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March 18 Restore Series

Spring Musings












First Day of Spring 2014: Vernal Equinox


A Sign of Spring
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In 2014, spring begins with the vernal equinox on March 20 at 12:57 P.M. EDT. Here’s more information about the equinox, signs of spring, and stunning spring photos!

The Vernal Equinox

Ah, spring! This season brings increasing daylight, warming temperatures, and the rebirth of flora and fauna.
The word equinox is derived from the Latin words meaning “equal night.” Days and nights are approximately equal everywhere and the Sun rises and sets due east and west.
At the equinoxes, the tilt of Earth relative to the Sun is zero, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the Sun. (However, the tilt of Earth relative to its plane of orbit, called the ecliptic plane, is always about 23.5 degrees.)
See your local Sun rise and set times—and how the day length changes!
Find last spring frost dates.

Vernal Equinox Questions and Answers

Question: Why doesn’t the vernal equinox (equal night) on March 20 have the same number of hours for day and night?
Answer: Our former astronomer, George Greenstein, had this to say: "There are two reasons. First, light rays from the Sun are bent by the Earth's atmosphere. (This is why the Sun appears squashed when it sets.) They are bent in such a way that we are actually able to see the Sun before it rises and after it sets. The second reason is that daytime begins the moment any part of the Sun is over the horizon, and it is not over until the last part of the Sun has set. If the Sun were to shrink to a starlike point and we lived in a world without air, the spring and fall equinoxes would truly have ‘equal nights.’”
Question: According to folklore, you can stand a raw egg on its end on the equinox. Is this true?
Answer: One spring, a few minutes before the vernal equinox, several Almanac editors tried this trick. For a full workday, 17 out of 24 eggs stood standing. Three days later, we tried this trick again and found similar results. Perhaps 3 days after the equinox was still too near. Try this yourself and let us know what happens!

Signs of Spring

Spring is also the time when worms begin to emerge from the earth, ladybugs land on screen doors, green buds appear, birds chirp, and flowers begin to bloom. The vernal, or spring, equinox signals the beginning of nature’s renewal in the Northern Hemisphere.
You can track when the seasons change by recording animal behaviors and the way that the plants grow. Listen to the new sounds and observe what you hear and see.  
Article from www.almanac.com


t://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-spring-vernal-equinox

The Breath
Humming Breath (Brahmari)
Benefits:
  • Excellent for speeding up the healing of body tissues
  • Alleviates stress and tension, anger, anxiety, asthma, insomnia, and high blood pressure
  • Strengthens the voice and relieves thyroid ailments
  • Benefits are enhanced when practiced after Nadi Shodhana
  • Balance air and ether, especially in the vata Fall season (Ayurvedic)
How To: 

  1. Sit comfortably, with lips closed and teeth slightly opened. Make sure the jaw is relaxed.
  2. Raise the arms to the sides, bend the elbows, and bring the hands to the ears, plugging the ears with the index or middle fingers.
  3. Bring the awareness to the center of the head (ajna chakra) and keep the body still.
  4. Inhale through the nose, and while exhaling make a deep, steady humming sound like a bee for the duration of the exhale.
  5. Then, while inhaling, contract the throat to produce a humming sound on inhalation (if this sound is difficult to make at first, focus only on producing the sound while exhaling).
  6. Practice 5 rounds, ending with a humming exhale.
The Poses
Childs Pose Variation
Props: bolster, one blocks, 2-3 blankets, neck roll for forehead
Benefits: Gently stretches the lower back, relieves shoulder tension and quiets the mind.  Give a sense of security. Feeling support and release. Gently lengthens the legs.
Extras:sandbag for sacrum

Place bolster on the mat lengthwise and lay a blanket over it. Make a smaller roll for the ankles and place at the other end of the mat. Also place a block at top end with a neck roll or eye pillow on top. Begin on all fours and lower  your upper body onto the bolster. Settle the tops of the ankles on the smaller roll and adjust the body so that the tops of the thighs rest on the edge of the bolster.  Lay the forehead on the cushioned block and place the arms to the side, shoulders dropping from the ears.  Soften your jaw and let the body sink into the supports and the floor. 

Supported Bridge Pose

Props: bolster or 2- 3 blankets stacked, neck roll

Benefits: gentle backbend, supports immune system, lengthens spine, chest opener to aid in breathing and abdominal support for digestive health, supports good posture

Set up the bolster or stacked blankets horizontally on your mat. Sit on the set-up and begin to carefully recline down onto the floor. Shoulders resting on the floor and arms by your side with palms up.  Knees bend and can rest together with feet as wide as the mat if your low back gets uncomfortable.

Elevated Legs up on Blankets
Props: 2 blankets, neck roll
Benefits: increases circulation helping venous and lymphatic flow, relieve inflammation and swelling in the legs and feet taking weight off of the lower part of the body, quiets the mind, releases tightness in the pelvis.

Fold both blankets in a large rectangle then fold into thirds into long strips, fold in half (as seen in photo). Place lower legs on folded blankets with little wedges for the ankles to reside on.

The Inspiration - Journaling

You may have noticed a change in the air.  Literally, the air seems much drier, crackly.  The shifting winds of the spring season have brought on this change.  We have been aided in the change by the longer days. It is now time to transition.  That may mean different things for different people.  Take a few moments to check in with your own shifting.  Journal about what you are feeling in your mind, body and deeper within your soul as these larger forces are at play.  Are you going with the flow? Or putting on the breaks?  Are you holding onto something?  Reflect with your breath, a walk or some song.


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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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