November 6 Restore

Deep Listening

I am gobbling up books like tasty morsels lately.  My latest find is Jillian Pransky’s book, Deep Listening.  In this book, she provides techniques for going inward toward our inner landscape, remain there is peace and then move this peacefulness into our outer landscape.  All delivered in her Jillian voice.  What do I mean by that?  Well a short story.  I met Jillian for the first time almost 9 years ago.  I had just gone through 3 surgeries for breast cancer and needed to get away for a retreat.  And just in time, my Kripalu program catalog came in my mail (akin to the once known Toys R Us catalog for me).  Her Winter Retreat was listed as a restorative, rejuvenating and healing one – just what I needed.

I signed up for the weekend long retreat and made the trip to Kripalu, which in itself is a healing journey.  The first day, the retreat participants made their introductions to each other and I’ll never forget the one gentleman’s introduction.  He began by saying that his wife made him come and that he wasn’t a “Yogi” anything.  But he was easily convinced to go because the nightly audio tape that he listened to and which helped him sleep, was one made by Jillian called Relaxmore.  He said that her soothing voice and meditation helped him overcome a sleeping disorder and as a result, improve his health.  The only thing that he couldn’t reconcile after meeting Jillian on that first day, was her voice.  Her live voice is more Brooklyn than the audio tape and he was having a hard time with that.

Well Brooklyn accent or not, I read this delicious book from cover to cover, immersing myself in Jillian’s voice and gift that she has shared with the world.  My students appreciate her guidance to go deeper, delivered in a way that spans the body, mind and soul.  I am grateful that I have an additional set of tools to take care of myself while taking care of others. Oh that voice!!

Here is a link to Jillian’s website for more information on her book, workshops, free videos and wisdom.


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.

Supported Pigeon Variations

Props: bolster, blankets
Benefits: gentle hip opener, grounding, aids in digestion, stretches out spine, upper leg, mild stretch in chest wall
Sitting on a blanket, bring one hip next to bolster bending bottom leg so foot rests lightly against upper leg kneecap.  On an inhalation, lengthen upward and on an exhalation, recline over the bolster face down.  Arms drape on either side of the bolster. Add an extra blanket to bolster for more comfort and any other blankets to give a feeling of grounding.  Stay for 5 to 8 minutes and change sides.

Bound Angle (Low Version)

Props: bolster,  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.

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