Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sept. 23 Restore Series

As I opened my eyes this morning, I noticed that my right side of my cheek was feeling a little wet.  Yes it rained in my room.  I really must have been zonked out throughout the night not to notice that the  rain was coming in my window.   But this rain is a welcome relief as my lawn, my flowers, the last remains of my vegetable garden, do not want to give up their hold on summer.

Remnants of Summer
This past Monday marked the end of the summer and Tuesday, the beginning of fall.  In yoga, we may practice the Autumnal Equinox, the passing between the two seasons, by moving through 108 Sun Salutations.  Transitioning and transforming as we move and breathe.  What other ways can you transition from one season to the next?  Below is an excellent article from Colorado State University which discusses what is change (situational) and what is transition (psychological) and how we move through these like the seasons.  Good read with some very handy tips.


The Inspiration

Transitions and Changes: Practical Strategies

by S. Quick, R.J. Fetsch and M. Rupured* (6/11)

Quick Facts...

  • Transitions and the disruption involved challenge people to concentrate on today and the moment.
  • Seeing life's changes as being like changing seasons can help.
  • Many people fail to realize that every transition begins with an ending.
  • Learning how to finish "unfinished business" with the past and developing supportive relationships are important to well-being.
  • It's not what happens, but what one chooses to think about it, that affects one's feelings and behaviors.
Life is a series of frequent changes. Some changes are welcomed; others range from inconvenient to catastrophic.
There is a difference between changes and transitions. Change is situational; transition is psychological. It's not the events outside us that make the transition; it's the inner-reorientation and meaning-redefinition we make to incorporate those changes.
Transitions are times of crossing or traveling from something old and familiar to something new and unfamiliar. Most transitions are small and pass by almost unnoticed. Some, however, involve major disruptions in routines and force us to re-examine our values and lifestyle.
Transitions range from changes that affect everyone (social/technological advances and natural disasters) to more personal transitions that affect one's career and relationships. They may be voluntary, like moving to a larger home, or involuntary, like an accident, a disability or an illness. They may be predictable or unpredictable. Transitions and their disruption challenge us to grow and sometimes even force us to concentrate on today and the present moment.
By examining the past, you can recall transition-making strengths you developed and uncover any unfinished business that may now prevent you from being your best. To handle present and future transitions, use the insights gained from past and newly acquired skills.
Fact sheet 10.215, Transitions and Changes: Who Copes Well?, examines the characteristics of people who seem to handle transitions well (survivors of political revolutions, migrations, the farm crisis, Nazi concentration camps, the Vietnam War, disabiligy, cancer and depression victims). The roles that perception and meaning play in coping with transitions also are discussed (Antonovsky, 1979, 1987; Fetsch & Jacobsen, 2006; Justice, 1987).

"Unfinished Business"

When accepting a new job, moving to a different home, or finding a new partner, too often we rush to make a new beginning. We plunge into a new situation only to find ourselves frustrated, lonely, tired, resentful, or preoccupied with unfinished business from the past. We move to a different community but our minds are filled with old information: where our favorite gas station was, when the doughnut shop was open, and how to stay close to our best friend who no longer lives a short distance away. Our culture lacks formal rites of passage to recognize passage from one situation to another.
At one time or another, most of us have difficulty making transitions. Even positive changes can be fraught with difficulty in letting go of the past. Often we feel uncomfortable with change. A favorite way of dealing with our discomfort is avoidance. Avoiding uncomfortable feelings, however, establishes patterns that stand in the way of making new beginnings. When we refuse to accept a transition, when the fear of what lies ahead prevents us from moving forward, we appear to stand still on life's busy road while life speeds past.
People who have unresolved transitions have at least three choices:
  1. Do nothing and continue to hold onto unpleasant, negative feelings.
  2. Squarely face the old business and take care of unresolved feelings and needs.
  3. Relate old experiences to similar present experiences.
For example, a woman who never felt appreciated by her late father visualizes her father able to express appreciation. This enables her to ask for and accept appreciation from others.
Unfinished feelings can be positive or negative. For example, one 58-year-old man still feels disappointed about his dad's refusal to support him financially in college 40 years ago. Another man fondly remembers his eighth-grade teacher and repeatedly wishes he could tell her how much he appreciates all she taught him. The positive or negative "unfinished business" from the past prevents us from completing today's transitions.
While positive memories are one of life's special joys, dwelling too much in the past, or wishing we had done something differently, prevents us from fully living and loving in the present. The goal is not to discard cherished memories, but to address and resolve unfinished business. When too much unfinished business accumulates, we lose the sparkle and optimism which is every human being's birthright. On the other hand, the ability to make transitions successfully frees up precious energy for living more fully in the here and how.

