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February 28 Restore

I am so so glad to be back in the swing of things this week.  Last week, I had a family emergency, that put my life as I knew it "on hold".  But now that I look back on it, life really was not "on hold" at all.  Life happens and that includes family emergencies.  I think my yoga practice helped me realize this enough, that I appreciated the time that I had supporting my family in this emergency.  My yoga practice most recently has been less about the physical and more about mindfulness, meditation and inspiration.  I still move, dance, rock it out while making that a smaller percentage of my practice.

OM
A Meditation
My friend and colleague, Jenny Lee, shared with me and the world an introduction to meditation that I have been practicing lately.  I now want to pass this on to you as my gift.  She is an excellent instructor and everything that she does is from the heart.  Begin with 5 minutes in the meditation practice, staying focused, present on just that time.  Check it out...

https://jennieleeyogatherapy.com

A Book Review
The second gift that I want to share with you is a review of the book, Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett.  I have been listening to this book on CD in my car whenever I get the opportunity.  I recommend the audio book so you can hear some of the personal interviews.   Krista's insights are timely for the state of our world, our lives.  She weaves in the stories told by her guests into her own reflections.  It is quite contemplative and each morsel brings me closer to myself and to others in our humaness.  She guides and invites you to delve deeper into Words, Flesh, Love, Faith, and Hope.  More than once, I have mentally bookmarked chapters to return to for further study.  A study in myself and the world around me.  This book seems so closely aligned with the Yoga Sutra 1.0, "With humility (an open heart and mind), I begin my sacred study of Yoga."

The Poses
Side Lean with Extended Legs

Props: bolster or 2 or 3 pillows or blankets
Benefits: Stretches the torso and provides a gentle twist which allows a release in tension in the lower back area.

Place bolster or the 2 or 3 blankets or pillows horizontally on your mat or floor. Lie on right side with hip at the base of the blankets or pillows.  Torso should rest on the stack.  Right arm rest on the floor with the palm up.  The left arm can reach over the head to increase the stretch.  Close your eyes and allow your body to relax and release any stress or tension. Slowly sit up and switch sides for the same amount of time.
Focus on your breath.  Breath into your right side allowing that gentle stretch to travel from the tip of your fingers down your lower spine.  Sense the left side of your body gently melting and surrendering to the ground beneath you.  All tension and stress being recycled by mother earth.  Sense the gentle letting go of your muscles and knowing that you are safe and supported.  Breath deep and exhale soft and long.

Wide Angle Forward Fold
Props: bolster, two blocks, 4 or more blankets, neck roll (optional)
Benefits: releases the pelvis which can help release tension in the buttocks, hips, belly and lower back.  Quiets the organs of digestion and elimination. Opens lower back area. As head rests on bolster, releases tension in frontalis where we hold stress in contracted state. Cooling and calming to overall body.
Depending upon the length of your torso, you may or may not need the blocks under the bolster.  A double-folded blanket folded over one more time adds height and comfort.  Place as many of these as you need on top of the bolster. Cushions and pillows are also good.  You will straddle the props bringing them in as close to your body as possible to support you as you forward fold.  Forehead can be resting on a neck pillow or turn side to side on props. Arms can be by sides of props, resting on legs or if using blocks under the props.  To lesson any strain in the lower back, sit on a single or double-fold blanket.  Stay for 20 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.
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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