What a wonderful feeling to return to the practice of restorative. It felt like coming home to the teachings of this practice and a homecoming itself as each of the students returned. What does it really mean to you to come home? In the yogic perspective, it may be that bliss state of Samadhi. The place which is familiar, grounds you and establishes a starting place for all of life. A place of quietness, peace and serenity. Our origin….
Try this imagery exercise to cultivate your feeling of “home”. Combine this with the restorative poses from our practice and maybe your experience is that much deeper. Scroll halfway down for the recording.
Come to any comfortable seated position or to one of the restorative poses. Cover yourself with any blankets and support your body so that you can be relatively still. Make any adjustments to your position.
Begin by just sensing the breath moving in and out of you for a minute. Tracking the breath in and tracking the breath out. You will be downshifting your nervous system already.
Notice the places that your body touches the earth or supports around you. Feel your body land.
Keeping the breath longer, smoother and softer, start to imagine a place that you consider a safe, peaceful place, one where you feel that you can truly be yourself, imperfections and all. It could be your actual home, or a place in nature, a city, country or even with a person, animal, or an activity, anywhere at all. No limits to where your place is.
Notice how you feel in your body as you think of this place.
Notice your breath flow as you think of this place.
Notice your thoughts as you think of this place.
If the mind wanders bring up the image of your place again and again.
Maybe you can use your senses when thinking of this place. What are the smells there, the colors around you, the shapes, what do you hear or not hear in this place, is there a feeling on your skin, any tastes.
Again observe your body, thoughts and breath when bringing in any sense awareness.
Now as you continue to keep the image of your place in mind, notice any deeper expressions of this place on your being. Can you observe the quiet, the deeper connection within yourself. Drop into that feeling over and over again. This is the place where you are not this body, you are not those thoughts, you are not this breath.
You are You being You.
We all have this ability to stop, pause, observe, listen and discover. This place is always there within you, it is you. We cover it up from birth on with so many external influences which become our habitual way of being. Take baby steps as the layers that we pile on our selves may be a protective response to trauma, hurt and fear. If this imagery is too much too soon, come back to it. Try just a restorative pose first with breath awareness. Keep up that practice until you can dive in a little deeper. And always smile and know that you have another moment to practice it again.
Here is the recording of the Imagery Practice
Constructive Rest Pose
Benefits: Decompressing for the spine, pelvis, calms the nervous system, transition to practice, breath regulation
Come onto your back, bending your legs. Move the feet to the edges of your mat and rest the knees together so that they hold up the legs (like a teepee). Hands can rest on your belly to feel the rise and fall of the breath or by your side. Add a blanket for your head, on your legs to deepen the relaxation or belly. Stay for 5 minutes. As you come our, windshield the legs side to side and then stretch them out long.
Starfish Savasana Pose
Props: 2 or more blankets, neck rolls, eye pillow
Benefits: soothing to the nervous system, grounding, gentle chest opener, releases the pelvis
Lay a blanket on your mat for extra comfort and warmth, blankets for the arms as well. As you lay down, place your feet towards the corners of your mat and arms about 10-12 inches from your body, palms up. Add your eye pillow, and blanket on top. We adjusted the legs with our Double Dutch for optimal release of tension and proper alignment.
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