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November 13 Restore Series

"Wait, wait, wait for this, wait for that...",  I tell  my children.  If only I could take my own advice and more.  I think back to a Dr. Seuss book and the The Waiting Place... (a useless place), which points out the ridiculousness in our waiting.


for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, an Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

While we wait, life passes us by.  We don't need to be super productive during the wait time.  When waiting for a "live" person to talk as you dial in your insurance company, do you multitask, end up painting your toe nails, cook a meal?  And how do you feel during, afterward?  Maybe a bit unfocused on the task at hand, which is bad for dinner and your toes.  Perhaps, as you listen to the prompts for the umpteenth time, you could focus on your soft breath moving in and out of you, direct that breath to places that  are tense as you wait.  So go find your Boom Bands and play along!

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. 

Supported 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. Detoxifying. 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. 


The Inspiration
Patience

Now what does this have to do with Restorative and its practice?  We practice patience as our bodies finally get to relax enough to heal, release tension, find ease in itself.  We practice patience as our minds, let go of useless things, worry, racing thoughts. And we practice patience as our hearts, our spirit, finds itself, its space, its oneness.  This takes time, this takes practice.  It will not be fixed in one practice, it will not be fixed with a bandaid, a pill.  Our bodies, minds and spirit accumulate a lot of "stuff" as we move through our ages, building layers, walls, impenetrable fortresses.  It took time to build, it will take time to breakdown.  

This is where patience comes in.  Reconfirm your intention, renew your practice.

15 Reasons Why You Should Try Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga uses various props to allow people to stay in poses for a long time, 
without any discomfort, stress, strain, injury risk and pain. First developed within the 
school of B.K.S. Iyengar in India, this supported yoga requires props such as bolsters, 
blocks, blankets, belts, chairs, walls, benches, sand bags, etc. Compared to more 
dynamic yoga practices, restorative yoga requires more attention and receptiveness. 
It involves a different kind of muscular engagement.

If you have yet to try restorative yoga, here are some very good reasons to start:

Cats Make Good Hip Operners1
1. Restorative yoga helps you reach an optimal alignment.

2. The beneficial effects of restorative yoga have the time to reach nerves and organs,
 including respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems.
 
3. Restorative yoga relaxes and regenerates both the body and the mind.
 
4. Restorative yoga improves flexibility without injury risk or pain if done with mindfulness
care and respect for the body.
 
5. Because restorative yoga relaxes the mind, it helps relieve anxiety. It is not the only 
form of yoga that allows that, but its results are faster compared to other practices.
 
6. Restorative yoga helps insomnia. 
 
7. Restorative yoga develops patience, humbleness and the ability to focus.
 
8. Restorative yoga improves respiratory capacity and blood circulation.
 
9. Some restorative yoga poses can relieve pain in specific body areas, such as neck, 
lower back, hips, etc.

10. Restorative yoga allows you to increase self-awareness and offers opportunities 
for meditation.
 
11. Restorative yoga is a wonderful practice when you are physically, emotionally or 
mentally tired.
 
12. Everyone can do restorative yoga, including older people, as well as people with
 injuries or illnesses, as long as the practice is adapted and adjusted to their needs and
 limits.
 
13 Scientific studies have shown that restorative yoga can help people cope with serious
 illnesses, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
 
14. You can do one or two restorative yoga poses at work or anywhere, for 10 to 15 
minutes! This is enough to help you renew and go on with your week.
 
15. Restorative yoga is fun and a real treat! It’s like taking a staycation (vacation while 
staying in town)!


Published June 27, 2012 at 1:00 PM


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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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