Choo Choo chuga chuga choo choo.  I just love the sound of a train in the night.  When I lived in Pasadena, there was a 2 a.m. train filled with commodities moving in the night.  When I lived in Lansdale, there was a 3 a.m. train also filled with goodies for you and me.  And even now living in Telford, I hear the weekly train rambling along the tracks in the early morning, filled this time with grain.  This is a comforting sound for me.  Is it because I know that the while I sleep the world around me is still going, is it growing up with model trains running in the basement from my dad’s collection, is it the actual sound of a train blowing its whistle?  I don’t know.  I do know that when I hear that sound, I take a deep breath in, filling myself with space and an inner smile begins to spread and I feel contentment.

Last week, I brought up the subject of silence and finding the true remaining places where nature is not interrupted by man-made noise.  Now in reverse, think about those noises in your life that take you home, back to your center, where you find peace.  Hearing the ball game on TV, a sound of a lawnmower.  Journal these sound bites and the feelings they elicit.

The Breath
2 to 1 Breath
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.

Lengthening the exhalation and pausing after the exhalation invokes a feeling of profound quiet and stillness.

The Poses
Forward Resting Angle Pose

Props: 3 pillows or blankets, bolster

Benefits: Relieves tension in lower back and groin area. Quiets the mind. Tones internal organs.

Sit on a double  folded blanket with back supported, come into Baddha Konasana or Butterfly pose and place pillow or blankets under knees for additional support. Bolster goes on lap and elbows rest on bolster with hands in Anjali Mudra, thumbs lightly pressing into mid-forehead, or Third Eye.  A block can be placed on bolster to rest the head on in case of neck issues. Lengthen from your core, keeping belly soft. 

Supported Twist

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. Detoxifying. 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 is 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.
*we are digging placing the arms in Goddess pose (not pictured) so try that one out as well. Place blanket support under arms.