Good Morning, Good Morning, Good Morning – Watch how I start my day!  Our household is now back in some semblance of order and we move on.  Our mailbox has been inundated with summer camp information for the kids.  Which leads me to wonder what we will do this summer for our vacation.  Which leads me to think about vacation and how much I need one right now.  I don’t necessarily want to escape but just take a necessary break, drifting in and out of rest and relaxation.  

This week, Carmen led you through an extended savasana attuned to the visualization of drifting in a raft, a safe and supported raft (see guided visualization at bottom of blog).  Journal about your safe place, where you can let go, feel supported and find your nugget of yourself for awhile.  If you don’t have one in mind, just jot down your characteristics of this haven and maybe a picture will begin to emerge.  By all means, draw your retreat out on paper as well.

Here is a little snippet of my favorite place and its sounds.

The Poses
Supported Seated Forward Fold with Crossed Legs (Chair Support)

Desk Variation

Benefits: calming, gently stretches lower back, nice transition from the days activities.  A good pose to do if you need a few minutes break from your daily work, easy to do and easily accessible.  Good for headaches.  Breathing is easier since muscles of the respiratory system are relaxed.
Props: chair, 2-4 blankets

Place blanket single-fold on chair draping down. Legs can stretch through chair or straddle or cross-legged.  Arms placed folded on chair in front of you. Rest forehead on arms. Tilt chin slightly toward your chest.  Close eyes. For comfort or lower back issues, sit on blanket, add rolled up blankets under knees if legs in straddle, or blocks/blankets under knees if cross legged. May add a blanket at sacrum for grounding.

Legs up on Chair (Viparita Karani)

Props: chair, 2-3 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow
Benefits: relaxes the muscles of the lower back, legs, refreshes the legs, relaxes the muscles and organs of the abdomen.  

Extras: Sandbag 

Place a blanket on chair so you don’t feel the hard surface.  If you need to elevate the body, you can place a triple fold blanket in front of chair, then place your hips on blanket to one side, swing the legs up onto the seat of the chair as you lower your upper body onto the mat or floor.  Use a neck roll to support cervical spine. Place a blanket or sandbag on legs to ground you in the pose. Arms release to the sides with palms turned up.  Use an eye pillow to shut out any light for ultimate relaxation. An eye pillow or some type of weighted object (I’ve used stuffed animals) can be placed in open palms to move and free up energy.  Stay for up to 10 minutes.  Your beginning practice may consist of only 5 minutes.  Feel the legs drain, the stress melt away.

Guided Visualization

“ Raft “
 by Carmen Molina
“Take in a nice long inhalation and a gentle, soft, long exhalation.

Feel your body slowly letting go.
You are now at a far away beach.  It is sunny, warm, and there is no one around.  This is your very private beach.
You walk to your raft and slowly push it towards the water. 
You climb on it and lie down, letting the gentle waters slowly move the raft out into the ocean.
This is a very safe ocean and the raft is unsinkable, completely safe.
As you lie on this raft, you visualize a green light from the ocean slowly embracing your feet.
It is a very soothing light and it brings you joy and a sense of calmness.
Now as this light embraces your feet, give your feet permission to let go.
Now bring this healing light up to your ankles.  Feel the ankles letting go.
Bring this healing light up to your legs.  Feel the legs letting go.
Bring this healing green light up to your knees.  Feel the knees letting go.
Bring this healing green light up to your thighs.  Feel the thighs letting go.
Bring this healing green light up to your hips.  Feel the hips gently melting into the raft and letting go.
Bring this healing green light up to your chest and arms.  Feel the chest expand with this light.  Feel your breath lighter and your shoulders and arms very light and soft.
Focus on this space you are creating with this light and your breath.
Bring this healing light to your throat.  Feel the throat open.
Bring this healing green light to your face.  Feel your face glowing with this beautiful green light and bringing a soft smile on your lips.
Bring this healing green light to your head.  Now see it glow from the crown of your head in a beautiful white light.
Breath in that healing white light through the crown of your head and exhale PEACE.
Breath in that healing white light and exhale LOVE and HEALTH for you, all mankind, and all that surrounds you.
Now slowly, as you breath, your raft returns to shore.  You put your raft away by the palm trees and know that whenever you wish to escape, you can always come to this safe place.
Bring some sensation to your feet, hands, and rock your head from side to side.
Slowly bring your knees to your chest and roll to the side that is most comfortable for you.  Breath deeply and on your next exhale, slowly come to a seated comfortable position.”