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November 4 Restore Series

Yes it is the month of Gratitude according to the Hallmark cards and online reminders but we all know that Gratitude has no season.  It is everyday that we are alive.  Keeping this in mind, may put our troubles in perspective, our hearts to open a bit more and be more at ease.  Sharing the love people.

Gratitude Meditation with Breath

Sit comfortably. Close your eyes and, for a few moments, focus on the gentle movement of your breath.
Then begin pausing briefly after each inhalation and exhalation.

As you inhale, visualize receiving the elements of your life - experiences, people who have touched you, things you are capable of - with gratitude. Pause after each reflection and take a moment to integrate and appreciate feeling fulfilled by these gifts.

As you exhale, imagine sharing that sense of fulfillment with others. Pause again and imagine others - your family, community, the world at large - receiving your offering with a similar sense of gratitude.

Continue this cycle - inhale/pause, exhale/pause - for several minutes, and then shift your focue back to the subtle movement of your breath before opening your eyes.

The Breath
Breath of Joy - Conduct your own Joy
From standing mountain, inhale and bring arms out in front, continue to inhale as you swing arms horizontally by your side, then continue with inhalation as you again swing arms out front, finally exhale as you forward fold and arms come down towards the floor. Repeat at least 6 times and on the final exhale, hang there limply enjoying the energy you just created through breath.  As with any breath, if you begin to feel lightheaded, return to a neutral position and your normal breath.

The Poses
Therapeutic Spinal Strip
Props: 2 blankets, neck roll
Benefits: reinvigorates the spine bringing fresh blood and oxygen. With deep breath, can give the effect of a massage on the spine. Releases muscular tension in tissues surrounding the spine

Open up blanket to mid-size rectangle shaped blanket, fold it over three times, smoothing down the wrinkles.  From a longer rectangle shaped blanket, also fold it over three times, smoothing down wrinkles. Smaller folded blanket goes vertically on your mat with fringe end toward head and longer blanket lays across 1st blanket like a cross (where your bra line would be).  Lay at end of bottom blanket, hips off the blanket, low back on it. Bring bolster either on end or flat as you place your legs over it.  Recline the rest of the way on the strip with longer blanket where your bra line is. Extend arms, palms facing up out to a "T" on blanket.  Use a neck pillow in cervical curve. A variation is to have knees together, feet wide apart.  Stay for about 5 -8 minutes.  A nice alternative to the Heart Bench. 

Revolved Abdominal Twist
Props: bolster, 3 blankets, 1 extra blanket for warmth and or laying on lower back to ground
Benefits: Gentle twist for the spine (quadratus lumborom) Releases stress on the back muscles and a stretch to the intercostal muscles. As muscles relax, breathing is enhanced.

Set one bolster lengthwise on your mat.  Depending upon your comfort, height can be elevated with blocks under bolster. Lay one blanket on top double-fold and one double-fold at end of bolster where your right hip will go. Sit next to bolster with your right hip touching it, bend knees, left or top ankle can lay in arch of right foot or other comfortable position for feet. For added comfort, place blanket between legs. Lengthen body over bolster, laying bent legs in one directions and upper body facing down on bolster. Arms drape down sides of the bolster.

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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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