

And then on the exhale, just as calmly and slowly, we lower it all the way back down. Got it. So inhale, tilt the pelvis even a little bit to feel that contact and then lift opening real really feel that inhale in the heart, exhale slowly and controlled. Control it back down. So inhale, lift. Pushing through the feet, maybe even using the hands to push down, we’re going to do one more.

So inhale to lift and exhale to lower. Fantastic. Let’s just take a moment with the knees and how do the knees. Cool just to take the pressure off the lower back, give it a little stretch, maybe rock rocket, back and forth here or side to side, I should say. Okay. So we’re going to keep the legs here. I’m going to bring the arms out to the sides and then very gently.

We’re going to drop the legs down to the left side. So in a way that we can bring the feet down. The legs might not come all the way down and that’s okay. And we want to turn the head to the opposite sides. Turn that to the right. Just find this posture. See if you can relax the legs as much as possible.

If you can’t, we can always place a block under the legs or wear the towel just to have something to lean on. Just holding this reclined twists. Should feel good in the body. Really good for the digestive system. Great for the spine.

Okay. And then nice and controlled. We’re going to bring everything back to center. So bringing the knees again, back in over the hip. And on an exhale, then bringing the legs down to the right this time, settling them in wherever they want to go, try to bring the feet downs. You’re not hovering. You’re actually able to relax wherever that is for you.

Move your legs around until you can get to a place where you can let go, and you can turn your head towards the left. If you want to get that full spinal twist in. Breathe here. So really notice the breath as you inhale through the nose. Just notice the breath in the chest, maybe in the belly. Exhale. Just notice the release.

See if you can let the legs go a little bit more on the hips. Relax a little bit more. Okay.

Awesome. And then we’re going to bring everything back to center here. So we’re going to hug legs in if you want, bring the head up towards the music and get a full spinal stretch this way. If that feels okay for you. And then from here, I’m not going to go through Shavasana, but if you want to, you can pause the video, just lay down either with your knees, bent or legs out and my hair and relax until you feel as long as you feel you want to, which you can do.

But for now, we’re going to go back to sitting. So get back to sitting anyway, you want to, if you’re feeling energetic, roll yourself. Allow yourself to come to sitting again. If you want to put yourself in a chair, do that. If you can prop up your hips, that might be the most comfortable thing to do, place your legs.

However you want to. And just again, relax the backs, the hands on the legs and notice the spine. Bring that spine into nice long alignment. Open the shoulders.

And just for a moment, come back to the intention, that word that you thought of at the beginning of the practice today. So whether it was that presence, confidence, calm, whatever it was, just come back to that word, feel it in your body, how you want to feel.

Let’s do one more, really good breath here.

Amazing. And let’s bring our hands to our heart and we bow Jen.

We say, now I’m a stay in yoga to say that the light inside of me honors and recognizes the light inside of you, which I think is such a beautiful thing. To, to say to somebody. So I really hope you enjoyed this practice. I hope you were able to get calmer through this practice and if you’d ever like to join me, I’m I will give you my information at the end of this video in the notes.

And thank you so much. Thank you for being here.

About Debbie Harbec

Debbie Harbec is certified life coach and yoga teacher living in beautiful Montreal, Canada.  She helps women over 45 prioritize themselves, lose belly fat, get healthier and feel their best as they navigate perimenopause, menopause, and all the lifestyle changes mid-life can bring.  She’s also a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, as well as mom to three young adults. In her free time she enjoys running with an awesome group of friends, cooking vegetarian fare, and cuddling up with her family and mini-schnauzer, Amber.

Connect with Debbie here: Debbie Harbec Coaching