The Transition Process

William Bridges, in Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes, lists three stages of transition. The first stage is fall. We see grass turn brown and leaves fall, which means another year is coming to a close. The second stage, winter, comes when the soil lies fallow and uncultivated. This is a time for quiet and waiting. The world around us appears lifeless, dead, or in hibernation. When spring -- the third stage -- arrives, green leaves re-emerge from the dry brown twigs of winter. The earth bursts forth again with life. If we view changes in our lives like the changing seasons, we can feel more comfortable with transitions.
As seasons seldom change overnight, rarely does a person move smoothly from one phase to another. Some transitions, like puberty and aging, happen gradually. Other transitions, like passing the test for a driver's license, occur in an instant. However, there usually is considerable overlap and see-sawing back and forth between the new and the old. We need to take time to adjust to the new identity offered by change. Each person's progression is unique to individual circumstances and abilities.
Every transition begins with an ending. Even positive life changes can be difficult without proper endings. Before we embrace the new, we must let go of the old. "Endings are the first, not the last, act of the play" (Bridges, 2004, p. 132). Once we say goodbye and let go, we may experience a winter-like time. We feel lost, empty or numb-as seemingly lifeless as winter. When we allow ourselves to experience our new feelings fully, we move into the springtime of our transition and make a new beginning.
Fall transition is a time to break old patterns. At this stage we say farewell to familiar people, places and routines.
  • When you face a particularly difficult transition, experiment with participating in a ritual that helps you close the door on the past and open the door to your future. One in seven American households moved in 1999 (U.S. Census Bureau). When you're faced with a move from a long-time dwelling, have a going away party.
  • Ask yourself, "How do I want to say goodbye to each person, situation, place, or event that has been important to me?" Then say goodbye and let go.
  • Surrender: Give in to your feelings of loss. Stop striving to avoid them. Frequently, it is only through death that rebirth can occur.
  • What is it time to let go of in my life now?
Winter transition brings feelings of emptiness, numbness, and confusion. At this stage we often aren't connected yet to the new and aren't yet disconnected from the past.
  • Increase your self-awareness. Learn about yourself. Spend time alone. Read inspirational books. Participate in a support, therapy, or special interest group.
  • Make regular time to be alone. Use your time constructively. Allow yourself to experience what you feel (loneliness, anger, depression, sadness, peace, strength). If possible, share your feelings with a trusted friend or counselor. Start a log, journal or autobiography. Avoid "keeping busy" to run away from emotional pain. Pain can show us what we need to do to grow.
  • Retreat to a neutral zone for a few days. Pick a place free from interruptions. Eat simply. Jot down your thoughts in a notebook. Consider what in your life is currently unlived.
  • Take advantage of the winter period. Something good comes from everything that happens. Often, seeing the good takes time. Learn to look at life's transitions as a loss and a gain. For example, a new move means leaving friends and the familiar -- a loss for anyone. The gain is the opportunity to make new friends, see new places, have a yard sale, let go of unnecessary things, reorganize closets and drawers, etc. The winter period is a time of searching for these gains.
Spring transition means letting go of the old relationship, situation or event and making a new beginning. As spring leaves bud and flowers bloom, you, too, will find new energy to make a new beginning.
  • Give yourself time alone. What do you need now? Think about what you want right now. What is waiting in the back of your mind to begin? Who would you like to be? What would you like to do in the time you have remaining? Visualize your future unfolding the way you want.
  • Accept that past achievements can no longer be the standard for satisfaction in the present. Don't cling to old identities, roles and routines if they no longer meet your needs. Focus on today and all that you can enjoy and accomplish before tomorrow.
  • Set realistic short- and long-term goals for yourself. When you know what kind of changes to expect and what you cannot predict, you are more likely to set realistic yet flexible goals. Start today to realize your dreams of who you want to be and what you want to do.
  • Reward yourself for your progress. Give yourself healthy treats and pats on the back. Seek supportive, positive companionship. Compliments and encouragement are invaluable for avoiding past ruts and for making new beginnings.
Learn to notice and experience the changing seasons of your life from fall (making endings) to winter (experiencing your pain) to spring (making new beginnings). You will feel a renewed energy, a renewed hope, and a renewed desire to grow and give to others.

