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April 16 Restore Series

A topsy turvy world we live in.  I tried and tried to get my head around what happened on Monday in Boston but couldn't.  I then realized that maybe I didn't have to at that moment or at any moment.  Violence, hate - all leave a bad taste in my mouth and are not indigenous to my spirit.  And how do I
personally cope with the death and morbid destruction?  For me to stay balanced and not also digest this hatred, I have to send out love in all directions.  To those who have suffered in this tragedy, to those who helped the victims, and yes, even to those who created such an atrocity.

To All Beings Everywhere.........

The Practice of Metta Karuna

This won't come easy to practice love and kindness to others and to self, but the key word is Practice.  First thing in the morning, set your intention to practice Metta Karuna.  Some of the following verses may help you in this endeavor.

Waking this morning, I smile
A brand new day is before me.
I aspire to live each moment mindfully.
And to look upon all beings
with the eyes of kindness and compassion.
May you, and all other beings, be happy and 
free from suffering.

Or meditate and reflect upon your heat, acknowledge how it feels (open/closed, receptive/defensive). Repeat this Metta verse.

May I be happy
May I be peaceful
May I be safe from harm
May I enjoy happiness and the root of happiness
May I experience ease and wellbeing in my mind, body and spirit

And after your asana/yoga practice, sit quietly and send affirmations to your heart, someone close to you, someone you have difficulty with, all beings everywhere.

May I/you be protected and safe
May I/you be healthy and strong
May I/you be happy and at ease
May I/you care for myself/yourself wisely
May I/you be at peace

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 Inverted Staff Pose (Viparita Dandasana)
Props: two bolsters, neck roll, strap
Benefits: keeps the spine supple, expands the chest fully, stretches the entire front of the body, slight inversion to drain the legs.

Place two bolsters lengthwise next to each other. Strap should go loosely around legs before moving into pose. Sit on first bolster and with bent elbows, lower upper body toward floor, shoulders will be on floor.  Support head with neck roll or if needed a blanket.  Tighten strap so legs can easily rest on bolster without using muscles to hold them there.  Arms rest at sides. Stay for 5-10 minutes, breathing into sensations to soften, relax.

Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha) *Note that this pose is similar to the above but in this week's class, we sat on the end of the first bolster so head, shoulders and back were off the bolster, to work on opening up lower back.

Props: 4 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow
Extras: blanket for warmth, strap for legs
Benefits: Expands the chest muscles, opens the lungs, balances the glands, quiets the nerves and releases tension in the nervous system, increases oxygen intake to the brain, can stimulate the immune system (thyroid). stretch out lower back.

Make two stacks of two double or triple fold blankets on top of each other.  Placed the two stacks end to end. Height and width of blankets can be adjusted for your body.  Sit down straddling one of the stacks and carefully lower yourself down onto forearms, swing your legs onto the stack sitting on the end of the first bolster (sacrum will be at edge of bolster) and lower down to floor. Neck roll is placed at top stack, back, shoulder and head to floor.  Neck is supported by neck roll and head is completely flat on floor with forehead and chin on the same plane.  Arms stretched out to the sides.  Option to put strap around calves if the legs are rolling outward.  Stay for up to 15 minutes. Roll off blankets slowly and bring knees to chest with some movement.

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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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Bridge Pose - Supported
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