Thursday, January 19, 2017

January 17 Restore

What a delicious practice it was this past Tuesday.  Carmen invited me to join you in the first restorative pose and I felt so grounded from there on.  I thought about energy as I relaxed in the Therapeutic Spinal pose and how we can manage our energy using such practices like restorative and breathing.  What I was feeling prior to that magical pose, was a mind not at rest and full of whirling dervishes.



On this particular day of class, I was experiencing Prana or the life force energy of Vata.  Vata is one of three such Ayurvedic Doshas or constitutions of a person.  According to Ayurvedic philosophy, everything takes on the qualities and energies of our natural world.  These are the elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth.  So my mind was vacillating from thought to thought, like wind moving to and fro among the limbs of a tree. This essence of movement is Vata (light, airy, dry, mobile, ...).

It is important to understand the flow of Prana.  Then to address when it is out of balance and finally decide what practices will bring it into balance.  Enjoy this image that I drew of the 5 Prana Vayus or pathways that energy can take in you.  Sometimes our energy is non-exsistent, we may feel lifeless.  Or other times like in class this week, we feel the energy moving fast and furious.  There may also be times that the energy is stuck and we are lethargic.  These vayus correspond to many of our biological imbalances and disease when not regulated.  This is also just another way of describing your own feeling of energy in your body, mind and soul.

In my state of anxiety, I needed a practice that would ground me and bring my energy downward. The restorative practice and the gentle guidance and energy of Carmen, provided that grounding.

Try these poses at home and notice your energy at the beginning of the practice and at the end. Which one for you was most grounding? Which one provided more upward energy? Which one did you feel below the navel or above?

The Poses
Therapeutic Spinal Strip (Heart Opener)

Props: 1 rolled up blanket, lengthwise, 1 blanket double-fold, neck pillow
Benefits: reinvigorates the spine bringing fresh blood and oxygen. With deep breath, can give the effect of a massage on the spine.

Roll a single-fold blanket keeping the roll more on the flatter side.  This becomes your spinal strip.  Lay this strip down on the floor and place a double-folded blanket at one end (Letter T).  Sacrum is on the double-folded blanket and carefully lay the spine and head down on rolled up blanket.  Use a neck pillow in cervical curve.  Arms relax by the sides, palms turned up.  A variation is to have knees together, feet wide apart.  Stay for about 5 -8 minutes.  A nice alternative to the Heart Bench. 

Sublime Side Lean
Props: bolster, 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.
Lie on right side of bolster with hip at the base of it.  Torso should rest on the stack.  Right arm should be under the head.  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.

Nesting Pose
Props: blankets, bolster
Benefits; Nurturing, sense of security, well-supported pose to regulate the nervous system, good for when you are feeling anxious, keeps body in alignment, supportive for the spine, hips, shoulders, head.  Allows for optimal healing and sleeping position. nurturing, sense of security, optimal for sleeping


Create a big enough folded blanket to place between the knees to align the legs in Tadasana. Add a folded blanket to rest your top arm on. Recline on a side that is comfortable, resting your head on a blanket. A neck roll can go under the ankles for support.  Bolster can rest along spine for further support and grounding. Finally, cover yourself with a blanket from head to toes.  Sink down with each long exhalation.  Mantra to accompany pose "I am safe, I am supported".

Friday, January 13, 2017

January 10 Restore

Velveteen Principles



Advice from a Rabbit (On the Way to Being Real)

I just finished unloading my books from an old relic of a bookshelf onto a new bookshelf, and came across a book that my mom gave me years ago but I never read - The Velveteen Principles, A Guide to Becoming Real by Toni Raiten-S'Antonio.   In it are nuggets of wisdom to our own self-realization. Practical advice abounds in this book.    When we stray from our "realness" all kinds of maybe not so good adventures await us and it takes much practice (i.e. time and discipline) to return. Yoga fits into a practice that is a tool to becoming Real again.  However, let's talk rabbits, specifically Principle #3 Real is Emotional.

How truly are we in touch with our feelings? Do we brush them off, bury them deep down, or even recognize what they are? Even our upbringing can dictate our future awareness of our feelings. My own familial experience was that my mom when asked how she was, would always give the answer of her daily activities. "We went to breakfast, the store, then stopped by the ...", was a typical response.  I was always glad to hear of how she was moving around but I really wanted to know how she was, how her heart was.  It may be typical of her generation to not talk about feelings as the focus was always on others.  I grew up in this environment.  So I didn't acquire the vocabulary of feelings. Sure, I had words like "I feel good", or "I feel okay", or even "I feel sad that such and such happened".  They weren't words that accurately captured my true feelings.

