Home for the Holidays

Remembering my Pop Pop Mullins on this day. A true Navy man, in it for life.  He served onboard one of the ships at Pearl Harbor and made it to shore safely.  One of the lucky ones. So while I am proud of him for his service to our country, I also remember a Pop Pop who served his family, friends and strangers here on American soil.  

He was a gregarious fella, always greeting others with the brightest of smiles where the corners of his mouth, spread from cheek to cheek.  He called the lassies “Sissy Girl” as a term of endearment.  Put my Pop Pop in a crowd of strangers and 30 minutes later, he has made everyone his best friend. He was above all else human and he had his dark side which for me as a grandchild, was not as apparent, then say, for his children.  He was well respected by his fellow servicemen and officers and retired with honors.  And he treated my Mom Mom with respect, always holding doors for her, helping in the kitchen and there when she needed him.  Those were the later years and maybe he was making up for all the time that he was away in the Navy.  But I could see that he loved her and all of us, loud grandchildren clamoring over their quiet house.

So while I think of the holiday season, I think of my Pop Pop Mullins – Paul B. Mullins.  By the way, they had the very first pink artificial tree that I ever saw, and boy oh boy, I could sit in front of it all day long.


3-Part Breath (Dirga Pranayama) – Expanding energy, circulation

Come to a comfortable seated or supine position, fully supported. Place hands on your belly and breathe in enough so that you feel the abdomen rise into your hand on the inhale and relax on the exhale.  Stay with the awareness of the rise and fall of the belly for at least 4 breaths (Part 1 of Breath).  Next, place the hands alongside your ribs.  Inhale deeply to feel the belly rise and the ribs expand under your fingers. Exhale and feel those parts relax and release.  At least 4 breaths here, (Part 2 of breath) slowly expanding the lungs.  The final part of this 3-part breath, is to place the hands on the chest, below the collarbones. Breathe in to feel the belly expand, the ribs separate slightly and the chest lift into the hands – filled with light and openness.  Exhale and witness the release of your body through the chest, ribs and belly.  4 breaths.

Supported Heart Opener

Benefits: gently stretches the lower back, nice transition from day to relaxation, good to counteract effects of hunching over a computer all day and lengthens the spine.

Props: 1-2 triple fold blankets or bolster, neck roll and eye pillow

Place 1-2 triple fold blankets on top of each other lengthwise on your mat. Sit at fringe end of blankets with bent knees. Lower yourself down, laying the spine along the blanket and head at top end.  Keep knees bent. Place neck roll at cervical spine or simply make a roll using fingers under top blanket. Move feet wider apart and allow knees to come together, feet are slightly turned in. 

Childs Pose

Props: bolster, two blocks, 2-3 blankets

Benefits: Gently stretches the lower back, relieves shoulder tension and quiets the mind.  Give a sense of security. Feeling support and release.
Extras:sandbag for sacrum

Place the two blocks at either the lowest or medium height, equidistant from each other bolster lengthwise on top of blocks. A s-fold or triple fold blanket on top of bolster.  It may be more comfortable without blocks.  Legs straddle the props at one end, and lengthen body over them. Head will rest on props.  Additional blanket(s) may be used behind knees. Ideally props should extend all the way to the pelvis area but this may not be the case with your body structure.   Stay here for 10 minutes to begin with, rotating head side to side. 

Modify as needed with a chair or in a straddle position.

Heart Opener (Minimal Prop)

Props: blanket folded
Benefits: supports breathing, stretching the chest and shoulders, releases low back, can provide energy for someone lethargic

Fold a blanket over so that it is comfortable under the bra line. Shoulders should be rolling onto the floor. Arms can stretch out to the sides, palms up or come into goddess arms, as shown. Support under wrists and behind cervical spine.