We enjoyed such a yummy practice on Tuesday.  Led by the muy bonita Carmen, we traveled to the pyramids, soaked in this warming loving color and left floating on a cloud.  I hope the Relaxation Response stayed with each of your throughout the rest of the day and into the next.

The Palming
The eyes have it and sometimes too much!  Overstimulation from computers, iPads, phones, Kindles, all kinds of electronic devices can occur and then our brain does not shut off, our emotions go haywire and our bodies suffer along with the rest of us.  We spent part of our forward fold with our hands cupped over our eyes, blanking out any light from coming in.  How did that feel?  What was the immediate effect on your mind, your breath and your body?  How was it to transition back to the light in the room?  Closing the eyes into darkness can stimulate an area in our brain called the amygdala where emotions can get going.  It can help with memory. Just remember to lightly cup the hands over the eyes without too much pressure on the eye socket.  Rest for a few minutes especially if you have been at the screen for awhile.

The Poses
Elevated Legs

Props: bolster, blocks, two blankets, neck roll, strap (not shown)

Benefits: reduces fatigue, reduces swelling in the legs and feet, soothes the nerves and eases mental agitation.  Great for after a long day on your feet.

Place bolster lengthwise on your mat and stack a blanket on top for comfort.  Can add blocks to adjust for height.  Strap goes around the calves so legs do not fall out to sides. Support low back and neck with blankets and neck rolls.  Allow arms to open to the sides with palms up.  Breathe softly in and out, noticing the rise and fall of your chest.  Allow for a little wiggle room to get comfortable and release hold on  your muscles and tension.  Feel the body sink deeper into this resting pose and the earth. 

Supported Forward Fold with Legs Extended (Paschimottasana)

Props: bolster, 1-2 blankets, block
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. Massage for the digestive system.

Sit on a folded blanket and extend legs out in front of you. Place bolster lengthwise along the legs adding a blanket or block to top as headrest. Lay your upper body on bolster and rest your forehead on blanket or block. Arms can drape on bolster, along side or any other comfortable position.

Chest and Belly Release (Minimal Prop)
Props: Two blankets and any additional support for comfort in head
Benefits: Release psoas muscle, stretches out extended leg and ankle, opens hip joint and acts as a soft massage to the internal organs as breath flows in and out of the body.  Mild shoulder opener as well.

Fold two blanket halfway and stack next to each like as in photo. Come onto your belly and bend one knee at a 90 degree angle and place on one blanket. Other legs extends back.  Arms move into Goddess arms (90 degree angle) and turn your head to a side. Stay for 5-8 minutes per side and when you feel the need to turn your head, do so with a soft inhalation.