The Principle #3 Real is Emotional section includes a list of words to try using in your daily journal. Here is the list.  Look it over and notice if there are even emotion words there that you don't use often or never have used.  Keep this list handy as you record your own feelings, using any word that fits your day, your mood, your heart.

It may seem silly at first or even conjectured but you are developing self-empathy which will eventually extend empathy to others. You will have a better understanding of the depth of your own self, then others.  


The Poses
Surfboard
Props: blankets, including one for warmth, stuffed animals or eye bags for hands
Benefits: gently stretches the lumbar spine and para spinal muscles, and gives a release in the diaphragm, quiets the mind and comforting. Gives a sense of security.  

2 bolster fold blanket placed lengthwise on mat on top of each other. One blanket at end of mat for ankle support. Make roll for ankle support. Rest of that blanket fills in gap where shin does not meet the floor. Make sure no blanket is on knee. This supports the knee in the pose.  Top bolster folded blanket roll towards you in a wider roll to fit in chest and shoulder area. One more blanket folded so that its height is the same as the two bolster folded blankets. Come to all fours straddling the props, release to forearms and then fully recline on props.  Ankles rest on small roll at end of mat, shins supported by the rest of that blanket. Rest the rest of your body at hip crease on the bolster fold blankets and lay chest on wider roll of top blanket. Head rests on additional blanket at top, turned to the side. Arms come out to the sides, releasing shoulders down the back and away from the ears. Placing an eye pillow or stuffed animal in palms as they face floor is very grounding and comfortable. Additional blankets for pillows tucked in as needed with student to create boundaries or make more comfortable.
New Version includes laying tops of ankles over padded blocks for further draining of the legs.

Elevated Legs

Props: 2 blocks, 3 blankets, neck roll and other support
Benefits: reduces fatigue, reduces swelling in the legs and feet, soothes the nerves and eases mental agitation.  Great for after a long day on your feet.



Place two blocks medium height at end of your mat, roll a blanket smoothly and place over blocks.  Two bolster folded blankets are in front of blocks stacked on top of each other.  Use a neck roll and eye pillow and any additional blankets for comfort and grounding. Can add a blanket to lower legs.  

Reclined Twist
Props: bolster, 2-4 blocks, 4 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow
Extras: blanket for warmth
Benefits: Allows breath to come in to the rib cage and belly more freely. Detoxifying. Can reduce high blood pressure. Relieves fatigue and insomnia.  Safe for a Prenatal twist.

This can be a very prop intensive pose but once you are in it, it is worth it.  Begin with right side of body, place the bottom of your right foot against the wall with leg extended. Left leg is bent at a 90 deg. angle and propped up with two blocks and a bolster with maybe a blanket on top. at least two blankets, S-fold blankets, and/or pillows placed along spine for support, lengthwise.  Extend your left arm out to the left side and lay it on a smaller stack of blankets either s-fold or triple-fold out to your side.  Right arm extends out to the right.  This means the left arm is at a higher elevation than right. Head can remain neutral to ceiling or turn to one side.   Extra blankets can be placed in spaces that need more support.  Neck roll for cervical spine and eye pillow.
*we are digging placing the arms in Goddess pose (not pictured) so try that one out as well. Place blanket support under arms. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

January 3 Restore



Ganesha - The Remover of Obstacles

We began our first class of the New Year on the right foot as does Ganesha - the elephant deity.  I pulled the Ganesha Mudra from the book of Mudras  for Healing and Transformation by Joseph and Lilian Le Page (Integrative Yoga Therapy, 2nd Edition, 2014).  Listen to the recorded mudra and accompanying meditation that I will send separately, as you begin this new year, a new project or make a life change.  Below is the Ganesha Mantra for removing obstacles. However, you begin to manifest your dreams, your life, your new beginnings, may it begin auspiciously.

Ganesha Mantra


OM GAM GANAPATAYE NAMAHA

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4552/Remove-Obstacles-with-This-Ganesh-Mantra.html


The Poses
Reclined Bound Angle

Props: bolster, 4 blocks (or firm cushions, pillows or rolled-up blankets), 4 blankets and one extra blanket for warmth, strap and eye pillow

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. 
*This week's class featured a foot wrap, adding comfort and support for the feet, as well as a way to bring the feet in closer to your groin, opening the hips a little more.  Hope that you enjoyed.

