|Sweetness in Life
I am just not that into birthdays – others yes, my own, no. It is not that I am in denial but I feel like everyday is another opportunity to be here celebrating my time on this green planet. So while this is my Big “50”, I chillaxed about it. I did however, have a wonderful day. My family, my extended family, and friends made it such a warm, cuddly, and delicious day. Their birthday greetings and gifts gave me a quick little trip down memory lane of how I know that person and the light that they bring to my life. Gratitude abundance!
Just as I put my head down to sleep on this special day, I sent each of those rays of light a little love in the form of a Metta Meditation. Here are a few versions of practicing loving kindness and gratitude to others. Don’t forget yourself as you repeat these affirmations.
Waking this morning, I smile
A brand new day is before me.
I aspire to live each moment mindfully.
And to look upon all beings
with the eyes of kindness and compassion.
May you, and all other beings, be happy and
free from suffering.
Or meditate and reflect upon your heart, acknowledge how it feels (open/closed, receptive/defensive). Repeat this Metta verse.
May I be happy
May I be peaceful
May I be safe from harm
May I enjoy happiness and the root of happiness
May I experience ease and wellbeing in my mind, body and spirit
And after your asana/yoga practice, sit quietly and send affirmations to your heart, someone close to you, someone you have difficulty with, all beings everywhere.
May I/you be protected and safe
May I/you be healthy and strong
May I/you be happy and at ease
May I/you care for myself/yourself wisely
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.
Reclined Bound Angle
Props: bolster, 4 blocks (or firm cushions, pillows or rolled-up blankets), 4 blankets and one extra blanket for warmth, strap and eye pillow
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.
*This week’s class featured a foot wrap, adding comfort and support for the feet, as well as a way to bring the feet in closer to your groin, opening the hips a little more. Hope that you enjoyed.
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.