Carmen and I were so happy and honored to share this practice with you this month.  We hope that you enjoyed yourself, found some space to relax into, and are able to bring this practice into your life when and where you need it.  See our final weeks poses and breath.  We are lucky to have as our guest blogger, Lisa Scarborough, Ayurvedic Consultant.  Her article on cleansing is below.  I am still going on and on about the 5 day cleanse and plan to incorporate a weekly elimination of dairy, sugar and caffeine.  And finally a few more tidbits to hold you over for the holiday sans our weekly class at Moyo Yoga, a wonderful video from Jillian Pransky with three simple poses to do at home and a link to where you can purchase your own props.

The Breath
Extended Exhale 
In seated or any comfortable position, draw a full breath into your body and lengthen out the exhale, fully emptying.  Pause at the end of the exhale before beginning your next breath in. This invokes a feeling of profound quiet and stillness.  It can quiet the mind before it jumps to the next thought wave, slowing the mind down.

The Poses
Reclined Supta Baddhakonasana

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. 
Props: bolster, 4 blocks (or firm cushions, pillows or rolled-up blankets), 4 blankets and one extra blanket for warmth, strap and eye pillow

Place a block lengthwise under one end of a bolster to prop it up on an incline, add another block under bolster for stability. 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.

Supported Childs Pose

Props: bolster, two blocks, 2-3 blankets
Benefits: Gently stretches the lower back, relieves shoulder tension and quiets the mind.  Give a sense of security. Feeling support and release.
Extras:sandbag for sacrum

Place the two blocks at either the lowest or medium height, equidistant from each other bolster lengthwise on top of blocks. A s-fold or triple fold blanket on top of bolster.  It may be more comfortable without blocks.  Legs straddle the props at one end, and lengthen body over them. Head will rest on props.  Additional blanket(s) may be used behind knees. Ideally props should extend all the way to the pelvis area but this may not be the case with your body structure.   Stay here for 10 minutes to begin with, rotating head side to side. 

The Cleanse Lens

The new buzz word in the natural health realm seems to be “cleanse”. There is a liver cleanse, a kidney cleanse, a cellular cleanse and a cleanse for just about everything. What exactly is a cleanse and why should we or should we not practice cleansing? My view of cleansing is through the lens of Ayurveda, the 5,000 year old health science from India. According to this profound system of healing, it is important to give the body, especially the digestive track, a break occasionally in order to “flush the system” so to speak. It is a means of healing and purification.

The western diet in general is very difficult on the digestive system, especially if you eat meat (even poultry). It can be a struggle for the system to keep up with digestion, often leaving undigested food in the digestive track. This stagnant waste creates a by product known as “ama”, a sticky substance that causes blockages in the energy systems of the body. Just as cholesterol clogs the arteries restricting blood flow, ama blocks the “nadis” restricting the flow of energy. Regular cleansing helps reduce or eliminate ama, allowing you to readily tap into all the energy available to you.  

A cleanse should not be taken lightly. It requires much preparation and for some, it is quite spiritual, as well as, physical. A cleanse is NOT a diet or a means of losing weight, however it does help to jump start a more healthy and pure diet and it creates more awareness of our tendencies.

The traditional times of cleansing are spring and fall. However, after the holiday season, when we’ve all overindulged just a bit, an occasional one day cleanse can be beneficial. Choose a day of the week when you are able to create some down time. A day or two before your cleanse, begin to drastically reduce sugar, caffeine, dairy and processed foods in your diet. On the actual day of your cleanse, you will eat only juiced fruits and vegetables, no solid foods. Be sure to balance the fruit with vegetables. I know many people who go heavy on the fruits, not including many vegetables. One of my favorites is apple, ginger, carrot and kale.

I promise it tastes delicious( even if it  does look a little unappetizing). Use this day to rest, relax, enjoy nature, take a long bath, journal, meditate, anything that refreshes you. Avoid turning on the t.v, computer, cell phone etc. Read only inspirational material (no news, murder mysteries or work related material). Sip warm herbal tea throughout the day. You may want to stay close to home as it’s not uncommon to visit the bathroom often. After your mini cleanse, begin eating things that are easy on the stomach such as rice and oatmeal. Try keeping the sugar, dairy and processed foods at a minimum for as long as possible. The goal would be to continue eating in a more pure way than you did prior to your cleanse.

Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a cleanse if you have blood sugar or other metabolic issues. As we get near to spring, I’ll be blogging about our five day spring cleanse. I’d love for you to join us.

If you have any questions or specific nutritional questions, feel free to contact me at Under The Bodhi Tree is my boutique at Moyo Yoga where I carry nutritional supplements and all things yoga, to support you on your journey. For more information or to schedule an ayurvedic nutritional consultation, contact me, Lisa Scarborough at or online at Moyo Yoga.

Enjoy this blessed season!

Poses for Your Home Practice

Click here to view Jillian Pransky on Anita Goa TV on Restorative Yoga.

Online Store for Yoga Props

Remember there are plenty of props from your home as well. But I recommend at least 4 Mexican blankets to support your practice and some blocks.  Bolsters are optional but also make a nice addition. In the studio, we use the Pranayama bolster.
Sunshine Yoga Online Store

Namaste and Happy Holidays All