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March 13, 2012 Restore Series

There is no denying it, a touch of Spring is here.  The brighter patches of green, onion grass sprouting, a clover patch, and the much welcomed surprise of the perennials.  So before I get carried away on the March winds, I want to take one more moment to ground myself, feel comfort and support.  One way to ground myself as the winds shift is through touch. Hang on and read all the way to the bottom for more on the power of touch and your journal question for the week.


The Breath
Humming Breath or Buzzing Bee Breath (Brahmari Breath)
On the spot relaxation, soothing.
Sit comfortably either on the floor or in a chair with spine straight and shoulders relaxed.  Hand placement is as follows:
Index and middle fingers of each hand lay across the eyes. Can place one at brow line and one on bridge of nose.  Ring fingers touch at upper lip.  Thumbs gently placed at indentation by ears. The pinkie fingers can rest on the lower part of the face or just hang there.  Breathe in and on the exhale, make a buzzing sound until all air is exhaled. Begin again with the deep inhale, exhale with the buzzing sound.  Continue for at least 5 breaths until you feel a sense of peace, calm wash over you.  If you feel like you are forcing the exhale, come back to your normal breath.



The Poses
Supported Wide Angle Pose
Props: bolster, two blocks, 4 or more blankets
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 and provides a nice transition from day. Can help with sleep.

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.  Rub hands together to warm up the hands and gently cup them over the eyes and rest on the elbows on the bolster. Avoid too much pressure on the eyes.  To lesson any strain in the lower back, sit on a single or double-fold blanket.  Can add blanket rolls under the knees. Stay for 5 to 10 minutes. 
*note that for some students the breath can be constrained. Practice belly breaths to begin with.

Supported Bound Angle Pose


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. We used the wall in this week's class placing the bolster at a higher elevation. 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)  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.

The Power of Touch
When you start to feel that you are off the grid, living a parallel life to others, where your deepest conversations are with the clerk at the store, maybe you are needing some touch therapy.  Touch can come in all types of forms, a hug, a caress, a sensual massage, eye contact, an encouraging pat on the back, a handshake, and even a shampoo and a haircut.

Touch is so powerful because our skin is the largest organ in our body.  When touched, the sensory receptors in our skin send a signal to the brain and the hormone oxytocin (feel good hormone) is released.  At the very same time, cortisol (stress hormone) is reduced.  The benefits of touch are numerous. It can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, ease migraines and may give you a good night's sleep.  One study at the University of Miami, showed that people post-massage solved math problems more accurately and faster. Even holding onto a warm cup of something can trigger a sensory reaction. Finally, touch increases bonding with those that are close to us. It deepens our relationships. Touch even becomes more powerful when you combine your true intentions and genuine care for others.  Before proceeding with touch, pay attention to the space that you are entering.

Journal Question
What is one your favorite places to be touched?
What physical and emotional sensations do you feel?
How do you like to touch others?
What are some ways you can bring this power of touch more to your life?

Sending you a warm fuzzy   


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