Place a block lengthwise under one end of a bolster to prop it up on an incline, add another block under bolster for stability. We used the wall in this week's class placing the bolster at a higher elevation. Place a double-fold blanket on floor next to low end of bolster and a long rolled blanket on top next to bolster (for sacral support). Sit with your back to the short, low end of the bolster. Place two blocks where your knees will rest (can top with a soft blanket or use other props as necessary for propping knees)  Bring your legs into Bound Angle Pose with the soles of your feet together. Wrap a blanket around your feet to create a feeling of containment.  Lie back on the bolster. Place supports under your arms so that they are not dangling and there is no feeling of stretch in the chest. Stay in the pose for 10 to 15 minutes.

Legs up the Wall
Props: 1-2 blankets, strap, eye pillow, blanket for warmth, neck roll, maybe a bolster (see photo)
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.

Begin with using a double-folded blanket to be placed right above sacrum (see photo), setting it approx. distance 6-8" from wall (adjust in pose). Sit down on the blanket with one hip pressed right up against the wall. As you lower down, swing your legs up the wall. Once in the pose, you can adjust distance to wall, angle of legs to all, blanket and placement of legs all for comfort.  Hips and tailbone will be in space between wall and blanket. Arms rest by your side, palms face up or variation with Goddess arms (photo above).  
Variations: To ground legs, blanket or sandbag to hang from soles of the feet.  Strap can be placed around calves, so you lose the feeling of holding up legs.  Tight hamstrings or really uncomfortable with legs directly up the wall? Try a bolster angled into the wall to rest legs on, add blankets for more support or move hips further from wall.  Another variation is Legs up on a Chair or on a bolster with blankets on top to bring knees into a 90 degree angle

Mountain Brook
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.

Friday, December 2, 2016

November 29 Restore

Versace's Golden Throne i.e. Comfort and Ease

Deep Thoughts not Deep Pockets

Within the past two weeks, I have been a driven Christmas shopper.  I cringe as I think about my credit card bill at month's end. I have savings for but it still will be a jaw dropper.  As I have been gathering gifts for others in my closet and mentally going through the wish lists, I have come to the conclusion that this Christmas has a theme.  Unbeknownst to the people on my gift list, this theme has everything to do with Comfort and Ease.  Without going into the gift list (just in case prying eyes may see this), 99.9% of the gifts that I have bought, could bring some comfort or ease to a person's life.  Think snuggly, warm things.  Or gifts that make a persons life a bit easier.  I didn't intend to go this direction but honestly, maybe it is me that needs some comfort and ease right now.  If I need some, perhaps others do as well.   I am not going down that political road, but there is a lot of unease out there.  Whatever party, candidate, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual persuasion, and multitude of diversities that exist in our world, we could all use some comfort and ease.

Think of your own wish list and what three things are most important to you?  This may translate to a material gift you give yourself, an experience that you will have, or even a relationship that you develop with yourself or another.  What do you seek this Christmas?

The Breath
Breath of Joy - Conduct your own Joy
From standing mountain, inhale and bring arms out in front, continue to inhale as you swing arms horizontally by your side, then continue with inhalation as you again swing arms out front, finally exhale as you forward fold and arms come down towards the floor. Repeat at least 6 times and on the final exhale, hang there limply enjoying the energy you just created through breath.  As with any breath, if you begin to feel lightheaded, return to a neutral position and your normal breath.

The Poses
Reclined Bound Angle

Props: bolster, 4 blocks (or firm cushions, pillows or rolled-up blankets), 4 blankets and one extra blanket for warmth, strap and eye pillow

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. 
*This week's class featured a foot wrap, adding comfort and support for the feet, as well as a way to bring the feet in closer to your groin, opening the hips a little more.  Hope that you enjoyed.

Place a block lengthwise under one end of a bolster to prop it up on an incline, add another block under bolster for stability. We used the wall in this week's class placing the bolster at a higher elevation. Place a double-fold blanket on floor next to low end of bolster and a long rolled blanket on top next to bolster (for sacral support). Sit with your back to the short, low end of the bolster. Place two blocks where your knees will rest (can top with a soft blanket or use other props as necessary for propping knees)  Bring your legs into Bound Angle Pose with the soles of your feet together. Wrap a blanket around your feet to create a feeling of containment.  Lie back on the bolster. Place supports under your arms so that they are not dangling and there is no feeling of stretch in the chest. Stay in the pose for 10 to 15 minutes.

