Welcome back you, welcome back me.  What a summer it was!  A big bang with a memory making trip to Paris with the girls and then a very large reunion with my family at Disneyworld.  It started off with great fanfare and then smoothed out to a nice rhythm.  Now with the Fall season descending upon us, we are greeted to a whole new rhythm, new routine.  The first few weeks may seem ungrounding, stressful, and even slightly unhealthy.  That is until we gain that new rhythm.  I hope that the article below can be of assistance in finding your own rhythm, your own perspective in this season

A Different Perspective

Explore these rituals and the need for self-nourishment.  Feed your roots, so they grow deeper in the winter months and can flourish in the spring and bring forth fruit in the summer. 

The Breath

Alternate Nostril Breath (Nadi Shodhana)

This breath invites the calm in, balancing both sides of our nasal passages and our brain.  We tend to breath predominately with either the left or right nasal passage and we become unbalanced.  A few minutes at the start of a class or practice, can merge the two hemispheres of the brain and allow you to become more receptive.

Breathing through the right or left nostrils gives different effects.
Right Nostril
increases heart rate, increases verbal performance, stimulates left brain, increases rate of blinking
Left Nostril decreases heart rate, increases spatial performance, stimulates right brain, reduces rate of blinking,

The Practice: Find a comfortable seat or laying down.  Using the right hand, bring the middle and index fingers to rest toward the palm.  Alternatively, they can be placed at your third eye (forehead area). Begin with even breaths through both nostrils, gently close off right nostril, then inhale through left nostril and exhale through the right nostril.  Gently close off left nostril, as you inhale through right and exhale through left. Keep the same count for both sides. That is one round.  Repeat for 5 to 6 rounds or more.  Tongue comes to rest on roof of mouth.

Other variations of this breath are:
  • Retaining the breath after the inhale while keeping both nostrils gently closed. 
  • Extending the exhale longer than inhale
  • Cessation of breath after the exhale, with only one nostril closed
Mental Nadi Shodhana.  Mentally instruct the breath to come in and out through alternating nostrils.  Can even visualize breathing in from one far away place and breathing out to another far away place (Mt. Everest (Inhale), African plains (Exhale)

The Poses (note that some photos were unable to be uploaded)

Childs Pose – Challenging
Props: bolster, one blocks, 2-3 blankets
Benefits: Gently stretches the lower back, relieves shoulder tension, increases range of motion in shoulder girdle, lengthens entire spine, front of ankles, aligns knees, aids in digestion and quiets the mind.  Give a sense of security. Feeling support and release.
Extras:sandbag for sacrum

Make two blankets rolls. Place bolster horizontally at top of mat and a block, same height as bolster between bolster and your body (to rest the head on).  One blanket roll goes behind the knees, the other one in the crease between your belly and the top of your thighs. Come to all fours and slide the hips back toward your heels, resting on the blanket roll. Lower forehead to the block, letting it rest gently (add an eye pillow for extra comfort) and extend arms over bolster.  If you have shoulder strain or injury, stack forearms on top of each other or drop arms down by your side.  Stay with breath as sensations may begin to build in knees, shoulders, legs.  A good length of time in the pose is 6-8 minutes.

Revolved Abdominal Twist

Props: bolster, 3 blankets, 1 extra blanket for warmth and or laying on lower back to ground
Benefits: Gentle twist for the spine (quadratus lumborom) Releases stress on the back muscles and a stretch to the intercostal muscles. As muscles relax, breathing is enhanced.

Set one bolster lengthwise on your mat.  Depending upon your comfort, height can be elevated with blocks under bolster. Lay one blanket on top double-fold and one double-fold at end of bolster where your right hip will go. Sit next to bolster with your right hip touching it, bend knees, left or top ankle can lay in arch of right foot or other comfortable position for feet. For added comfort, place blanket between legs. Lengthen body over bolster, laying bent legs in one directions and upper body facing down on bolster. Arms drape down sides of the bolster.