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February 21, 2012 Restore Series

The Power of "Tucking in"
Let us go down memory lane just a little. Do you remember as a kid growing up, the comforting, secure feeling you may have got from your parents tucking you in at night.  I do.  And I now see this every night with my younger daughter who relishes in this nightly ritual.  We add a South of the Border twist, as I wrap her up as a burrito and then pretend to eat her.


Think about your restorative practice and recall the secure feeling as a blanket is tucked in around your body.  Ahhh, you may have finally been able to let go of holding yourself up and allow the relaxation response to kick in.  This swaddling can quiet your nervous system and soften the contact with the floor or any other props lessening discomfort.  One more benefit to "tucking in" is that it gives you a line of demarcation where your body ends, so you become better aware of your body, its space and the space surrounding you.  


I've included an Introduction to Blanket Folding 101 below.  How we fold and place a blanket is very important to our restorative practice.  Try some of these at home.  Also, way way below is your journal question for the week.  Enjoy!


The Breath
Breathing into the space of the lungs, interior surface, top to bottom, front to back, side to side,  Expansion in all dimensions.   Breathing into the length of the spine, from top to bottom, side to side, front and back.  Expand in all directions.  Take 2-3 breaths for each direction and then 4 complete breaths to finish.


The Poses
Sublime Side Lean Stretch


Props: bolster or 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.


Place bolster or the 2 or 3 blankets or pillows horizontally on your mat or floor. Lie on right side with hip at the base of the blankets or pillows.  Torso should rest on the stack.  Right arm rest on the floor with the palm up.  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.


Childs Pose, Straddle Variation


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.
Props: chair, 2-4 blankets

Place blanket single-fold on chair draping down. Legs can stretch through chair or straddle or cross-legged.  Arms placed folded on chair in front of you. Rest forehead on arms. Tilt chin slightly toward your chest.  Close eyes. For comfort or lower back issues, sit on blanket, add rolled up blankets under knees if legs in straddle, or blocks/blankets under knees if cross legged. May add a blanket at sacrum for grounding.


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. 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. 


How to Fold a Blanket 101
You may see reference to certain blanket folds in the pose descriptions.  I've broken down a few of the most used ones.  As an experiment, try all the folds (except for the roll) and lay down on each one to see which one is most comfortable for you.  They are vastly different.  Maybe you'll find a favorite one!  You certainly can use any type of blanket but a thick cotton one like the Mexican blanket is a nice choice because it is firm, adds height and comfort.  Be creative and come up with your own fold.  Yes, Martha Stewart would be proud!

Single-fold blanket
Single-Fold Blanket - fold a blanket in half and then in half again. This fold is usually the starting point for other folds.  Can use this in a roll in Legs-up-the-wall to hang from the feet or under the knees or ankles or even as a Spinal strip.
Double-fold blanket
Double-fold blanket - simply fold the single-fold over one more time.
Triple-fold blanket
Triple-fold blanket - from single-fold, fold one end a third of the way over and fold the last third of the blanket  over on top of other folds.
S-fold blanket
S-fold blanket - from single-fold, fold one end a third of the way over and the other third gets folded under.   Adds more height to prop.
Double-fold roll
Double-fold roll  blanket - from a double-fold begin to roll from the fringe end of the blanket (if any fringes). Great for lumbar openers where you want to fill the space.

Journal Question*
  • What things in your life make you feel secure?  Could be people, places, activities, material items, esoteric things.  
  • Conversely, what throws you off balance, make your stomach clench, your breath shorten, scare you?
*I realize that these are intense questions, that you may not want to or feel you can answer.  If that is the case, just jot down the questions in your journal, come back to it when you are ready.  Try your favorite restorative pose and breath before delving into the deep recesses of your mind/emotions.  

Get the dialogue going................

From My Favorite Daily Message - TUT.com - A Note from the Universe

It's not from the known, but the unknown, that creativity and inventiveness are born. Turn away from the predictable, cliché, and reliable. Brave the void where the darkness is greatest. Trust the quiet, find the stillness, feel the calm. Then steadily think, speak, and move as if you were led. Behave as if your vision were clear. Anticipate the emotional rush that will come with your triumph. And as if by magic, as you raise your pen to write, you'll find the words have already been summoned, flooded in light that was there all along, in a world that has just as anxiously anticipated your arrival.

Comments

  1. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.





    Yoga Bolsters

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Ganesh,
    I am so glad you enjoyed the posting. I hope to add more photos soon of Minimal props and blanket folding. It is amazing how just one adjustment to how a blanket is set up can make a difference. Continue on continuing......
    Diane

    ReplyDelete

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