Successful Transitions: Practical Strategies

From the research on how resilient people successfully manage transitions (see fact shhet 10.215, Transitions and change: Who copes well?), you can arrive at some practical conclusions.
  • Develop supportive relationships at work and home. The value of good friends is hard to over-emphasize. Research suggests that people with friends to rely on during stressful times experience fewer of the negative effects of high stress levels. They also remain healthier, are more successful and live longer.
  • Examine your work environment. Think about what you like. Bring the ideas and habits that worked well for you in the past to a new job. Avoid ruts you fell into. Change what you can of the things you don't like about your job and environment and practice accepting what you cannot change (Fetsch, 1992).
  • Take time to take good care of yourself. Eat a balanced diet. Exercise. Get plenty of rest. Take time to relax with friends and family. A high rate of change often means extra stress and strain on your body. Pay attention-What does your body/mind/soul need now?
  • Build self-esteem. You are a unique individual, with special talents and interests. Make a list of what you like most about yourself and what you appreciate about each family member. Encouraging others to feel good about themselves is a wonderful way to feel good about ourselves. Give each family member a sincere compliment every day.
  • Be open and flexible. Most people are eager to settle into comfortable routines. Know that your present routine is only temporary. Something may happen at any time that can force you to change your routine. You may not be able to predict change, but knowing that change can happen at any time helps you accept and adjust when it does occur. Most life transitions are slow processes that take time.
  • Keep your "sunny side" up. Concentrate on the good things in life. Don't dwell on negative thoughts. A positive attitude helps you feel good about yourself and the life you live, and goes a long way towards improving your health.
  • Take control of your life. What can you do now to help you through a difficult transition in your future? Practice finding the good in each of life's transitions. It's not what happens to you that causes you to respond the way you do, but how you choose to react to what happens. Take charge of your thoughts and actions and you will be able to control better how you respond.
  • Use resources available to you. In addition to dollars, self-help publications (Bridges, 2004; Latner, 1973; Vickio, 1990), skills, time and information, other resources include good friends, loving family members, special talents and abilities (such as a positive attitude, good health, and an appreciation of the beauty around you). All of these resources can help you through life's transitions. Learn to recognize and use them.

References

  1. Antonovsky, A. (1979). Health, stress, and coping. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  2. Antonovsky, A. (1987). Unraveling the mystery of health: How people manage stress and stay well. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  3. Bridges, W. (2004). Transitions: Making sense of life's changes (2nd ed). New York: Addison-Wesley.
  4. Fetsch, R.J. (1992). The predicament-problem continuum: Dealing with stressors outside our control. Journal of Counseling and Development, 71(2), 192-193.
  5. Fetsch, R.J., & Jacobsen, R.B. (1988). Perception of farm/ranch situation as an intervening variable in family stress. Unpublished raw data.
  6. Justice, B. (1987). Who gets sick: Thinking and health. Houston: Peak Press.
  7. Latner, J. (1973). The gestalt therapy book. New York: Bantam.
  8. U.S. Census Bureau. (1999). American Housing Survey for the United States. (Retrieved from www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/ahs/ahs99/tab210.html on 2/1/2001.)
  9. Vickio, C. J. (1990, May/June). The goodbye brochure: Helping students to cope with transition and loss. Journal of Counseling and Development, 68(5), 575-577.

Acknowledgements

Appreciation is extended to Joseph G. Turner, retired professor, and to B. Kay Pasley, retired professor, and Leah Beamer, graduate student, human development and family studies, for their review and editing.
* S. Quick, retired University of Kentucky human development and family relations specialist; R.J. Fetsch, Retired Colorado State University Extension human development and family studies specialist and professor; and M. Rupured, University of Kentucky Family Studies graduate student. 5/96. Revised 6/11.
Colorado State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado counties cooperating. Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. No endorsement of products mentioned is intended nor is criticism implied of products not mentioned.


The Poses
Straddle Forward Fold with Chair

Benefits: calming, gently stretches lower back, nice transition from the days activities.  A good pose to do if you need a few minutes break from your daily work, easy to do and easily accessible.  Good for headaches.  Breathing is easier since muscles of the respiratory system are relaxed.
Props: chair, 2-4 blankets

Place blanket single-fold on chair draping down. Legs can stretch through chair or straddle or cross-legged.  Arms placed folded on chair in front of you. Rest forehead on arms. Tilt chin slightly toward your chest.  Close eyes. For comfort or lower back issues, sit on blanket, add rolled up blankets under knees if legs in straddle, or blocks/blankets under knees if cross legged. May add a blanket at sacrum for grounding.

