I am here to tell you it feels so good to be back in the saddle again. To me, our class on Tuesday, felt like returning home. I hope that you experienced the same thing whether this is your first restorative class or your 100th. What we were coming back to was the reconnection with ourselves, our home. When we are disconnected, dis-ease sets in, encompassing our bodies, minds and our spirit.
We tend to self-identify externally by stating, "We are this and we are that." Which then drives us to feeling separate from everything and everybody else. And even our modern communication technology like cell phones don't provide the true connection to ourselves. We use it more and more to "connect" with others, separating ourselves from spending time to go inward. Try turning off your phone or placing it on vibrate for the next 10 to 15 minutes and contemplate the exercises below. Don't fret if even the act of turning the phone off or on vibrate causes some dis-ease!
Your Work, Your Journey
- Reflect upon a time where you felt completely at one with yourself. Maybe you were on a trip, maybe you were walking in nature, perhaps, creating some artwork or cooking. Was it a time that you surrounded yourself with your loved ones?
- Now reflect upon a time where you really felt out of sorts, lost, stressed out, maybe forgetful.
- What did these two types of memories trigger for you in your body (tightness, relaxation, ease)? And where in your body was the sensation?
- What about your breath pattern? Did it change when you thought of the connected version of yourself and how did it change when you were disconnected?
This is all valuable insight as once we recognize patterns in our life of stressors, we can then work to choose to change them if they are not benefitting us. Some of these patterns arise during the restorative practice in the form of sensations in the body, fidgeting, shorter breath, racing thoughts and overall uncomfortableness and even pain. Observe without sticking to the story behind the observation. If that seems impossible, maybe you need to come out of the pose and grab your journal to jot down the awareness. Then try to return to the pose or even a resting position where you can relax for the duration of the pose.
We all have different journeys, different work to do to reconnect and prevent dis-ease. What is the same for all of us is that it is a practice that deep down we all want and desire. Enjoy or with joy!
Breath Awareness - bringing more awareness inside
Come to a comfortable seated position or lying down.
- Bring awareness to the air moving into the nostrils and out of the nostrils. Observe the feeling, the temperature and any other qualities of the air. Observe the air for at least 4 breaths and you can really notice the qualities of the air coming in.
- Next, follow the air coming in the nostrils to the trachea (wind tunnel) and then follow the air out of the body back through the nostrils. Observe any qualities of the air like temperature, sound, pressure, etc.
- Finally folllow the air from the entry of the nostrils down to the lungs and then back out of the lungs through the nostrils. What sensations do you have physically? What is happening with your thoughts and are you feeling anything emotionally?
Supported Heart Opener with knees
Benefits: gently stretches the lower back, nice transition from day to relaxation, good to counteract effects of hunching over a computer all day and lengthens the spine.
Props: 1-2 triple fold blankets or bolster, 2 blocks, 1 blanket, and eye pillow
Place 1-2 triple fold blankets on top of each other lengthwise on your mat. Sit at fringe end of blankets with bent knees. Lower yourself down, laying the spine along the blanket and head at top end. Bend top end of blanket to form a pillow for the head. Place 2 blocks in front of blankets, medium height. Roll one blanket keeping roll flat and place on top of blocks (for the knees). Knees are placed on cushioned blocks, feet either together or straight out.
Revolved Abdominal Twist (grounding)
Reclined Bound Angle
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.
Props: bolster, two blocks, at least 3 blankets, neck roll
Benefits: releases tension in pelvic area, hips, neck, low back. Good for PMS and menopause as the circulation moves
to the reproductive organs, stimulates internal organs. Feeling of containment, security. Good for anxiety to ground yourself.
Place a block lengthwise under one end of a bolster to prop it up on an incline, add another block under bolster for stability. 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 and bring soles of your feet together. Roll up a blanket (longest length). This roll is placed over the feet and then tucked under the legs to support the knees and hips. Add additional blankets or neck pillow for your head to rest on. Place another blanket over you like a poncho and tuck the ends under your arms so that you are swaddled in the blanket. Stay in the pose for 10 to 15 minutes.
Labels: Breath Awareness, Reclined Bound Angle, Revolved Abdominal Twist, Supported Heart Opener with knees