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May 20 Restore Series

Picture this...the way a driveway glistens after a rainfall, the somewhat random mowing pattern of my neighbor, which created a mosaic on his lawn, or how each bird call outside my window is not so random and done with intention.  I have been noticing the little things in my life this week and each of these discoveries leaves me with a fresh revitalizing feeling.  Sort of that "Ahaa" moment that one may get when they learn something new and it resonates with them.  The only connection between these examples is that my perception both outward and inward has been awakened.

I am glad for this awakening, as it brings me more to the present.  This spring, I have been suffering from the "OMG, is it really the end of May already - Memorial Day!!".  I have felt lost in the warp speed of the days passing.  And I have physically lost a few items, a watch, my glasses and a substantial check.  Not a coincidence!  I am speeding through my days in pace with how fast the days are flying by.

Driveway view, ✓; lawn pattern made from mowing, ✓; sound of the birds calling, ✓; deep breath, ✓, 

The Breathe (Yoga Journal, February 2012)
Breath for Present Moment
Inhale for count of 6 and exhale for count of 6. Continue for at least 2 minutes then return to your natural breath.
Breath to Uplift and Revitalize Your Mind
Inhale for count of 6, retain the breath for count of 3 and exhale for count of 6 and retain the breath for count of 3.
Breath to Activate the Relaxation Response
Inhale for count of 6, retain for count of 3 and exhale for count of 9, retain the breath for count of 3.

The Poses
Chest and Belly Pose
Props: 2 blankets
Benefits: gently stretches chest, legs, tops of feet, grounding for the mind, belly gets gentle massage, reconnect with flow of breath, relaxing.

Lay one blanket vertically on your mat and another blanket horizontally on top of the first blanket.  Come to your belly on the floor so that the pelvis is supported by the top blanket and the chest is supported by the bottom blanket, shoulders can hang off.  Open legs wider, relax the pelvis into the floor.  Make a pillow with hands or forearms and rest your head.  Great transitional pose. Rest for 5 minutes or more.

Reclined 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. 

Legs up Variation
Props: 2 blocks, 3 blankets, neck rolls
Benefits: Supportive, releasing pose for legs, feet, pelvis. Spinal realignment. Helps legs drain of fluid and promotes circulation.

Set two blocks at end of your mat at whatever height you want. Make a flat roll our of one blanket and place on top of the blocks so it doesn't roll off.  The two blankets will stack in front of the blocks (calves rest here), adding any neck rolls or adjustments to support the entire lower leg through to the knees. Rest feet and legs on the supports and arms come to a comfortable distance by your side. Perfect for savasana and instant relaxation.


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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.
Props: bolster, 1-2 blankets, block Sit on a folded blanket and extend legs out in front of you. Place bolster lengthwise along the legs adding a blanket or block to top as headrest. Lay your upper body on bolster and rest your forehead on blanket or block. Arms can drape on bolster, along side or any other comfortable position. 

Bridge Pose - Supported
Props:4 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow, can also use bolster for more stretch Extras: blanket for warmth Benefits: Expands the chest muscles, opens the lungs, balances the glands, quiets the nerves and releases tension in the nervous system, increases ox…

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