Supported Forward Fold with Chair or Bolsters
Chair Version
Wall Version
Benefits: great transition for decompressing the mind and body. Energy flow to the urinary tract, digestive and reproductive organs. Relaxes the back and releases tension in the neck.
Props: bolster, 3 blankets or 1 blocks (firm cushions and pillows are always an option) 

Place a block at lowest height and rest the bolster on it horizontally. Sit on a blanket in front of the props and swing your legs over top of the bolster. Adjust the height of the set-up to fit your legs. If your feet do not reach the floor, add a blanket or block. Before folding over the bolster, extend the spine on an inhale and then fold over.  Rest hands either on the bolster or on the floor.  Add support under arms and wherever else needed.  Forehead rests on bolster maybe adding a neck roll.  Stay for 5-10 minutes. 

Legs up the Wall
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.
Props: 1-2 blankets, strap, eye pillow, blanket for warmth, neck roll, maybe a bolster (see photo)

Begin with using a double-folded blanket to be placed right above sacrum (see photo), setting it approx. distance 6-8" from wall (adjust in pose). Sit down on the blanket with one hip pressed right up against the wall. As you lower down, swing your legs up the wall. Once in the pose, you can adjust distance to wall, angle of legs to all, blanket and placement of legs all for comfort.  Hips and tailbone will be in space between wall and blanket. Arms rest by your side, palms face up or variation with Goddess arms (photo above).  

Variations: To ground legs, blanket or sandbag to hang from soles of the feet.  Strap can be placed around calves, so you lose the feeling of holding up legs.  Tight hamstrings or really uncomfortable with legs directly up the wall? Try a bolster angled into the wall to rest legs on, add blankets for more support or move hips further from wall.  Another variation is Legs up on a Chair or on a bolster with blankets on top to bring knees into a 90 degree angle.



Thursday, November 17, 2016

November 15 Restore

Setting the Tone
Yoga Sutra 1.1
With Humility (an open heart and mind), we embrace the sacred study of Yoga. (Nischala Joy Devi in The Secret Power of Yoga)



The First Yoga Sutra: What It Means and How You Can Practice It


BY CAROLYN GREGOIRE  |  


Yoga Journal co-founder Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, and her daughter, Lizzie Lasater, have 

partnered with YJ to bring you a six-week interactive online course on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra.

Through study of this fundamental text, the Lasaters, with more than 50 years of combined 

teaching experience, will support you in deepening your practice and broadening your 

understanding of yoga. Sign up now for a transformative journey to learn, practice, and live the

 sutra.

Patanjali’s first teaching, atha yoga anushasanam, which means “now, the practice of yoga 
begins,” is easy to dismiss. But Sutra I.1 isn’t something to skip over on your way to the 
good stuff, according to international yoga teacher Lizzie Lasater. Here Lasater explores the 
meaning of the first sutra and offers a home practice to honor its wisdom.
Yoga Journal: What does Sutra I.1 mean to you?
Lizzie Lasater: My mom says that she likes to think of this sutra as “Now the practice of yoga 
is shared,” instead of “begins,” and I think that’s a really nice idea about yoga. It is a direct 
hand-to-hand lineage, and it is always about sharing.
But when I first started reading the Sutra, I didn’t take this verse that seriously. Now, the more 
time I’ve spent with the text, the more enamored I am. I think it’s a very powerful sutra and it’s 
one of my favorites. I like that it’s just three words—it’s extremely simple to hold onto and lends
itself easily to being chanted.
YJ: What is the significance of the first word, atha?
LL:  If we had to reduce the Yoga Sutra down to a single word, that’s the one I would pick. 
Atha means now, and that is fundamentally one of the deepest insights of spiritual practice: To
bring us very deeply into the present moment. Atha is this kind of call of action for us to wake 
up now. It can be a mantra for daily living that moves off the mat and into our lives, bringing us
back to what’s happening now.
You could build a theme for a whole class or a whole practice around atha. Asana itself is 
fundamentally a set of building blocks—these positions are designed, in my opinion, to bring 
us into the now. They are focusing techniques. When we focus on the breath and on the 
sensations of the body, those are all occurring in real time. They are always happening in the
present.
YJ: Can you give us an example of a practice based on this Sutra?  
LL: This is a home practice, which ties in perfectly with this sutra. Practice is a space for being
in reality with what’s going on right now—in my body, in my day, in my life. I’ve done this practice 
a lot in my own life and I find it to be quite powerful.
Here’s what I suggest: Take your phone, put it on airplane mode, and set a timer for 15 minutes. 
Roll out your mat, lie down, bend your knees and spread the feet wide to the edges of the mat. 
Then let your knees come gently together, close your eyes and bring your hands onto your 
belly. Now, think about the idea of atha and ask it to yourself as a question. What do I need 
right now? What does my body want right now? Listen in stillness and silence for the answer
to arise.
The “worst” thing that could happen is nothing—you lie there for 15 minutes or you straighten 
your legs and do Savasana (Corpse Pose). That’s the risk, and for most of us that’s actually 
really wonderful considering how jam-packed our days are. But every time I’ve done this, 
something arises and I start moving and breathing intuitively. This is a much more receptive 
kind of practice than imposing our idea of practice on the body.
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
About Our Experts
Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT, has been teaching yoga since 1971. She trains students 
and teachers throughout the United States as well as abroad, is one of the founders of Yoga 
Journal magazine, and is president of the California Yoga Teachers Association. She 
has written eight books. Learn more at judithhansonlasater.com.
Raised in San Francisco and trained as a designer, Lizzie Lasater, MArch, RYT, teaches 
yoga internationally and online. She sometimes jokes that she’s been practicing yoga since the 
womb because her mom, Judith Hanson Lasater, has been teaching since before Lizzie’s birth.
Lizzie lives in the Alps with her Austrian husband. You can find her schedule and classes at 
lizzielasater.com.
The Breath
Breath Awareness - bringing more awareness inside


