March 22 Restore
| FLOWERS ARE BLOOMING EVERYWHERE
Spring transition means letting go of the old relationship, situation or event and making a new beginning. As spring leaves bud and flowers bloom, you, too, will find new energy to make a new beginning.
- Give yourself time alone. What do you need now? Think about what you want right now. What is waiting in the back of your mind to begin? Who would you like to be? What would you like to do in the time you have remaining? Visualize your future unfolding the way you want.
- Accept that past achievements can no longer be the standard for satisfaction in the present. Don’t cling to old identities, roles and routines if they no longer meet your needs. Focus on today and all that you can enjoy and accomplish before tomorrow.
- Set realistic short- and long-term goals for yourself. When you know what kind of changes to expect and what you cannot predict, you are more likely to set realistic yet flexible goals. Start today to realize your dreams of who you want to be and what you want to do.
- Reward yourself for your progress. Give yourself healthy treats and pats on the back. Seek supportive, positive companionship. Compliments and encouragement are invaluable for avoiding past ruts and for making new beginnings.
Learn to notice and experience the changing seasons of your life from fall (making endings) to winter (experiencing your pain) to spring (making new beginnings). You will feel a renewed energy, a renewed hope, and a renewed desire to grow and give to others.
*This excerpt was taken from Transitions and Changes: Practical Strategies by S. Quick, R.J. Fetsch and M. Rupured (6/11) See September 23rd blog for full article on transitions.
Alternate Nostril Breath (Nadi Shodhana)
This breath invites the calm in, balancing both sides of our nasal passages and our brain. We tend to breath predominately with either the left or right nasal passage and we become unbalanced. A few minutes at the start of a class or practice, can merge the two hemispheres of the brain and allow you to become more receptive.
Breathing through the right or left nostrils gives different effects.
increases heart rate, increases verbal performance, stimulates left brain, increases rate of blinking
Left Nostril decreases heart rate, increases spatial performance, stimulates right brain, reduces rate of blinking,
The Practice: Find a comfortable seat or laying down. Using the right hand, bring the middle and index fingers to rest toward the palm. Alternatively, they can be placed at your third eye (forehead area). Begin with even breaths through both nostrils, gently close off right nostril, then inhale through left nostril and exhale through the right nostril. Gently close off left nostril, as you inhale through right and exhale through left. Keep the same count for both sides. That is one round. Repeat for 5 to 6 rounds or more. Tongue comes to rest on roof of mouth.
Other variations of this breath are:
- Retaining the breath after the inhale while keeping both nostrils gently closed.
- Extending the exhale longer than inhale
- Cessation of breath after the exhale, with only one nostril closed
Mental Nadi Shodhana. Mentally instruct the breath to come in and out through alternating nostrils. Can even visualize breathing in from one far away place and breathing out to another far away place (Mt. Everest (Inhale), African plains (Exhale)
Props: 2-3 blankets, neck roll, one bolsters
Benefits: counteracts the slumped position of our posture from sitting, computer use, driving, everyday activities. Opens the chest to help breathe easier. Improves digestion, reduces fatigue and can lift your mood.
Just like a babbling brook with boulders (soft ones!), imagine your body like the soft rushing waters laying over those boulders, smooth, flowing. It will allow the natural curves of the body to be held up gently and the breath to flow.
On your mat, place one bolster where your knees will be and another where your lower legs can rest, one blanket rolled up where the bra line is (base of scapula), and a neck roll for the cervical spine. Shoulders rest on the floor, arms to side with palms facing up or come into Goddess arms. If ankles need support, use rolled-up blanket or dish towel. Eye pillows can lightly rest on eyes or even be used on forehead (useful for headaches) or even on shoulders (wherever you need to release tension). To begin with stay in pose for 10 minutes working up to 20 minutes. Great to use in savasana. Feel the heart open, the strain from holding yourself up all day evaporate.
Variations: Feeling cranky in the lumbar spine? Place blanket to fill the curves. Want to feel more grounded while still opening the heart? Place rolled up blanket against wall and soles of feet touching blanket. Need to feel cuddled? Swaddle your head in a blanket cradle.
Sublime Side Lean
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.
Belly Down Savasana
Props: bolster, 1 or 2 blocks, 2 blankets
Benefits: soothing to the nervous system, grounding, stimulates the
digestive system, gentle chest opener, lengthens the legs, ankles, releases the pelvis.
Place bolster lengthwise on your mat and lay an unfolded blanket over it. One or two blocks can go in front of the bolster. Come to all fours and release your belly and upper body onto the bolster with legs extended behind you. Head rests on block. You may need someone to cover you with the blanket as it swaddles you. Add another blanket for weight to the legs. Delicious!