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March 4 Restore Series

A Sacral Humbling Tale   - About 4 weeks ago, I injured and overextended my sacral-illiac joint (SI Joint).  This is the area where the sacrum (5 fused vertebrae sit above the tailbone and below the lumbar spine) and the illium (the back crests of the pelvis) join. It has been painful to sit, stand, lay down, do most yoga poses and has affected my mood, teaching and energy level.  I got some relief from a chiropractor who adjusted me and then admonished me for not taking the time to stabilize and heal the area.  In come some of my favorite restoratives (supported bridge pose, surfboard, mountain brook).  A few minutes here and there have eased this chronic painful sensation.  Out goes trying to do all the yoga poses in my classes and just demo and guide the class instead. In comes a humbling experience - a painful reminder to back off and heal. Last week, I could not do a forward bend to save my life. This week, with mindfully bent knees, I can.  I am laying the foundation for a stable, safe body, so I can dance, sing, and celebrate the Spring ahead.

For your very own local dose of Spring and a fun visit to the circus, go to the Peter Becker Flower Show next week.
Dates: March 13th-15th.  See their website for more information.
http://www.peterbeckercommunity.com
It's a coming....signs of Spring


The Breath
Three Part Breath - Dirga Pranayama

This is one of my favorite breaths because I can actually feel the movement of the breath through my body, like a "hands on".  This brings greater breath awareness and it is considered a "complete" breath where the entire lungs are filled up.  I use it to calm me down, center, become more in tune with my physical body.

Can be done either laying down, seated or standing.  Try all three positions. 
Begin the first part of the breath by placing one hand on your belly, the other hand on your heart. Inhale long and deep to the belly. Feel the abdomen press against your palm and fingers with inhale. Keep breathing in to chest so that it rises.  Exhale from heart to belly feeling the chest fall and the belly deflate with the exhale.  Stay for as many breaths as you feel comfortable.  Inhaling from belly to heart and   exhaling from heart to belly.  Feel the connection between the two. The breath may be so deep and full that the complete breath may even be felt to the base of the skull.


The Poses
Therapeutic Spinal Strip

Props: 1 rolled up blanket, lengthwise, 1 blanket double-fold, neck pillow
Benefits: reinvigorates the spine bringing fresh blood and oxygen. With deep breath, can give the effect of a massage on the spine.

Roll a single-fold blanket keeping the roll more on the flatter side.  This becomes your spinal strip.  Lay this strip down on the floor and place a double-folded blanket at one end (Letter T).  Sacrum is on the double-folded blanket and carefully lay the spine and head down on rolled up blanket.  Use a neck pillow in cervical curve.  Arms relax by the sides, palms turned up.  A variation is to have knees together, feet wide apart.  Stay for about 5 -8 minutes.  A nice alternative to the Heart Bench. 

Hip Opener (Minimal Prop)


Props: 2 blankets, neck roll or small pillow for head
Benefits: gently opens hips, lengthens leg muscles and tops of the feet, soothing for the belly, shoulder opener, grounding, lessens anxiety

Stack one or two blankets to the side folded in half. As you release to the floor, lengthen the body and then bend the leg at 90 degree angles to lay on the blankets to the side. Arms can come to goddess position, head turned to the side or stack hands as a pillow.  For those with tight shoulders, extend arms by the sides of the body.  When you need to turn the head, do so with a soft inhalation.

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, 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.


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The Poses

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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