We have welcomed into our home for 12 days a beautiful young girl from Mulhouse, France.  Her name is Lola.  I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be to be staying in a foreign country where the native language whips around you like the wind.  Our fast talk, our colloquialisms, our funny way of doing things, all must be entering her brain at warp speed.  Despite the whirlwind, Lola always has this beaming beautiful smile on her face.  She is happy to be here and probably keeps coming back to her intention of why she is here, even at the lowest point of her day.

I try to recall my foreign travels and how I felt to be sensitive to her needs.  But my experiences may have been lightyears from what she is experiencing.  Then I say to myself, just be there for her when she needs something.  Just put a beautiful smile on my face and remember our intention for welcoming her into our family and All will be okay.

The Breath
Smile Breath
We didn’t practice this one yesterday but thought it appropriate.
This breath can be practiced in any position and at any time to boost those “feel good” hormones.  Place thumb and index fingers together and bring in front of your mouth.  On an inhale draw a smile from the center of the lips to the top of the ears and wrap the smile around the ears as you exhale. Try this at least three times

The Poses
Legs up on the Bolster

Props: chair/bolster, 2-3 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow
Extras: Sandbag, Webkinz stuffed animals
Benefits: relaxes the muscles of the lower back, legs, refreshes the legs, relaxes the muscles and organs of the abdomen.  
Blanket on belly or legs.

Place a blanket on chair or bolster with blocks 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 prop 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.

Reclined Twist
Props: bolster, 2-4 blocks, 4 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow

Extras: blanket for warmth
Benefits: Allows breath to come in to the rib cage and belly more freely. Detoxifying. Can reduce high blood pressure. Relieves fatigue and insomnia.  Safe for a Prenatal twist.
This can be a very prop intensive pose but once you are in it, it is worth it.  Begin with right side of body, place the bottom of your right foot against the wall with leg extended. Left leg is bent at a 90 deg. angle and propped up with two blocks and a bolster with maybe a blanket on top. at least two blankets, S-fold blankets, and/or pillows placed along spine for support, lengthwise.  Extend your left arm out to the left side and lay it on a smaller stack of blankets either s-fold or triple-fold out to your side.  Right arm extends out to the right.  This means the left arm is at a higher elevation than right. Head can remain neutral to ceiling or turn to one side.   Extra blankets can be placed in spaces that need more support.  Neck roll for cervical spine and eye pillow.
*we are digging placing the arms in Goddess pose (not pictured) so try that one out as well. Place blanket support under arms. 

Reverse Savasana with Goddess Arms
Props: 2 blankets double-fold stacked end to end, towel

Benefits: Relieves stress in the back muscles, allows for a more secure feeling than in a basic savasana, replenishes the body with oxygen after practice, and quiets the mind.

Place two double-fold blankets side by side, stacked next to each other lengthwise. Lie down on your belly, as you turn your head to the right (place a towel where your head is).  Bend your right knee at a 90 degree angle and place on blankets.  Bring arms to goddess arms out to either side.  To stay warm and secure, cover yourself with a blanket before settling into the pose. Stay with the right side for 5 minutes and then gently switch to other side as you turn the left knee out and the head to the left.  This is an alternative to savasana with back on floor or a side-lying savasana.
The Inspiration
Your Restorative Practice
Reflect and journal on your journey thus far into restoratives.  
  • What were the first few weeks like, awkward, uncomfortable?  
  • How did you find the ongoing practice, even if only once  a week?  
  • Was it like coming home to a familiar place?  
  • Did you find the practice easier?  
  • What aspects of it were like meditation for you?
  • Jot down those poses you liked the most, the least?
  • What were the residual benefits for you, better sleep, less tension, clearer thoughts, less pain in an area or simply nothing?