April 18 Restore
Everywhere that I look is celebration. Within our domestic household, we celebrated Easter and rebirth and then a few days later my youngest made her turn into a teenager. Outside, I see all kinds of celebration with the very Irish green grass growing at an alarming rate and the nodding tulips hiding their true colors in the morning, but sharing these spectacular hues by afternoon. The birds add their own celebratory sounds to the backdrop of my days. I relish in these delights as I set my feet onto the earth and my hands in the dirt, walking along my path. These awarenesses fuel my creative impulses but I sense that I can't stay focused on one endeavor at a time. I want to be the growing grass, the budding flower, the exultant bird and lit upon each and every opportunity for growth and creativity.
Hence, another reason why my restorative practice is important to me - grounding practices will sustain me in this highly creative time. For me, it is like a resetting of being, reserving energy to fuel my inspirations, and then have the fortitude to focus on each step in the journey.
If you are experiencing anything similar, come back to these poses. The Burrito is very grounding and a good way to decompress.
Up the Mountain Breath
From a seated or supine position, use the image of a mountain (a vertical upside down V) to imagine climbing up the mountain in 3 stages, pausing at the top to take in the view and then taking the express down the other side of the mountain.
Inhale 1/3 of the way, then 2/3, finally a full complete breath to reach the vista at the top of your mountain. Retain the breath for as long as you are comfortable, taking in the view at the top and when ready to exhale, let the air out in one long smooth exhalation. Give yourself several rounds to practice and once you have a rhythm, give it at least 4 more cycles of breath.
Props: 1 blanket, add more for comfort under belly
Benefits: very grounding, useful for checking in on yourself, stretches pectoral muscles, front of ankles, brings awareness to the breath, massages the digestive system
Make a long strip with your blanket (folded over maybe 5-6 times until 12" in diameter). Place the strip on your mat or floor. As you come to lie on your belly, the strip should be between the pubic bone and the lower ribs. Filling in any gap between your belly and the floor. Arms or hands stack to form a pillow for your head. Either rest your forehead on your stacked limbs or turn your head to one side. Stay for 5 minutes to decompress or longer, based on your comfort.
Side Lean ( Minimal Props)
Props: 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 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. Another blanket can be between the legs.
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.
Props: 2 or more blankets, neck rolls, eye pillow
Benefits: soothing to the nervous system, grounding, gentle chest opener, releases the pelvis
Lay a blanket on your mat for extra comfort and warmth, blankets for the arms as well. As you lay down, place your feet towards the corners of your mat and arms about 10-12 inches from your body, palms up. Add your eye pillow, and blanket on top. We adjusted the legs with our Double Dutch for optimal release of tension and proper alignment.