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February 3 Restore

5 Minutes of Peace
Our household has grown to two cats.  Oreo and Maxine have not been the best of friends since Oreo's arrival 3 weeks ago but we feel that even these 5 minutes of peaceful coexistence is enough.  Enough to actually feel that it will work out okay for all parties.

Something else that doesn't come easy is practicing compassion for ourselves.  We are hard on ourselves and less forgiving for our transgressions. I think that if we are ultimately loving toward ourselves, we can be genuinely loving toward others with a completely open heart.  


What if you set your intention for the day with some of the Metta Meditations below?  Try these out, and possibly journal about how your day went, what was your relationship with yourself, others?  Write a meditation on a stick note and place it on your mirror for an extra reminder to be kind to yourself.  Love Ya!


This won't come easy to practice love and kindness to others and to self, but the key word is Practice.  First thing in the morning, set your intention to practice Metta Karuna.  Some of the following verses may help you in this endeavor.



Waking this morning, I smile
A brand new day is before me.
I aspire to live each moment mindfully.
And to look upon all beings
with the eyes of kindness and compassion.
May you, and all other beings, be happy and 
free from suffering.

Or meditate and reflect upon your heat, acknowledge how it feels (open/closed, receptive/defensive). Repeat this Metta verse.



May I be happy
May I be peaceful
May I be safe from harm
May I enjoy happiness and the root of happiness
May I experience ease and wellbeing in my mind, body and spirit

And after your asana/yoga practice, sit quietly and send affirmations to your heart, someone close to you, someone you have difficulty with, all beings everywhere.


May I/you be protected and safe
May I/you be healthy and strong
May I/you be happy and at ease
May I/you care for myself/yourself wisely




May I/you be at peace

The Breath

Sitali, the Cooling Breath
This yogic breath will help calm the mind and soothe the emotions such as anger, anxiety and frustration. Also good for fevers or when you feel overheated. Will give you a feeling of contentment. Regulates digestive and sexual energy and detoxifies.
Open mouth and curl your tongue like a taco. 
INHALE through the curled tongue. Close mouth and EXHALE through the nostrils. Continue this cycle.
Sit up with a straight spine on the floor or in a chair. Hands in gyan mudra ( pads of thumb and index finger touching)


Practice this breath for 3 – 11 mins bring contentment into your life.
The Poses


Supported Bridge
Props: 4 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow
Extras: blanket for warmth, strap for legs
Benefits: Expands the chest muscles, opens the lungs, balances the glands, quiets the nerves and releases tension in the nervous system, increases oxygen intake to the brain, can stimulate the immune system (thyroid)

Make two stacks of two double or triple fold blankets on top of each other.  Placed the two stacks end to end. Height and width of blankets can be adjusted for your body.  Sit down straddling one of the stacks and carefully lower yourself down onto forearms, swing your legs on to other stack and lie down. Neck roll is placed at top stack, lower shoulder and head to floor.  Neck is supported by neck roll and head is completely flat on floor with forehead and chin on the same plane.  Arms stretched out to the sides. The stacks of blankets should be long enough for the entire body to be resting on including the feet.  Option to put strap around calves if the legs are rolling outward.  Stay for up to 15 minutes. Roll off blankets slowly and bring knees to chest with some movement.


Supported Forward Fold (or Seated Childs Pose)

Props: bolster, blankets
Benefits: gently stretches the back, hamstrings, ankles. Grounding. May aid in digestions, feel more connected to breath and body and lessen feelings of anxiety.

Fold over one blanket to sit on and slide a bolster or stack of blankets under the legs behind the knee joint. Placing enough blankets on your thighs so that your head is supported with room to breathe through your nose. Bring your arms to a comfortable position. Stay with breath and let your body melt into the supported. 10-15 minutes. Stretch your body anyway that feels good after the pose is complete for you.


Reclined Bound Angle
Version with Legs Straight
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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