  1. Bring awareness to the air moving into the nostrils and out of the nostrils. Observe the feeling, the temperature and any other qualities of the air. Observe the air for at least 4 breaths and you can really notice the qualities of the air coming in.  
  2. Next, follow the air coming in the nostrils to the trachea (wind tunnel) and then follow the air out of the body back through the nostrils. Observe any qualities of the air like temperature, sound, pressure, etc.
  3. Finally folllow the air from the entry of the nostrils down to the lungs and then back out of the lungs through the nostrils.  What sensations do you have physically? What is happening with your thoughts and are you feeling anything emotionally?
The Poses
Side Lean
Props: bolster, 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.
Lie on right side of bolster with hip at the base of it.  Torso should rest on the stack.  Right arm should be under the head.  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.

Supported Forward Fold 
Chair Version

Wall Version
Benefits: great transition for decompressing the mind and body. Energy flow to the urinary tract, digestive and reproductive organs. Relaxes the back and releases tension in the neck.
Props: bolster, 3 blankets or 1 blocks (firm cushions and pillows are always an option) 

Place a block at lowest height and rest the bolster on it horizontally. Sit on a blanket in front of the props and swing your legs over top of the bolster. Adjust the height of the set-up to fit your legs. If your feet do not reach the floor, add a blanket or block. Before folding over the bolster, extend the spine on an inhale and then fold over.  Rest hands either on the bolster or on the floor.  Add support under arms and wherever else needed.  Forehead rests on bolster maybe adding a neck roll.  Stay for 5-10 minutes. 

Belly Down with Bolster

Props: 2 or more blankets, neck rolls, bolster for feet
Benefits: soothing to the nervous system, grounding, stimulates the
digestive system, gentle chest opener, lengthens the legs, ankles, releases the pelvis





Place a blanket for the chest to lie on as well as fill in the belly area and one blanket for a pillow. Lie belly down with legs extended, arms bent slightly out to the side. Can hold onto your neck roll to ground through the palms. Turn your head to one side and change direction when you need to.  Additional support at the ankles. Add a blanket over top for comfort and warmth.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November 8 Restore


One day at a time

The Poses

Supported Forward Fold with Legs Extended (Paschimottasana)
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. Massage for the digestive system.
Props: bolster, 1-2 blankets, block
Sit on a folded blanket and extend legs out in front of you. Place bolster lengthwise along the legs adding a blanket or block to top as headrest. Lay your upper body on bolster and rest your forehead on blanket or block. Arms can drape on bolster, along side or any other comfortable position. 

Bridge Pose - Supported
Props: 4 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow, can also use bolster for more stretch
Extras: blanket for warmth
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)

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift butt and slide the stack of 2 or 4 blankets under the base of your spine. Find a comfortable position, then let the upper back release on the floor. Arms are relaxed at sides or resting on belly. Feel chest and belly rise with each breath. Roll gently to one side when done and inhale up to seated.


Nesting Pose
Props: blankets, bolster
Benefits; Nurturing, sense of security, well-supported pose to regulate the nervous system, good for when you are feeling anxious, keeps body in alignment, supportive for the spine, hips, shoulders, head.  Allows for optimal healing and sleeping position. nurturing, sense of security, optimal for sleeping


Create a big enough folded blanket to place between the knees to align the legs in Tadasana. Add a folded blanket to rest your top arm on. Recline on a side that is comfortable, resting your head on a blanket. A neck roll can go under the ankles for support.  Bolster can rest along spine for further support and grounding. Finally, cover yourself with a blanket from head to toes.  Sink down with each long exhalation.  Mantra to accompany pose "I am safe, I am supported".