The Inspiration – The Art of Facing Things (The Book of Awakenings by Mark Nepo)
“What people have forgotten, the salmon knows” – Robert Clark
I shared this teaching in class on the incredible strength, knowledge, drive, intuition and journey of the salmon in their migration up the waterfall. These amazing fish seem to defy gravity as they turn their underside into the powerful force of the waterfall and propel themselves even further up over and over again. What can we learn from these courageous fish? Try the meditation below and use your journal to jot down your reflections.
Meditations on Facing Things
- Sit quietly and meditate on the last time you opened yourself to the life coming at you.
- In recalling this time, try to focus on three things: the way that opening yourself caused you to unfold, the way that being hit squarely changed your life, and where leaping like a salmon landed you.
- Breathe steadily, and invite the lessons of opening, being changed, and landing into your heart.
- Breathe slowly, and realize that you are in the this process now.
- Relax and turn the belly of your heart toward the day.
Janu Sirasana (Head to Knee) Pose
Props: bolster, blankets, neck roll
Benefits: Stretches hamstring and back of leg, centering and calming to central nervous system, gently stretches back, mild hip opener.
In the variation that we practiced in class, we placed the bolster upright on short end on our thigh and draped the arms over it letting the fingers and hands relax. Use blanket support under knee and possibly to sit on to take pressure off of the low back. Add a neck pillow or other cushioning for the head to rest on. Stay for up to 5 minutes and switch sides mindfully. We warmed up some with a flowing Head to Knee pose prior. Try out the Mental Alternate Nostril Breathing.
Legs up on Chair
Place a blanket on chair so you don’t feel the hard surface. If you need to elevate the body, you can place a triple fold blanket in front of chair, then place your hips on blanket to one side, swing the legs up onto the seat of the chair as you lower your upper body onto the mat or floor. Use a neck roll to support cervical spine. Place a blanket or sandbag on legs to ground you in the pose. Arms release to the sides with palms turned up. Use an eye pillow to shut out any light for ultimate relaxation. An eye pillow or some type of weighted object (I’ve used stuffed animals) can be placed in open palms to move and free up energy. Stay for up to 10 minutes. Your beginning practice may consist of only 5 minutes. Feel the legs drain, the stress melt away.
Savasana with Supported Knee
Props: bolster, block, blankets, neck roll
Benefits: relaxation pose, releases pressure in the back, gentle stretching to backs of legs, spine. Supports alignment for circulation.
In the version that we practiced in class, we used a bolster and a block for the knee support. Photo uses two bolsters. For the class pose, place your bolster horizontally on your mat where your knees will go. Put a block slightly underneath to tilt the bolster up vertically. As the feet may be dangling off the other side, use your blankets to create a foot rest or wrap to keep them warm. Layer another blanket on top of you with eye and neck pillow to complete the pose. Relax here with soft quiet breathing, letting the weight of the body drop more and more into the floor.