Sublime Side Lean
Props: bolster or 2 or 3 pillows or blankets
Benefits: Stretches the torso and provides a gentle twist which allows a release in tension in the lower back area.

Place bolster or the 2 or 3 blankets or pillows horizontally on your mat or floor. Lie on right side with hip at the base of the blankets or pillows.  Torso should rest on the stack.  Right arm rest on the floor with the palm up.  The left arm can reach over the head to increase the stretch.  Close your eyes and allow your body to relax and release any stress or tension. Slowly sit up and switch sides for the same amount of time.
Focus on your breath.  Breath into your right side allowing that gentle stretch to travel from the tip of your fingers down your lower spine.  Sense the left side of your body gently melting and surrendering to the ground beneath you.  All tension and stress being recycled by mother earth.  Sense the gentle letting go of your muscles and knowing that you are safe and supported.  Breath deep and exhale soft and long.

Savasana Legs up the Wall *with bolster

Props: bolster, 2 blocks, 1-2 blankets, strap, eye pillow, neck roll
Benefits: increases circulation and helps venous and lymphatic flow from the lower body; relieves swelling and fatigue in the legs; helps relieve muscular skeletal stress in pelvis; quiets the mind and can help promote ease in meditation and sleep. Great variation if your hamstrings are tight or legs are aching.

Begin with using a double-folded blanket to be placed right above sacrum or under hips (see photo), setting it approx. distance 6-8" from bolster (adjust in pose). Sit down on the blanket and place your legs on the bolster.  Arms rest by your side, palms face up or with Goddess arms.  
Variations: To ground legs, blanket or sandbag placed on belly or legs.  Strap can be placed around calves, so you lose the feeling of holding up legs.  


Friday, September 19, 2014

Sept. 16 Restore Series

FACING FALL

Sha Na Na and Sa Ta Na Ma - what do they have in common.  Nothing but lots of "ah" sounding vibrations.  This is one of my favorite "go to" meditations when I feel scatterbrained, unfocused.  It can take awhile as each repetition is 2 to 5 minutes long for a total of 12 to 20 minutes but I have shortened it to 1 minute each for an express meditation.  Get comfortable in a seated position with support.  

And just so you know any word or vibrational sound can be a mantra meditation as long as you repeat it.  Does the sound keep you focused, mindful, present, bring peace and stillness?  If so, work it, use it.  Hey maybe even Sha Na Na could be your mantra.


Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation (source: http://anmolmehta.com/blog/2009/09/02/kundalini-yogas-highest-mantra-meditation)

