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Oct. 4, 2011 Restore Series

Transformation - whether or not we are ready for it, Mother Nature is well on its way to changing the seasons!  I woke this morning to an explosion of color around me. No, it wasn't the sun but the last hurrah of the leaves, the plants, the flowers, the grass, even the rocks seems to dazzle in color.  They are all announcing that they need a little break now but will be back in full color once again come spring.

We all need a little break to be our dazzling selves.  But riding the waves of changing seasons can wreak havoc on the immune system, our balance, and our relationships.  Seek some middle ground to support yourself.

Try this one on for size - an on-line "free" hour long class from Kripalu. The Restorative class led by Sudha Carolyn Lundeen was my inspiration for our practice yesterday.  See the link and check this class out and the others led by amazing teachers at Kripalu.  Kripalu Restorative Class

The Breath
Equal Breath 

Find a comfortable seated position or laying down. Focus in on your breath, becoming aware of its pattern before beginning this breath. Make a conscious effort to inhale and exhale for the same count (2 to 3). Find a calm, steady awareness of the breath, the feel, the temperature, the way it enters and exits the body. Practice this breath anywhere. Continue this for 2 to 3 minutes. 

The Poses
Heart-Opener Fully Supported Spine

Benefits: gently stretches the lower back, nice transition from day to relaxation, good to counteract effects of hunching over a computer all day and lengthens the spine.
Props: 1-2 triple fold blankets, neck roll and eye pillow

Place 1-2 triple fold blankets on top of each other lengthwise on your mat. Sit at fringe end of blankets with bent knees. Lower yourself down, laying the spine along the blanket and head at top end.  Keep knees bent. Place neck roll at cervical spine or simply make a roll using fingers under top blanket. Move feet wider apart and allow knees to come together, feet are slightly turned in. 

Lotus at Wall or Bound Angle

Benefits: inversion for legs, drain from the day, slows down breathing, calming the mind for meditation, lengthens inner thighs, release tension in lower back.
Props: bolster, blankets, enough to support legs, neck roll, eye pillow
Place bolster lengthwise against the wall. May stack a few blankets to create height for the legs to lay on or another bolster. Lotus version, cross legs and rest on bolster. Bound angle version, bring the soles of the feet together and rest knees on bolster.  Wedge a blanket along thighs to support legs.  Hips remain on the floor and an additional blanket may be necessary for filling the lumbar curve.

Revolved Twist Supported

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.

The Cat in the Hat and the Meaning of That? - Journal Question 

I am a sucker for Dr. Seuss books and grew up reading them, mesmerized with the pictures and words. In turn, I read them to my kids, hoping for the same enchantment.  Listen to this NPR radio show, Talk of the Nation, from today for more on Dr. Seuss and the depth of his creative self.  Journal these questions - What Dr. Seuss book is your favorite and why (if not Seuss what other book and why)?  How do you think it shaped you? Then describe how you show your authentic voice to the world? 

Talk of the Nation - Dr. Seuss

My Authentic Voice

I know my authentic voice
because it moves me like no other.
Emerging not from the grooves of habit or belief,
but out of far left field, or wherever the mystery
resides in me, it surprises with honesty or
shocks me out of my complacency.

From the babble of competing voices in my head, this one stands out.
I know my authentic voice because integrity insists
on being noticed. It delivers the experience of truth,
the take-my-breath-away instant when presence
fills every cell of me with "Yes."

Danna Faulds, From Root to Bloom


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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 ox…

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