Brrr…. a bright and chilly start to this morning as I forgot to turn on the heat last night. Nothing like cold noses, toes and seeing your breath in the morning. Thank you for your patience while the latest blog was updated. I love technical difficulties. It really makes me appreciate my life when things are fully functioning. It’s Sunday, so decompress with these poses and bring out your journals and write down your intention, your sankalpa for the upcoming week. For more information on the importance of journaling and helpful hints to get you started, see the article at the end of this blog. Enjoy!
Supported Forward Fold in Straddle
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.
Sublime Side Stretch
Props: bolster or 2 or 3 pillows or blankets
Benefits: Stretches the torso and provides a gentle twist which allows a release in tension in the lower back area.
Place bolster or the 2 or 3 blankets or pillows horizontally on your mat or floor. Lie on right side with hip at the base of the blankets or pillows. Torso should rest on the stack. Right arm rest on the floor with the palm up. The left arm can reach over the head to increase the stretch. Close your eyes and allow your body to relax and release any stress or tension. Slowly sit up and switch sides for the same amount of time.
Focus on your breath. Breath into your right side allowing that gentle stretch to travel from the tip of your fingers down your lower spine. Sense the left side of your body gently melting and surrendering to the ground beneath you. All tension and stress being recycled by mother earth. Sense the gentle letting go of your muscles and knowing that you are safe and supported. Breath deep and exhale soft and long.
The Inspiration – Journaling
Journaling allows people to clarify their thoughts and feelings, thereby, gaining valuable self-knowledge. It’s also a good problem solving tool. Journaling about traumatic events helps you process them by fully exploring and releasing the emotions involved and by engaging the hemispheres of the brain in the process, allowing the experience to become fully integrated in one’s mind. The health benefits of journaling have been scientifically proven.
- decreases symptoms of asthma, arthritis and other health conditions
- improves cognitive functioning
- strengthens the immune system
- counteracts the negative effects of stress
Steps to Journaling Successfully
- Buy a journal. This may seem simple but what kind of journal you purchase is important. Blank pages versus lined pages or perhaps even journaling on your computer. There are many on-line options. Use your book to reflect your creativity or go with function first.
- Set aside time. One of the most difficult of parts of journaling. It’s important to block off about 20 minutes each day to write. Is it the morning you prefer to start you day or in the evening, to wrap up the day. And maybe the only time you have is during a lunch break. Take whatever time you get.
- Begin writing. Don’t think about what to say, just begin writing, and the words should come. If you really need help, here are some topics you can begin with:
– dreams, possible purpose in life, childhood memories and feelings surrounding them, where you would like to be in two years, best and worst days of your life, if you could have three wishes, what are you grateful for……..
- Write about thoughts and feelings. As you write, just don’t vent. Write about your feelings, but also about your thoughts surrounding the emotional events. Relive events, and try to construct solutions and ‘find the lesson’.
Keep your journal private. If you are worried that someone else may read it, you may self-censor and you won’t achieve the same benefits from writing. Lock away the book or if using a computer, password protect it.
Lastly, some tips for writing:
- Aim to write at the same time each day
- Reread the entries
- Notice patterns in your writing
- Writing for 20 minutes is ideal but if you have only 5 minutes, use it.
- If you skip a day, or 3, just keep writing when you can
- Don’t worry about grammar or neatness
- Try not to self-censor, let go of ‘shoulds’ and just write what comes.