The first winter storm has arrived and thankfully, I can hunker down at home during the worst of it. I’ve adopted my winter wardrobe consisting of slippers, PJ bottoms, no bra (of course), layers of long sleeve shirts and sweaters, and a scarf. I keep up this glamorous appearance until all vestiges of winter are gone. Although at bedtime, I do peel the layers off only to pile them onto me once again in the morning, quite haphazardly.
I’ve found a bit of inspiration in the Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. This daily inspirational guide seems to deliver powerful messages to my soul just when I need it. Without going into another book review (but I highly recommend getting the latest edition of this book), I will share with you inspiration from November 12 (2011 edition). The section begins with the following quote:
“From the beginning, the key to renewal has been shedding the casting off of old skin.”
Mark relates a story of the creation of the world (a Polynesian tale), when their creator Taaora, woke to find himself growing in a shell. When he stretched, he broke the shell, and the Earth was created. He kept growing and found himself in another shell. Again, he stretched and broke this shell, and the moon was created. This continued with the next shell, which broke and the stars were born.
In this way, we grow, become confined to our form and grow again to find ourselves in a new form. We are never the same. Our shells serve a purpose for a period of time until we are ready to break out again. Maybe you see this in your life thus far, the various forms or shells that you have occupied. This is how life unfolds and each transformation is better than the one before.
My winter garb just covers whatever shell or form that I am in at the moment.
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.
- 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
Dandasana (Staff Pose with Bolster)
Benefits: improves posture, alignment, centering, grounding pose, very stabilizing.
Props: Wall, bolster, 2 blankets, Can add additional blankets for more support under knees or elsewhere.
Place a folded blanket next to wall to sit on. Sit with back against the wall, legs out straight in front of you (use blankets to support knees if need be). May add a strap around thighs if the legs tend to roll out (keeps tadasana alignment) Add neck roll(s) to neck or back of head for comfort. Begin with arms crossed over chest by heart center, breathing into the heart chakra. After a few minutes, let the arms rest by your side or on your legs, continue to take full inhalations and exhalations.