Lo and behold, we actually had a sunny, warm day for our class yesterday! A warm thanks for your participation in our first Moyo restorative series. I enjoyed the connection that each of us shared with each other and really enjoyed seeing how you connected with yourselves. It has been said that "a little dab will do you". Well in restorative, I think that is very true. A little goes a long way in your overall health and wellness. Keep enjoying the poses we did through the series and have fun perhaps making up your own. Keep your Sankalpa alive and well, bringing it into every aspect of your life.
Therapeutic Spinal Strip
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.
Wide Angle Forward Fold (Upavishta Konasana)
Props: bolster, two blocks, 4 or more blankets, neck roll (optional)
Benefits: releases the pelvis which can help release tension in the buttocks, hips, belly and lower back. Quiets the organs of digestion and elimination. Opens lower back area. As head rests on bolster, releases tension in frontalis where we hold stress in contracted state. Cooling and calming to overall body.
Depending upon the length of your torso, you may or may not need the blocks under the bolster. A double-folded blanket folded over one more time adds height and comfort. Place as many of these as you need on top of the bolster. Cushions and pillows are also good. You will straddle the props bringing them in as close to your body as possible to support you as you forward fold. Forehead can be resting on a neck pillow or turn side to side on props. Arms can be by sides of props, resting on legs or if using blocks under the props. To lesson any strain in the lower back, sit on a single or double-fold blanket. Stay for 20 minutes.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (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.
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))
Using a bolster and two blocks. Great for prenatal as well. Explore other reclined yoga poses using props.
Letting the Flow Move through You
(Restorative Flow and Journaling)Restorative Flow
|Inhale open to Goddess arms|
|Exhale, bring arms in|
Do 10 sets moving with the breath
|Inhale, lengthen legs and extend arms|
Do 10 sets each side
|Exhale, bring right knee to chest|
Journaling allows people to clarify their thoughts and feelings, thereby, gaining valuable self-knowledge. It's also a good problem solving tool. Journaling about traumatic events helps you process them by fully exploring and releasing the emotions involved and by engaging the hemispheres of the brain in the process, allowing the experience to become fully integrated in one's mind. The health benefits of journaling have been scientifically proven.
Steps to Journaling Successfully
- decreases symptoms of asthma, arthritis and other health conditions
- improves cognitive functioning
- strengthens the immune system
- counteracts the negative effects of stress
- dreams, possible purpose in life, childhood memories and feelings surrounding them, where you would like to be in two years, best and worst days of your life, if you could have three wishes, what are you grateful for........
- Buy a journal. This may seem simple but what kind of journal you purchase is important. Blank pages versus lined pages or perhaps even journaling on your computer. There are many on-line options. Use your book to reflect your creativity or go with function first.
- Set aside time. One of the most difficult of parts of journaling. It's important to block off about 20 minutes each day to write. Is it the morning you prefer to start you day or in the evening, to wrap up the day. And maybe the only time you have is during a lunch break. Take whatever time you get.
- Begin writing. Don't think about what to say, just begin writing, and the words should come. If you really need help, here are some topics you can begin with:
- Write about thoughts and feelings. As you write, just don't vent. Write about your feelings, but also about your thoughts surrounding the emotional events. Relive events, and try to construct solutions and 'find the lesson'.
- Keep your journal private. If you are worried that someone else may read it, you may self-censor and you won't achieve the same benefits from writing. Lock away the book or if using a computer, password protect it.
Lastly, some tips for writing:
- Aim to write at the same time each day
- Reread the entries
- Notice patterns in your writing
- Writing for 20 minutes is ideal but if you have only 5 minutes, use it.
- If you skip a day, or 3, just keep writing when you can
- Don't worry about grammar or neatness
- Try not to self-censor, let go of 'shoulds' and just write what comes.
Feedback and Evaluation of Series
I will post your comments and feedback in May. Thank you for sharing both here on the Blog and in class. I look forward to seeing all of you in my classes and in future series and workshops. Stay tuned for more information.
Labels: Alternate Nostril Breathing, Journaling, Restorative Flow, Therapeutic Spinal Strip, Wide Angle Forward Fold