Yesterday, I had a lovely day off from yoga spending it with my mom and sister.  Lunch at the Lederach Tea Room and then off to the Peter Becker Flower Show.  Mother/daughter/sister time is so precious to me.  I could just see the beautiful circle of our womanhood, and interconnectedness of our genes.  I am looking forward to my very own mother/daughter/sister day out with my own children.

Here is a picture of my project for this spring taken from one of the displays at the flower show.  If you get the opportunity, check out their show this year, most appropriately named, “My Favorite Things”.

The Breath
Breathing Through the Back of the Body

This breath can be practiced in all poses but I find it easier to feel the back body in Childs pose (Balasana) or while doing Cat/Cow.  Begin with your Three-Part Breath, Belly, ribs to chest.  Taking a few minutes to establish a rhythm.   Then deepen inhalation to move the breath to the low back (feel expansion from front to back and side to side), next moving to mid-back (expansion again) and finally to the upper thoracic spine with expansion.  Feel the shoulders shift away from each other.  I like to imagine that breath getting into all of the nooks and crannies of the back.  On each exhalation, sink the body down, melting it to the floor. Empty air out until there is nothing left but to fill again.  Remain here for as long as you want or feel comfortable doing so.  Slowly rise up out of the pose.

The Poses
Supported Childs Pose (Balasana)

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. 

Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhagarasana)

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 forearms, 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.

The Inspiration – Journaling

You may have noticed a change in the air.  Literally, the air seems much drier, crackly.  The shifting winds of the spring season have brought on this change.  We have been aided in the change by the longer days. It is now time to transition.  That may mean different things for different people.  Take a few moments to check in with your own shifting.  Journal about what you are feeling in your mind, body and deeper within your soul as these larger forces are at play.  Are you going with the flow? Or putting on the breaks?  Are you holding onto something?  Reflect with your breath, a walk or some song.