Ghouls and Girls ready for the Big Night

Happy Hallow Eve all.  Today and tonight all sorts of creatures, big and small will roam our neighborhoods.  Are you ready?  There is a somewhat contained feeling of excitement here in my household. Ghosts and goblins hardly slept at all and I know that I woke up feeling like I went through the Tales of the Crypt episodes.  All of our family and community traditions got me thinking about the origins of Halloween.  While I was researching these origins, I came across a lot of variations which helped me find my own connection to the holiday.  This is just one of the histories to share.  Perhaps weave your own traditions into the history of Halloween and enjoy yet another opportunity to be in the moment.

The Breath
Pursed Lips Breathing
This is a great breath to control shortness of breath and can be done anywhere. Inhale through your nostrils for a count of 2 at the beginning, purse or pucker your lips, and exhale out of the pursed lips for a count of 3 or 4. As your breath regulates, you can inhale and exhale for longer counts. As with any breath, if you begin to feel lightheaded, please return to your normal breath.  This breath improves ventilation, releases trapped air in the lungs, induces relaxation, great for when you are exerting yourself in lifting, straining, climbing stairs, slow breathing rate.

The Poses
Seated Forward Fold on Chair

Props: chair or stool, bolster, blankets, neck pillow
Benefits: lengthens spine, centering, aids in relaxation response,
aids in moving digestive process, grounds through feet and seat

Bring chair or stool close enough to the wall where you can sit
in mountain pose and lean bolster at an angle against the wall.
Place blanket or neck rolls on bolster to rest head on. Additional
blanket on seat for comfort or under feet. Drape arms by sides or
on lap. Breathe into back body, sinking into the prop breath by breath.

Wide Angle Forward Fold

Props: chair, 2-4 blankets, neck rolls
Benefits: releases the pelvis which can help release tension in the buttocks, hips, belly and lower back.  Quiets the organs of digestion and elimination. Opens lower back area. As head rests on bolster, releases tension in frontalis where we hold stress in contracted state. Cooling and calming to overall body and provides a nice transition from day. Can help with sleep.

Add a folded blanket to seat of chair and another for you to sit on. You will straddle the chair bringing it in as close to your body as possible to support you as you forward fold.   Rest arms on the chair. Avoid too much pressure on the eyes.  To lesson any strain in the lower back, sit on a single or double-fold blanket.  Can add blanket rolls under the knees. Stay for 5 to 10 minutes. 
*note that for some students the breath can be constrained. Practice belly breaths to begin with.

Legs up on Chair

Props: chair, 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 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.