Bienvenidos! This new blog photo may seem like a slice of heaven.  Honestly, it was awe inspiring to rise before the sun and then welcome it with open arms, in all its grandeur and heat.  Sun salutations take on  new meaning.

Besides, the beautiful moments in the morning practicing yoga, I spent some time purging and letting go.  My elimination exercises took place by the beach, as I scribbled in the sand those things that were not serving me and then let the waves wash them away.  Or on our snorkeling trip, picking up a beautiful sea urchin from the sea floor, admiring it for its beauty and tenacity, and then returning it to its home.  And to the ultimate in releasing, not lamenting the fact, that I could not stay in the warmth of the  Punta Cana sunshine, and relishing instead, in that I was there.

What do you hold onto that is not serving you either mentally, physically or emotionally?  Check in with yourself during the day to notice if what you are saying, doing or thinking, affects your physical body, your attitude and your communication with others.  Quickly, jot those observations down in your journal.

The Breath
Diaphragmatic or The Breath of Elimination

The diaphragm is the primary engine of the breath. As we inhale, this dome like muscle descends toward the abdomen, displacing the abdominal muscles and gently swelling the belly. As we exhale, the diaphragm releases back toward the heart, enabling the belly to release toward the spine.
This breath can be done either lying down, seated or standing. Place one or both hands at your belly, inhale slowly and deeply either through the nose or through pursed lips and send that breath down into the deeper part of the belly. The abdomen will inflate like a balloon with the inhale, and deflate with the exhale.  You will feel the belly swell against the palms of the hand.

Very calming breath for your nervous system and may also increase the amount of oxygen you get into your body.  Begin with a few breaths and continue to increase.  As in any breath, if you begin to feel dizzy or lightheaded, stop.  Soon with continued practice, this may be the only way you breathe.  

We practiced this breath while being reclined with knee support and hands to belly.

The Poses
Childs Pose – Straddle 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.

Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddhakonasana)

Cat not included for ultimate comfort

Benefits: opens the hips and groin facilitating blood and energy flow to the urinary tract and reproductive organs. Opens the chest and abdomen benefiting breathing problems. 
Props: bolster, 4 blocks (or firm cushions, pillows or rolled-up blankets), 4 blankets and one extra blanket for warmth, strap and eye pillow

Place a block lengthwise under one end of a bolster to prop it up on an incline, add another block under bolster for stability. We used the wall in this week’s class placing the bolster at a higher elevation. Place a double-fold blanket on floor next to low end of bolster and a long rolled blanket on top next to bolster (for sacral support). Sit with your back to the short, low end of the bolster. Place two blocks where your knees will rest (can top with a soft blanket or use other props as necessary for propping knees)  Bring your legs into Bound Angle Pose with the soles of your feet together. Wrap a blanket around your feet to create a feeling of containment.  Lie back on the bolster. Place supports under your arms so that they are not dangling and there is no feeling of stretch in the chest. Stay in the pose for 10 to 15 minutes.