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February 23 Restore

Restorative Resources Online

On a weekly basis I receive these informative emails on various yoga topics.  Here is one 
worth sharing on Restorative Yoga.  I've added the link below if you want to receive
future newsletters (select About Health newsletter).  You may also be able to
pull up this newsletter at the link below to read more.  

Restorative Yoga You Can Do at Home
Starting a yoga home practice (a subject for another day), can be a daunting proposition. But starting a restorative yoga 
home practice is a different story. Fewer poses are held for a longer time, meaning that you only need to know how to do 
a few poses to make it work. Restorative yoga is a wonderful way to release stress and tension, things we'd all like to be rid of.
Ann Pizer
Yoga Expert
6 Classic Restorative Yoga Poses for Home Practice  
In restorative yoga, poses are held for longer periods (often ten minutes or more) with the support of props to allow for deep passive stretching. It's a type of yoga that is very adaptable for a home practice, provided you have the necessary props. If you think you'd like to do a lot of restorative yoga at home, investing in a yoga bolster will be well worth it. 
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Essential Props for a Relaxing Savasana  
Savasana with the right props is a recipe for new levels of relaxation. Add in a yoga nidra soundtrack and you'll emerge feeling like a new (wo)man.
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Yoga Prop Hacks: How to Use Everyday Items as Props  
A bolster may be hard (though not impossible) to replicate at home, but that's not true of other yoga props. You can use household items to replace blocks, blankets, and straps. 
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Meet Your Yoga Block  
After you get your bolster, make a block your next yoga purchase. Blocks are incredibly versatile props for restorative and more active yoga styles. 
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The Breath

Carmen shared a beautiful breathing technique where you breathe in from one place on the body and breathe out through another.  You may decide to breathe in through a place on your body that feels open and out through a place that feel stuck. Or breathe in to a place that has pain or trauma and breathe out through that same place.  Or what if you breathe in the word "Peace" and breathe out "Stress".  Create this moving breath to fit what you need for that day, that moment. The possibilities are endless. 

The Poses

Supine Heart Opener
Benefits: open chest, relax lower back and hips, create better flow of breath, open shoulders
Props: 2-3 blankets

Place one blanket, larger rectangle shape down lengthwise on mat, then another blanket on top but fold over top end to create a pillow for the head and neck. As you recline over the blankets, bring the hips to the floor. Knees bend touching, feet wide on mat.  Stay for at least 5 minutes.

Supported Pigeon's Pose
Props: bolster, blankets
Benefits: gentle hip opener, grounding, aids in digestion, stretches out spine, upper leg, mild stretch in chest wall

Sitting on a blanket, bring one hip next to bolster bending bottom leg so foot rests lightly against upper leg kneecap.  On an inhalation, lengthen upward and on an exhalation, recline over the bolster face down.  Arms drape on either side of the bolster. Add an extra blanket to bolster for more comfort and any other blankets to give a feeling of grounding.  Stay for 5 to 8 minutes and change sides.

Reclined Bound Angle with Swaddling
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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Yoga Therapy News

I am honored to be part of the Center for Integrated Health in Harleysville. I will make my Yoga Therapy debut there and presenting on the Emerging Field of Yoga Therapy and How Does It Benefit Me or Someone I love?

Here are the details for this upcoming informational and practice seminar.

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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…

November 29 Restore

Deep Thoughts not Deep Pockets
Within the past two weeks, I have been a driven Christmas shopper.  I cringe as I think about my credit card bill at month's end. I have savings for but it still will be a jaw dropper.  As I have been gathering gifts for others in my closet and mentally going through the wish lists, I have come to the conclusion that this Christmas has a theme.  Unbeknownst to the people on my gift list, this theme has everything to do with Comfort and Ease.  Without going into the gift list (just in case prying eyes may see this), 99.9% of the gifts that I have bought, could bring some comfort or ease to a person's life.  Think snuggly, warm things.  Or gifts that make a persons life a bit easier.  I didn't intend to go this direction but honestly, maybe it is me that needs some comfort and ease right now.  If I need some, perhaps others do as well.   I am not going down that political road, but there is a lot of unease out there.  Whatever party, candidate, …