Life is full of ups and downs like the weather, like the sun and the moon. We have darkness and we have lightness. The constant line in life is that there are ups and downs and we ride the curves finding a little peace, a little stillness, and a little balance. These are our moments of bliss. So it may be a matter of your weight fluctuating, your moods shifting, your income rising and falling, so many facets of life rise and fall. How do you ride these waves, these curves? Can you stay steady on your surfboard when the waves crest as well as drop?
|Notice the Warrior stance?|
Take out those journals and whether it be documenting your daily food intake, your moods, the way your physical body feels, your interrelationships, inspiration, or devotions...
Write Daily and Often
Journaling allows people to clarify their thoughts and feelings, thereby, gaining valuable self-knowledge. It's also a good problem solving tool. Journaling about traumatic events helps you process them by fully exploring and releasing the emotions involved and by engaging the hemispheres of the brain in the process, allowing the experience to become fully integrated in one's mind. The health benefits of journaling have been scientifically proven.
- decreases symptoms of asthma, arthritis and other health conditions
- improves cognitive functioning
- strengthens the immune system
- counteracts the negative effects of stress
Steps to Journaling Successfully
- Buy a journal. This may seem simple but what kind of journal you purchase is important. Blank pages versus lined pages or perhaps even journaling on your computer. There are many on-line options. Use your book to reflect your creativity or go with function first.
- Set aside time. One of the most difficult of parts of journaling. It's important to block off about 20 minutes each day to write. Is it the morning you prefer to start you day or in the evening, to wrap up the day. And maybe the only time you have is during a lunch break. Take whatever time you get.
- Begin writing. Don't think about what to say, just begin writing, and the words should come. If you really need help, here are some topics you can begin with:
- dreams, possible purpose in life, childhood memories and feelings surrounding them, where you would like to be in two years, best and worst days of your life, if you could have three wishes, what are you grateful for........
- Write about thoughts and feelings. As you write, just don't vent. Write about your feelings, but also about your thoughts surrounding the emotional events. Relive events, and try to construct solutions and 'find the lesson'.
Keep your journal private. If you are worried that someone else may read it, you may self-censor and you won't achieve the same benefits from writing. Lock away the book or if using a computer, password protect it.
Lastly, some tips for writing:
- Aim to write at the same time each day
- Reread the entries
- Notice patterns in your writing
- Writing for 20 minutes is ideal but if you have only 5 minutes, use it.
- If you skip a day, or 3, just keep writing when you can
- Don't worry about grammar or neatness
- Try not to self-censor, let go of 'shoulds' and just write what comes.
Left Nostril Breathing
Benefits: Left nostril breathing is a very quick and effective way to wind down and get into sleep mode. This is because the left nostril is connected to the right hemisphere of the brain, which can activate the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system counteracts the stress effect, calming you down, slowing heart rate, cooling you down, and increasing digestion. For more information, check out the term "ida" which is the left side of our brain. The opposite is "pingala" the sympathetic nervous system, right side.
Use the thumb or index finger of the right hand to gently close the right nostril. Breathe long and deep for three minutes or until you fall asleep. You can do this sitting or lying down. Lying on your right side will help open the left nostril. I like to allow my tongue to travel to the roof of my mouth in this breath to root my focus on my third eye (middle of the forehead). Also placing my index and middle finger at the third eye assists in activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
Reclined Bound Angle
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 or firm pillows, or rolled-up blankets, one extra blanket for warmth, strap and eye pillow
Set up bolster or firm pillow lengthwise on mat, add neck pillow to top. Place pillows or rolled up blankets on either side to support legs. Recline over bolster or pillow and bring soles of the feet together, with bent knees, open legs to either side. Strap can be added to contain the legs and deepen pose. Place around your midsection and other end goes around edges of feet. Tighten so that legs get a feeling of being held up. Wrap a blanket around your feet to create a feeling of containment. Stay in the pose for 10 to 15 minutes.
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.
Benefits; Nurturing, sense of security, well-supported pose to regulate the nervous system, good for when you are feeling anxious, keeps body in alignment, supportive for the spine, hips, shoulders, head. Allows for optimal healing and sleeping position. nurturing, sense of security, optimal for sleeping
Create a big enough folded blanket to place between the knees to align the legs in Tadasana. Add a folded blanket to rest your top arm on. Recline on a side that is comfortable, resting your head on a blanket. A neck roll can go under the ankles for support. Bolster can rest along spine for further support and grounding. Finally, cover yourself with a blanket from head to toes. Sink down with each long exhalation. Mantra to accompany pose "I am safe, I am supported".
Labels: Journaling, Left Nostril Breathing, Nesting Side-Lying Pose, Reclined Bound Angle, Reclined Twist Pose