5-4-18 Inward Spirals
I don’t think in my own case, there is a straight trajectory to becoming still. For me, it is a series of fits and starts and just as I think I got it, I don’t have it. But each and every time that I touch the stillness (which I believe is my true essence, akin to divinity) however brief, a seed is planted and nourished.
This for me is why restorative yoga is so powerful. You are literally still with only the breath to move in and out. There is no physical movement, no moving in and out of the pose, and even with the careful propping that you get, usually no physical discomfort that requires you to move. The stillness seeps in through the cracks, the habitual ways we think, we move, we act and behave. A consistent practice enables the stillness to present itself much more frequently and remain a little longer.
Growing a garden takes time, patience, effort and diligence. It also takes the ability to let go when the seeds you planted don’t grow the way you wanted them to and try again. Have you begun planting your seeds?
Humming (Brahmari) or Buzzing Bee Breath
- Excellent for speeding up the healing of body tissues
- Alleviates stress and tension, anger, anxiety, asthma, insomnia, and high blood pressure
- Strengthens the voice and relieves thyroid ailments
- Benefits are enhanced when practiced after Nadi Shodhana
- Balance air and ether, especially in the vata Fall season (Ayurvedic)
- Sit comfortably, with lips closed and teeth slightly opened. Make sure the jaw is relaxed.
- Raise the arms to the sides, bend the elbows, and bring the hands to the ears, plugging the ears with the index or middle fingers.
- Bring the awareness to the center of the head (ajna chakra) and keep the body still.
- Inhale through the nose, and while exhaling make a deep, steady humming sound like a bee for the duration of the exhale.
- Then, while inhaling, contract the throat to produce a humming sound on inhalation (if this sound is difficult to make at first, focus only on producing the sound while exhaling).
- Practice 5 rounds, ending with a humming exhale.
Straddle Forward Fold (option for folding over chair, couch, bench)
Props: 1-2 bolsters, 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.
Props: bolster, 2-4 blocks, 4 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow
Extras: blanket for warmth
Benefits: Allows breath to come in to the rib cage and belly more freely. Detoxifying. Can reduce high blood pressure. Relieves fatigue and insomnia. Safe for a Prenatal twist.
This can be a very prop intensive pose but once you are in it, it is worth it. Begin with right side of body, place the bottom of your right foot against the wall with leg extended. Left leg is bent at a 90 deg. angle and propped up with two blocks and a bolster with maybe a blanket on top. at least two blankets, S-fold blankets, and/or pillows placed along spine for support, lengthwise. Extend your left arm out to the left side and lay it on a smaller stack of blankets either s-fold or triple-fold out to your side. Right arm extends out to the right. This means the left arm is at a higher elevation than right. Head can remain neutral to ceiling or turn to one side. Extra blankets can be placed in spaces that need more support. Neck roll for cervical spine and eye pillow.
*we are digging placing the arms in Goddess pose (not pictured) so try that one out as well. Place blanket support under arms.
Props: blankets, bolster
Benefits; Nurturing, sense of security, well-supported pose to regulate the nervous system, good for when you are feeling anxious, keeps body in alignment, supportive for the spine, hips, shoulders, head. Allows for optimal healing and sleeping position. nurturing, sense of security, optimal for sleeping
Create a big enough folded blanket to place between the knees to align the legs in Tadasana. Add a folded blanket to rest your top arm on. Recline on a side that is comfortable, resting your head on a blanket. A neck roll can go under the ankles for support. Bolster can rest along spine for further support and grounding. Finally, cover yourself with a blanket from head to toes. Sink down with each long exhalation. Mantra to accompany pose “I am safe, I am supported”.
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