The art of swaddling

When was the last time that your mom or dad tucked you into bed?  Maybe you are the one doing the tucking these days.  With the busyness of life (work, errands, phone calls, commutes), we then feel uncontained, our energy spilling out and subsequently not having enough energy to keep up.  Our final pose in class this week cleverly used the technique of swaddling to comfortably contain our physical body which may have, in turn, sent a signal to our nervous system to slow down, reset.  The message sent was “We are safe, supported, now let go of constriction.”  To read more about the Restorative Practice and the very realness of the process of letting go.  Click on the link below.

When Restorative Yoga Doesn’t Feel RelaxingBY KAREN MACKLIN, SEQUENCE BY JILLIAN PRANSKY 

The Breath
Peace Breath

Steady flow of breath in and out at an even rate on the inhalation and exhalation while silently saying these affirmations (can create your own affirmations depending upon what you need).

Breath in Peace, Breathe out quiet
Breathe in Quiet, Breathe out stillness
Breathe in Stillness, Breathe out Balance
Breathe in Balance, Breathe out Light
Breathe in Light, Breathe out Love
Breathe in Love, Breathe out Peace

The Poses
Straddle Forward Fold

Props: bolster, 2-4 blankets, may use a chair, if difficult to reach bolster.
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.

Place blanket single-fold on bolster 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.

Belly Down Twist (on bolster)

Props: bolster, two blocks, at least 3 blankets
Benefits: chest and hip opener, massages the organs in twist, opens the side body. Comforting.

Place the blocks on mat, one lower height, one higher then lay the bolster on blocks at an incline. Fold two blankets for arm supports on either side of the bolster and add a blanket to sit on.  Place right hip at lower end of bolster and on an inhale, lengthen the spine while lowering the body towards the bolster, gently turn your belly towards the bolster. Bend knees and stack legs. Arms rest on the supports by your side.  Begin with conscious breathing to settle into the pose and as sensations rise and fall, adjust your breath. Relax the weight of your body into the supports.

Reclined Bound Angle (Swaddled)

Props: bolster, two blocks, at least 3 blankets, neck roll
Benefits: releases tension in pelvic area, hips, neck, low back. Good for PMS and menopause as the circulation moves
to the reproductive organs, stimulates internal organs.  Feeling of containment, security.  Good for anxiety to ground yourself.

Place a block lengthwise under one end of a bolster to prop it up on an incline, add another block under bolster for stability.  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 and bring soles of your feet together. Roll up a blanket (longest length). This roll is placed over the feet and then tucked under the legs to support the knees and hips.  Add additional blankets or neck pillow for your head to rest on. Place another blanket over you like a poncho and tuck the ends under your arms so that you are swaddled in the blanket. Stay in the pose for 10 to 15 minutes.