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February 14, 2012 Restore Series

You may have noticed a Van Gogh hanging on the marquee of this blog.  It is my rendition of Starry Starry Night recently completed at Painting with a Twist.  I know shameless self promotion.  But if you are hankering for a fun night coupled with the relaxation of painting and a masterpiece to take home, this may be your Shangrila.  They offer a new painting for each of the nights or days that they are open.  They provide all art supplies,  cups, napkins, plates, amazing playlists and a great atmosphere.  You only need to bring beverages, munchies and an open, creative spirit. Come see what it is all about.  Painting with a Twist in Skippack.


And yet another way to relax is of course our Restorative Series.  Carmen led you through some poses to open up the joints, loosening those blockages perhaps allowing you to be open to whatever the universe throws your way.  It is important to block out the light during a restorative practice.  Read on.............


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
Childs Pose


Props: bolster, two blocks, 2-3 blankets
Benefits: Gently stretches the lower back, relieves shoulder tension and quiets the mind.  Give a sense of security. Feeling support and release.
Extras:sandbag for sacrum

Place the two blocks at either the lowest or medium height, equidistant from each other bolster lengthwise on top of blocks. A s-fold or triple fold blanket on top of bolster.  It may be more comfortable without blocks.  Legs straddle the props at one end, and lengthen body over them. Head will rest on props.  Additional blanket(s) may be used behind knees. Ideally props should extend all the way to the pelvis area but this may not be the case with your body structure.   Stay here for 10 minutes to begin with, rotating head side to side. 

Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)


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

Place a block lengthwise under one end of a bolster to prop it up on an incline, add another block under bolster for stability. 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)  If you are using a strap, with it around your waist, extend it to wrap around the outside of the soles of the feet. 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.


How Do You Awaken Your Creativity?


Do you ever feel blocked not only in a physical sense but in your emotions, mental capability and creativity?  Do you remember that feeling you get when fresh ideas, influences flow through you?  It matters not if you run with each and every creative flow.  What is important is to allow it to move within you, percolate and maybe ripen.  I recently had one of those moments after taking a yoga class.  My body was open, receptive and able to receive what was brewing in my creative mind.  I may go with this idea of mine or not but I feel unlocked and receptive in this moment.  


Dave Charest shares a very simple Brain Drain exercise on his website Unlock your Creativity - Dave Charest


Journal Question

  • How do you unlock your creativity?  Jot down the physical sensations you may feel when you are creative.
  • What in your daily life may cause blockages? Jot down the physical sensations you may feel when you are blocked.


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