Greetings Everyone! Welcome back to your space, your place. I really appreciate that you are all on this journey together to discovering your remembered wellness. It is amazing to see how you are all progressing in the series, how much quicker you get settled into a pose, how the breathing is deeper, broader, more spaced out and how our wild monkey minds tune into the quietness. I’ve even observed several of you making micro-adjustments with the props.
Enjoy the review of this weeks poses, the 2 to 1 breath, Yoga Nidra, Blanket Folding 101 and tech stuff for zoning out.
Props: Rolled up blanket, eye pillow
Extras: blanket for warmth
Benefits: Lengthens lumbar spine, releases tension in lower back.
Roll one blanket thick enough to fit comfortably in your lumbar curve, resting at your waist not your sacrum (so right behind the navel). Test this out by laying down on it. Can lay on any extra blanket. Legs can be straight or bent. If bent, allow knees to fall into each other, feet outward. Arms to the side. Belly should not be lifted. Lay here for 5 to 7 minutes or come out when you feel ready. Bring knees to chest and windshield wipe them side to side to release.
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. 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 was 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.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Props: 4 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow
Extras: blanket for warmth, strap for legs
Benefits: Expands the chest muscles, opens the lungs, balances the glands, quiets the nerves and releases tension in the nervous system, increases oxygen intake to the brain, can stimulate the immune system (thyroid)
Make two stacks of two double or triple fold blankets on top of each other. Placed the two stacks end to end. Height and width of blankets can be adjusted for your body. Sit down straddling one of the stacks and carefully lower yourself down onto forearmss, swing your legs on to other stack and lie down. Neck roll is placed at top stack, lower shoulder and head to floor. Neck is supported by neck roll and head is completely flat on floor with forehead and chin on the same plane. Arms stretched out to the sides. The stacks of blankets should be long enough for the entire body to be resting on including the feet. Option to put strap around calves if the legs are rolling outward. Stay for up to 15 minutes. Roll off blankets slowly and bring knees to chest with some movement.
2 to 1 Breathing
A basic breath that you can take anywhere when you need to. Lengthening the exhale kicks the parasympathetic nervous system up a notch, allows more space between thoughts, eliminates more waste and toxins from the body and allows the body to settle more. Much like the Equal Breath, we use a count to inhale but then we exhale for double that count. Find a comfortable seat or lay down on the floor, hands can be placed on the belly or wherever they are comfortable. Begin with the inhale to a count of 2, then exhale for a count of 4. Slightly constrict your back of throat as you exhale (similar to Ujjayi breath). As you practice and progress in deepening your breath, perhaps the counts will get longer.
“Yogic sleep” infused with awareness. Conscious sleep and even more resting, rejuvenating sleep than our nighttime sleep where the nervous system quiets down, allows for true rest. This practice has been around for a millennia but not until the 60’s was it brought to light again. The senses are withdrawn to reset the nervous system, balancing the two sides of the brain, clearing the way to integrating your resolve or Sankalpa into your entire being. Differs from Restorative in that you are actively involved in your relaxation, not physically but emotionally, mentally and with the breath.
“In Yoga Nidra, the body, mind and intellect are completely relaxed and one appears to be sleeping but the consciousness is functioning at a deeper level, and the subconscious and unconscious realms of mind get opened up.”
See more on Yoga Nidra at the following site Yoga Nidra
Technique & Technology
How to Fold a Blanket 101
You may see reference to certain blanket folds in the pose descriptions. I’ve broken down a few of the most used ones. As an experiment, try all the folds (except for the roll) and lay down on each one to see which one is most comfortable for you. They are vastly different. Maybe you’ll find a favorite one! You certainly can use any type of blanket but a thick cotton one like the Mexican blanket is a nice choice because it is firm, adds height and comfort. Be creative and come up with your own fold. Yes, Martha Stewart would be proud!
Single-Fold Blanket – fold a blanket in half and then in half again. This fold is usually the starting point for other folds. Can use this in a roll in Legs-up-the-wall to hang from the feet or under the knees or ankles or even as a Spinal strip.
Double-fold blanket – simply fold the single-fold over one more time.
Triple-fold blanket – from single-fold, fold one end a third of the way over and fold the last third of the blanket over on top of other folds.
S-fold blanket – from single-fold, fold one end a third of the way over and the other third gets folded under. Adds more height to prop.
Double-fold roll blanket – from a double-fold begin to roll from the fringe end of the blanket (if any fringes). Great for lumbar openers where you want to fill the space.
i-Phone/SmartPhone applications designed to reconnect you, bring on the mindfulness.
Meditator – a mindfulness bell to play on your computer. Reminds you when to take a break.
Think about a favorite pose you would like to do for our last class.
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