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February 16 Restore

Planting the Seeds of Healing and Wellbeing
One Restorative Pose at a time

I have a funny story from my very first workshop with my teacher, Jillian Pransky.  I will share with you as you have now experienced her very relaxing cd, Relaxmore  I spent an amazing week with Jillian and 35 other beautiful souls about 7 years ago at the yoga retreat center, Kripalu.   So at the end of the week, we all shared our experiences from the week.  One participant said that he came to the workshop reluctantly and was somewhat coerced into coming by his wife.  But he had no regrets by week's end.  He shared that part of his home relaxation practice was to listen to a relaxation cd nightly.  The surprise to him was that the same cd that he had been listening to was Jillian's Relaxmore one.  He couldn't get over that the serene, peaceful, deeply relaxing voice on the cd was the same Brooklyn girl that he had been listening to all week.  

Here is video from Anita Goa TV when she interviewed Jillian several years ago.  All this rings so true and you, my friends, are experiencing this every week with your restorative practice.  

The Breath
10 Centering 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

Supported Bridge
Props: 4 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow, can also use bolster for more stretch
Extras: blanket for warmth
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)
Stack the blankets two high next to each other (can add or decrease height as necessary). Lay down on the blankets with the shoulders cascading off of the blanket stack. Arrange a neck pillow under the cervical spine and maybe a blanket as a pillow for the head.  Arms extend by your side or in cactus arms for more of a shoulder release.

Low back Pain or uncomfortable - try this version:Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift butt and slide the stack of 2 or 4 blankets under the base of your spine. Find a comfortable position, then let the upper back release on the floor. Arms are relaxed at sides or resting on belly. Feel chest and belly rise with each breath. Roll gently to one side when done and inhale up to seated.

Reclined Bound Angle with Legs Up (Photo version with chair)

Props: 2 bolsters, 4 blocks, 4 to 5 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow
Benefits: toning to the kidneys and digestive system, relieves sciatica and varicose veins, opens the front body, chest, lungs, balancing to the nervous system.

Set-up two block at varying height and lay one bolster vertically on the block. If using a chair, set up the chair opposite the bolster with room for the hips between. If using a bolster, create identical set up opposite the bolster.  Add a blanket roll to support the lumbar spine at the base of the first bolster and a neck roll and/or pillow for neck and head.  Extra blankets can be used to support arms and as a bit of weight in the pelvic area for better release.  The chair version has an additional blanket on the legs.  Stay for 10 to 30 minutes adjusting if necessary.


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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.
Props: bolster, 1-2 blankets, block Sit on a folded blanket and extend legs out in front of you. Place bolster lengthwise along the legs adding a blanket or block to top as headrest. Lay your upper body on bolster and rest your forehead on blanket or block. Arms can drape on bolster, along side or any other comfortable position. 

Bridge Pose - Supported
Props:4 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow, can also use bolster for more stretch Extras: blanket for warmth Benefits: Expands the chest muscles, opens the lungs, balances the glands, quiets the nerves and releases tension in the nervous system, increases ox…

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