Sa Ta Na Ma is considered the most fundamental mantra in Kundalini Yoga.  You will notice that the very greeting in Kundalini Yoga “Sat Nam” contains the Sa Ta Na Ma components.  Sat Nam is a seed mantra and it means True Identity or the True Divine You, while Sa Ta Na Ma is understood as Existence, Life, Death and Rebirth.  Kirtan Kriya uses this all important mantra as the centerpiece of the meditation.
Kirtan Kriya, like many of the other Kundalini Yoga Meditations, exploits the power of mantras, hand positions (mudras), mind power, naad yoga (yoga of sound) to work it’s magic and in the design section below, you will find details regarding these aspects of the meditation.  As with all kundalini yoga technique and meditations, it is important to go slowly and follow the guidelines
Benefits of Kirtan Kriya – Sa Ta Na Ma Mantra Meditation:
  1. Increases intuitive abilities and psychic powers.
  2. Clears the system of negative emotions, traumas and impressions.
  3. Heals, balances and uplifts the emotional body.
  4. Builds concentration and mental focus.
  5. Bestows peace and tranquility.
  6. Gives one awareness of one’s Divine Infinite Nature.
Design of Kirtan Mantra Meditation:
  • As explained above, uses the fundamental Sa Ta Na Ma Mantra to help one realize their True Divine Nature.  As indicated, this is considered one of the most important mantras for Kundalini Yoga Meditations.
  • Uses the power of visualization to activate the higher chakras and associated endocrine glands.  Specifically this mantra meditation is going to activate the Crown Chakra and the Ajna Chakra (Third Eye), thus it will stimulate the pineal and pituitary glands specifically.  These are the most important glands of the endocrine system and the highest chakras of the kundalini yoga chakra system.
  • Uses the science of Mudras or hand/body positions to create and complete certain circuits in the body.  The following hand positions are used, which bestow the benefits as I have indicated below.
Index Finger + Thumb –> Wisdom
Middle Finger + Thumb –> Focus
Ring Finger + Thumb –> Energy
Little Finger + Thumb –> Connection
In addition, Shambhavi Mudra is used, where the eyes are turned up to look through the center of the forehead, which stimulates and activates the Ajna Chakra (Third Eye).
How to Do Kirtan Kriya – Sa Ta Na Ma Mantra Meditation:
  • Sit in any cross legged posture.  You can also do this meditation sitting on a chair.
  • Elongate your spine and tuck your chin in slightly (like a soldier at attention).  Rest your wrists gently on your knees, with your palms facing slightly upwards.
  • Close your eyes, but turn them upwards such that you looking through the center of the forehead.  This is shambhavi mudra, and only hold it for as long as is comfortable.  Release it whenever necessary and continue with the meditation, reapplying it once ready.
  • While chanting the mantra as described below, follow the following pattern.Press the index finger + thumb for SA
    Press the middle finger + thumb for TA
    Press the ring finger + thumb for NA
    Press the little finger + thumb for MA
  • Begin to Chant the Mantra now.  Slowly chanting the sounds Sa Ta Na Ma repeatedly.  Do the following visualization as you chant.  Visualize the sound S, T, N, M entering through the top of the head through the crown chakra, while visualizing the sound “A” leaving through the center of the forehead through the ajna chakra.  Keep visualizing this flow of the mantra and keep making the finger movements as you chant the mantra in the following way.
  • Chant aloud for 5 minutes.
  • Chant in a whisper for 5 minutes.
  • Chant mentally for 10 minutes.
  • Chant in a whisper for 5 minutes.
  • Chant aloud for 5 minutes.
  • To end, sit completely silently and still for 1 minute and allow infinite to descend upon you.  The total time for the meditation is therefore 31 minutes.
Summary of Sa Ta Na Ma Mantra Meditation:
Although at first glance this mantra meditation might look complicated, it really is not.  You are simply chanting the sounds SA TA NA MA, visualizing them flowing through your crown and ajna chakras, and applying the appropriate mudra for each sound.  As far as Kundalini Yoga Meditation are concerned or for that matter any mantra meditation are concerned, Kirtan Kriya is one of the most profound and effective meditations you can do, so commit to it seriously and find out for yourself all the wonderful benefits of this timeless technique.

Actual Meanings of each vibration.
Saa = Infinity, totality of the Cosmos
Taa = Life (birth of form from the Infinity)
Naa = death (or transformation)
Maa = Rebirth


The Breath
Buzzing Bee Breath (Brahmari)
On the spot relaxation, soothing.
Sit comfortably either on the floor or in a chair with spine straight and shoulders relaxed.  Hand placement is as follows:
Index and middle fingers of each hand lay across the eyes. Can place one at brow line and one on bridge of nose.  Ring fingers touch at upper lip.  Thumbs gently placed at indentation by ears. The pinkie fingers can rest on the lower part of the face or just hang there.  Breathe in and on the exhale, make a buzzing sound until all air is exhaled. Begin again with the deep inhale, exhale with the buzzing sound.  Continue for at least 5 breaths until you feel a sense of peace, calm wash over you.  If you feel like you are forcing the exhale, come back to your normal breath.


The Poses

Belly Down Pose with Hip Opener

Props: 2 blankets, neck roll or small pillow for head
Benefits: gently opens hips, lengthens leg muscles and tops of the feet, soothing for the belly, shoulder opener, grounding, lessens anxiety

Stack one or two blankets to the side folded in half. As you release to the floor, lengthen the body and then bend the leg at 90 degree angles to lay on the blankets to the side. Arms can come to goddess position, head turned to the side or stack hands as a pillow.  For those with tight shoulders, extend arms by the sides of the body.  When you need to turn the head, do so with a soft inhalation.

Reclined Bound Angle (against the wall)


Benefits: opens the hips and groin facilitating blood and energy flow to the urinary tract and reproductive organs. Opens the chest and abdomen benefiting breathing problems. 
Props: bolster or firm pillows,  or rolled-up blankets,  one extra blanket for warmth, strap and eye pillow

Set up bolster or firm pillow lengthwise on mat, add neck pillow to top. Place pillows or rolled up blankets on either side to support legs. Recline over bolster or pillow and bring soles of the feet together, with bent knees, open legs to either side.   Strap can be added to contain the legs and deepen pose.  Place around your midsection and other end goes around edges of feet. Tighten so that legs get a feeling of being held up.  Wrap a blanket around your feet to create a feeling of containment.  Stay in the pose for 10 to 15 minutes.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sept. 9 Restore Series

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.