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April 5 Restore

Mother Nature is so fickle and stubborn. She won't give up on her tight hold on winter weather.  And now I sit with patience, biding my time until spring erupts in a fury of color, sound and smells.  Actually I don't need to sit very long as I am departing on the second part of the first part of my yoga therapy training (confused yet?).  The first leg of this journey is earning 300 credit hours of learning, study and practicum.  The program was split into two segments of two weeks each, to make it manageable for life. So back to Austin I go.

I am so happy with the program with Inner Peace and look forward to the next two weeks with the various faculty, the facilitators, and of course, my colleagues in-training.  We will be wrapped up in the study of Yoga for Depression, Yoga for Grief Relief, Yoga for Chronic Pain, and Yoga for Cancer.  Intense study aside, we will have time for romping in the hill country of Austin and maybe a night or 
two out on the town.

Looking back on the past three months, I feel that I have been very much engrossed in my studies of yoga therapy.  My case studies will make an excellent learning tool as I go forward.  I am happy about my choice to pursue this certification and also proud of my accomplishments thus far.  I am keen on learning more, applying that knowledge and getting more hands on experience. Finally, I am very grateful to Peter, Zoe, Holly and my parents for their support and love.  My heart also goes out to my students and fellow yoga teachers and friends as well.



The Breath

2 to 1 Breath or Extended Exhale
A basic breath that you can take anywhere when you need to.  Lengthening the exhale kicks the parasympathetic nervous system up a notch, allows more space between thoughts, eliminates more waste and toxins from the body and allows the body to settle more.   Much like the Equal Breath, we use a count to inhale but then we exhale for double that count.  Find a comfortable seat or lay down on the floor, hands can be placed on the belly or wherever they are comfortable.  Begin with the inhale to a count of 2, then exhale for a count of 4.  Slightly constrict your back of throat as you exhale (similar to Ujjayi breath). As you practice and progress in deepening your breath, perhaps the counts will get longer.

Lengthening the exhalation and pausing after the exhalation invokes a feeling of profound quiet and stillness.

The Poses

Supported Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirasana)

Props: bolster, blankets, neck roll

Benefits: Stretches hamstring and back of leg, centering and calming to central nervous system, gently stretches back, mild hip opener.

In the variation that we practiced in class, we placed the bolster upright on short end on our thigh and draped the arms over it letting the fingers and hands relax.  Use blanket support under knee and possibly to sit on to take pressure off of the low back.  Add a neck pillow or other cushioning for the head to rest on.  Stay for up to 5 minutes and switch sides mindfully.  We warmed up some with a flowing Head to Knee pose prior.  Try out the Mental Alternate Nostril Breathing.


Reclined Bound Angle


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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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.
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Bridge Pose - Supported
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