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April 13 Restore Series

My head feels like a ping pong game.  This is my vata being off balance.  My dosha is normally very spacious giving me room to be present and take inspiration from all around me. Not so much right now. My mind still creates but instead of inspiration, it causes me perspiration.  Did I say my Dosha was off?  Is a Dosha akin to my mojo?  I suppose so, in whatever language/belief you may have, something is off balance.  

I recently attended the first of 4 weekend trainings to be a Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist at Moon Dog Yoga in Quakertown.  I have been introduced to Ayurveda previously but this in depth look at the science of life, has my head reeling.  Overall, I believe I get it but connecting the dots especially when you throw in more than a few sanskrit words, isn't happening.  Then I pause, take a breath, allow a moment of stillness to reside in me, and give myself a break.  Easy peeze, right?  

Dinahcharya - not Dinah Shore

I've begun to add a few more Ayurvedic routines into my day.  5:30 a.m. My day begins with an intention for the day right from my very own bed.  I first splash my face with cold water 6 times (not sure if Ayurvedic but it wakes me up and seems to reduce any puffiness). I then move on to scraping my tongue to remove Ama "Scraping the tongue daily removes any build-up on the tongue, which, if left untreated, can lead to bad breath and may house a significant number of bacteria. This simple practice is a direct way of removing Ama from your physiology. In Ayurveda, Ama refers to any accumulation of toxic residue in the mind-body. This can result from improper eating, poor digestion, or a reflection of an imbalance somewhere in the gastrointestinal system."
and gargle with warm sesame oil.  So far so good. The neti pot is next on my routine,  usual for this well-pollinated time of year.  More sesame oil to coat just inside my nostrils.   The blip in this routine happens when I need to drink a warm glass of water with lemon in it.  I need to go down to the kitchen and boil water, cut lemons and then wait for the water to cool down.  The water with lemon is used to support elimination and can trigger peristalsis .  By the time, the water is ready, I am so over needing it.  A yoga practice and meditation follows the purging.  If it is a bath day for me, add dry brushing,  oiling the skin from head to toe, waiting for the oil to absorb and then my shower.  Whew, that is a full load.  (Abyhanga)

10:00 p.m. The evening routine is much more manageable and enjoyable for me. How about a yummy nighty night drink, Rasayana. Raw unpasteurized milk, boiled with cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg and coriander. Add some raw honey after cooled a bit and HEAVEN.  My feet get a lovely lavender oil massage and off I go to dreamland.

So back to the giving myself a break thing. I am trying out these routines and they are not set in stone. What works for me and my life right now?  What works to balance me, keep my mojo/dosha in check.  I want to bring love, light and life to myself. That is my true intention.  Just figuring it out for now folks.  Please google any of the above practices for more information, or send me a comment for further resources. 

The Poses
Supported Reclining Pose
Props: bolster, two blocks, neck roll, at least 5 blankets
Benefits: helps with insomnia, congestion, relieves tension between the shoulder blades and is beneficial for the kidneys. Can help reprogram your nervous system.
Build an incline with the bolster and two blocks, make it sturdy. A smaller rolled up blanket is placed at the lower end of incline to support lumbar spine. One double-folded blanket at top of bolster to lay the head on. And one long-rolled blanket with ends tucked under to support knees and keep legs in place.  Two triple-folded blankets on either side to rest arms on (if arms out to the sides) or two blankets placed on floor just above the shoulders for Goddess arms. 
Sit in front of bolster with tailbone resting on floor. Place rolled up blanket under knees. Lean back on bolster and place head on blanket and your neck roll in cervical curve. Let heels come to the floor (may add blanket for cushioning of heels or even wrap feet for extra comfort and warmth). Arms rest either at side or in Goddess position, palms facing up. Take several long, slow breaths. As you exhale sigh it out and drop the belly to drop onto the pelvis. Stay with the pose anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. 

Childs Pose - Straddle Variation
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.
Props: bolster, 2-4 blankets, may use a chair, if difficult to reach bolster.

Place blanket single-fold on bolster draping down. Legs can stretch through chair or straddle or cross-legged.  Arms placed folded on chair in front of you. Rest forehead on arms. Tilt chin slightly toward your chest.  Close eyes. For comfort or lower back issues, sit on blanket, add rolled up blankets under knees if legs in straddle, or blocks/blankets under knees if cross legged. May add a blanket at sacrum for grounding.

Revolved AbdominalTwist
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.

Starfish Pose (Savasana)
Props: 2 or more blankets, neck rolls, eye pillow
Benefits: soothing to the nervous system, grounding, gentle chest opener,  releases the pelvis

Lay a blanket on  your mat for extra comfort and warmth, blankets for the arms as well.  As you lay down, place your feet towards the corners of your mat and arms about 10-12 inches from your body, palms up. Add your eye pillow, and blanket on top.  We adjusted the legs with our Double Dutch for optimal release through the legs and pelvis.  Try a progressive relaxation, 


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