Another beautiful Autumn day here in eastern Pennsylvania.  Our friends and family in the Florida, Carolinas and Georgia may be having a different and more challenging day.  Send your thoughts, light, and love their way as they brace for Hurricane Matthew and the aftermath.

There are so many in this world to offer our love to.  We may sometimes think that we don’t have enough to go around the globe or even our own family.  When we expend so much energy taking care of others, we begin to deplete ourselves.  Our boundaries with others may also be obscured or even broken.  In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, it is always recommended that if traveling with a child, that you first place the oxygen mask on yourself then the child.  Why not in everyday life?

These wonderful meditations from the Resiliency Center in Flourtown, offer us a few ways to take care of ourselves and protect us while remaining loving, compassionate and caring for others.

  • Essential Oils: Our sense of smell can be a great grounding tool.  Essential Oils and blends can help support relaxation and grounding. A practitioner favorite: “boundaries in a bottle” from Dori Midnight’s apothecary (Courtesy of Elizabeth Venart)
  • Visualize Boundaries Exercise: Take a comfortable seat and deeply breathe in and out. Notice your feet on the floor, and how your body feels. Begin to imagine that your boundaries had physical qualities. Maybe it’s a big bubble, or maybe a brick wall. Notice what it feels like to experience your boundaries. Now begin to imagine yourself at your most comfortable space. Notice if your boundaries shift at all. Imagine yourself at school or work. Notice if your boundaries change in that environment. Imagine that anyone else’s negativity or emotions coming towards you are immediately deflected by your boundary.

    Bring yourself back to the present moment, again noticing if your boundaries shift. Notice how your body feels and if any emotions have come up during this exercise. Slowly blink your eyes open and begin to notice things you see around you. Practice makes perfect with visualization of boundaries. The more that you practice this exercise, the easier it is to increase your boundaries when you need more protection. (Courtesy of Elizabeth Campbell)

  • Focused Breath and Imagery: “During conflict, it is common to hold your breath or, especially if you are highly sensitive, to mirror the breathing pattern of the person with whom you are having a conflict. By returning to your own breath and deepening it, you can soothe and calm your nervous system and remind yourself you’re okay. If you feel your energetic space is being encroached upon in a conflict, take deep breaths and in the exhale, imagine your breath carrying you further away from the person to give you more space.” (Courtesy of Elizabeth Venart)

Tools For After A Difficult Encounter

  • Shake Off The Stress: Small rhythmic movement help ease muscles and the nervous system. Shake out your hands, your shoulders, your hips, your legs, and your feet. Let your whole body shake and shimmy and let out your breathe in a big sigh. Imagine the negative energy shaking right off your body and getting soaked up by the ground. (Courtesy of Brittiney George)
  • Rinse Off The Stress: Water is a great energy conductor.  Run water over your arms and hands. Imagine that you’re peeling an energetic glove off from your elbow to your fingertips and letting the negative energy or anxiety run right down the drain. This is a great exercise to do in the shower.  Imagine that you’re washing of the anxiety or stress and letting it all run down the drain. (Courtesy of Brittiney George)
  • Ton glen Meditation: Breath in how you are feeling-whatever the emotion is without judgement or analyzing. Breathe out love. Repeat for 5-20min. (Courtesy of Jen Perry)
  • Releasing the Judgement Meditation: Breath in love. Breath out all of the could haves, should haves, and would haves that no longer serve you. Repeat mantra as needed. (Tama Kieves Breath Meditation—Courtesy of Brittiney George)
  • Visual Laying Your Burdens Down: “To begin, sit with your eyes closed and envision an all-powerful, supremely comforting being in whatever form that takes for you, standing at the end of a road. See yourself carrying a large sack, box, or other container, imagining that all your worries are inside it. Watch as you make your way to the being of your choice, and lay your baggage down at their feet. Allow yourself to feel the lightness and relief of this action, express your gratitude, and surrender. You will be amazed by how this simple meditation can liberate you from a burden you were never meant to carry.” (Excerpt from Daily OM-Laying Our Burdens Down—Courtesy of Karen Steinbrecher)
  • Play: People often underestimate the power of play and recreation. Find a way to participate in an enjoyable experience. It releases pent up energy and allows you to reconnect. (Courtesy of Tracey Smith)
  • Walk Barefoot in Nature: The earth is naturally grounding. Take off your shoes and connect to the earth. As you stand or walk, imagine giving the burden or the energetic charge you are feeling from the exchange to the earth. (Courtesy of Jen Perry)
  • Music: Music is a great way to shift your energy. It not only lets you get out stress and anxiety vocally, but can help to move stuck energy in the body. Sing in your car; sing in your shower, sing anywhere you’re comfortable. It doesn’t have to sound pretty or even melodic, just put on your favorite song and let yourself sing!

The Breath
10 Centering Breaths
10 beautiful breaths brings you to the present, the here and now.  A great way to transition in a yoga class, or anytime in your life where a little space is needed before moving onto the next thing. 10 long inhalations, 10 long exhalations.  Feel your body expand with the breath in and feel it release and become centered.

The Poses

Mountain Brook Pose
Props: bolster, 2-3 blankets, block, neck roll, eye pillow
Benefits: counteracts the slumped position of our posture from sitting, computer use, driving, everyday activities. Opens the chest to help breathe easier. Improves digestion, reduces fatigue and can lift your mood.

Just like a babbling brook with boulders (soft ones!), imagine your body like the soft rushing waters laying over those boulders, smooth, flowing.  It will allow the natural curves of the body to be held up gently and the breath to flow.
On your mat, place the bolster will your knees will be, one blanket rolled up where the bra line is (base of scapula), a block for the feet or the heels can come to the floor and a neck roll for the cervical spine.  Shoulders rest on the floor, arms to side with palms facing up.  If ankles need support, use rolled-up blanket or dish towel.  Eye pillows can lightly rest on eyes or even be used on forehead (useful for headaches) or even on shoulders (wherever you need to release tension). To begin with stay in pose for 10 minutes working up to 20 minutes.  Great to use in savasana. Feel the heart open, the strain from holding yourself up all day evaporate.
Variations: Feeling cranky in the lumbar spine? Place blanket to fill the curves.  Want to feel more grounded while still opening the heart? Place rolled up blanket against wall and soles of feet touching blanket.  Need to feel cuddled? Swaddle your head in a blanket cradle.

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.

Belly Down Savasana
Childs Pose Variation

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

Place bolster on the mat lengthwise and lay a blanket over it. Make a smaller roll for the ankles and place at the other end of the mat. Also place a block at top end with a neck roll or eye pillow on top. Begin on all fours and lower  your upper body onto the bolster. Settle the tops of the ankles on the smaller roll and adjust the body so that the tops of the thighs rest on the edge of the bolster.  Lay the forehead on the cushioned block and place the arms to the side, shoulders dropping from the ears.  Soften your jaw and let the body sink into the supports and the floor.