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June 21, 2011 Restorative Series

Welcome Back to your place for all things restorative.  A big "shoutout" to Carmen for leading her very first restorative class.  She was calm, cool and collected the whole time.  She shares with you the poses from today, the breath, and some tips for finding your "relaxation" during the day and before bedtime. These poses all help with fatigue and insomnia which can be one viscous cycle if not kept in balance. Keep on keeping.......


Wide Angle Forward Fold
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. Helps during menstruation.  And by tipping the uterus forward and away from the spine, frees the uterus from being pressed and congested by other organs. As head rests on bolster, releases tension in frontalis where we hold stress in contracted state relieving headaches. Quiets the mind.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. 
Legs up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
 Please refer to the June 14th Restorative Class blog for pose props, benefits and set-up.


Supported Revolved Twist
Props: bolster, 3 blankets, 1 extra blanket for warmth and or laying on lower back to ground
Benefits: Gentle twist for the spine. Releases stress on the back muscles and a stretch to the intercostal muscles. As muscles relax, breathing is enhanced.  Squeezes out toxins.

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.

Ways to Relax on a daily basis:

  • Read fun articles and books.
  • Watch comedy shows.
  • Dance, Sing, and Laugh a lot.
  • Plan a spa day with friends or just yourself.
  • Just do absolutely "nothing" for an hour and not feel guilty about it.
  • Try not to overschedule your day.  Just do 3 out of 5 things per day.
  • When on vacation, do not answer job-related calls.  Tell you co-workers and boss there is no telephone reception where you are going.  
Smile, Smile, Smile.

Some tips before bedtime:

  • Drink a warm glass of milk.
  • Do some gentle stretching yoga exercises before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugar before bedtime.


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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.
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