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April 21 Restore Series

I am not even going to comment on this weather. Not going there, no way, no how.  Okay, just a short commentary. I am going through a process of rethinking about our current cool weather.  Maybe we are not "owed" a spring of warmer weather.   I am trying to get out of the prevalent mindset of disgust at Mother Nature.  Now this may not be the case for those that their income relies on a warmer spring. The farmer, the landscaper, the carpenter, etc. may all need a normal spring for their livelihood. I've planted my vegetable garden (at least the cold weather plants) but my income does not hinge on getting the produce to market.  

But like anything there are cycles, ups and downs, and roller coaster rides.  We make plans to weather out the turns and twists.  We strive to find balance in what is thrown our way.  Where can you find your balance as you grab your winter coat for a few more days.  Maybe a walk outside, bundled up, to appreciate how nature is coping with the colder winds. What do the tulips do?  What about the birds?  Maybe this is the break you need to spend some time indoors to finish a winter project or read that book.  Find your own way to balance.

The Breath
10 Breaths

10 beautiful breaths brings you to the present, the here and now.  A great way to transition in a yoga class, or anytime in your life where a little space is needed before moving onto the next thing. 10 long inhalations, 10 long exhalations.  Feel your body expand with the breath in and feel it release and become centered.

The Poses
Surfboard

Props: blankets, including one for warmth, stuffed animals or eye bags for hands
Benefits: gently stretches the lumbar spine and para spinal muscles, and gives a release in the diaphragm, quiets the mind and comforting. Gives a sense of security.  

2 bolster fold blanket placed lengthwise on mat on top of each other. One blanket at end of mat for ankle support. Make roll for ankle support. Rest of that blanket fills in gap where shin does not meet the floor. Make sure no blanket is on knee. This supports the knee in the pose.  Top bolster folded blanket roll towards you in a wider roll to fit in chest and shoulder area. One more blanket folded so that its height is the same as the two bolster folded blankets. Come to all fours straddling the props, release to forearms and then fully recline on props.  Ankles rest on small roll at end of mat, shins supported by the rest of that blanket. Rest the rest of your body at hip crease on the bolster fold blankets and lay chest on wider roll of top blanket. Head rests on additional blanket at top, turned to the side. Arms come out to the sides, releasing shoulders down the back and away from the ears. Placing an eye pillow or stuffed animal in palms as they face floor is very grounding and comfortable. Additional blankets for pillows tucked in as needed with student to create boundaries or make more comfortable.
New Version includes laying tops of ankles over padded blocks for further draining of the legs.

Legs up Variation (with bolsters)
Props: 2 bolsters, 1-2 blankets, neck roll
Benefits: drains fluid from the legs, releases pelvic floor, chest and shoulder opener, back of legs get a gentle stretch


Place one bolster horizontally on mat (for the knees) and one vertically (for the feet, ankes and lower legs). Arrange a triple-folded blanket horizontally (lumbar and thoracic spine area). Recline legs over the bolsters and lower the upper body on the blanket. Adjust so that the tips of the shoulder blades are right above the blanket. Add neck pillow under neck and move arms to Goddess position if comfortable for  your shoulders. Otherwise, they can go by your side or stack hands on top of your belly.  10 to 15 minutes, dropping the weight of your body on the exhalations.


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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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