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Just Relax

shadow-balance

I like yoga. I have been practicing for about five years. My practice has been a rollercoaster; physical to emotional; student to teacher, strengthening to restorative; and every bit in between and all around. Meditation, breath, chakras, blah, blah, blah.

I am merely on the cusp of the cusp. Yoga is abundant. I often step back to look at the grander picture, acknowledging how little I know; however, even a little of abundant, is a lot. Anyways, I have discovered less is more in many fashions. We constantly push, push, push, go, go, go. We deserve to be gentler with ourselves, so we can restore. Yoga can be modified for anyone to access.

With that being said, here are a few poses to chill out and feel better. Most importantly, make sure you feel good no matter what you are doing. IF A POSE FEELS BAD, COME OUT OF THE POSE. Oh and one more disclaimer; you do not need to be enlightened

 

Breathe– Our fuel for life, the breath.

 

-First and foremost, connect with the breath.

-Come to a comfortable seated position.

-Start by following the breath subtlety pass through the nostrils on inhale, filling the lungs and diaphragm.

-Hold briefly, and then the exhale.

-Play with the breath, elongating the inhale and exhale as long as you can.

 

Wrist Stretch– Battle carpel tunnel. Self massage is beneficial as well.

 

-Clasp your hands together, habitually or not, bringing wrists and elbows together.

-Begin to rotate the hands.

-Reverse the rotation to even out both sides.

-Once complete, release the pose.

-Shake your hands out.

-Clasp hands again.

-Extend your hands in front of you as you begin to straighten your arms.

-You can take your arms overhead if that feels good.

-Release the pose on an exhale

 

Reclined Twist– The sweet stuff, aka; snap, crackle, pop.

twist-page-pix

-Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat

-Arms are out to the sides, like a T

-Slightly lift the hips and move them to the left, still keeping the spine in alignment

-Lift your feet and bring both knees to your right side

-You can always place a few pillows underneath the knees, so the twist is not so deep

-You want both shoulders on floor/mat

-You can:

1) turn your head the opposite direction (your legs are to the right, so turn your head left).

2) bring the left arm alongside the left ear and the right hand to left side ribs, feeling the inhale expand the ribs.

3) do not move at all, keep your arms in a T (out to the sides).

-Once you feel good, bring your arms back to a T.

-Bring your knees back to center

……..

-Now do the opposite side

 

Child’s Pose– Embrace the name, be a kid again.

15511011052010024013-Use carpet, a blanket, or a yoga mat.

-Come to your hands and knees.

-Float back, bringing your chest to the mat and your butt to your heals.

child_9672Modifications are what make yoga so unique. Take care of your body.

-Knees together, Knees apart.

-Arms to the front, Arms to the side.

-Place pillows between the chest and mat/knees.

-Place pillows between the butt and heals.

-Roll your head from side to side if you want a mini massage.

-If your hands are in front, you can walk them from one side to the other, opening side ribs with each breath.

 

Legs up the wall

*Quoting my instructor Ganga White, “Inversions drain stagnant blood from the extremities, tone the internal organ, improve complexion and eyesight, and have many beneficial effects on the mental-emotional system.”

bas_231_opener_sized1

-Place a pillow or yoga mat at the wall.

-With your right hip to the wall, sit on the pillow or mat.

-Once seated, spin on your butt to swing your legs up the wall, reclining on your back (you can place a pillow under your back as well if extra cushion is needed).

-Stay in the pose for 10 breathes, following the inhale and exhale.

-Do 10 more breaths if it feels good.

-Come out of the pose however it is comfortable.

-Either bring the knees to the chest and turn to one side or use the legs to push against the wall to move away.

 

Alternate Nostril Breathing– A connection between left and right brain.

Like Spider-man, but not.

Like Spider-man, but not.

-Bringing your pointer and middle finger to you palm, use the thumb and the ring finger to close off left and right nostril.

ayurvedic-breathing

-Begin by closing off the right nostril and then inhale left.

-At the top of the breath, close both nostrils, and hold the breath briefly.

-Open the right nostril, exhale.

-At the end of the exhale, hold briefly.

-Inhale right.

-At the top of the breath, close both nostrils, and hold the breath briefly.

-Open the left nostril, exhale.

-You have just completed one round.

-Do as many rounds as you like and then return to a new breath.

-Observe everything. Breath, body, mind.

 

Play with meditation– Come to a comfortable seated position. You can use the wall for support if needed.

 

The point of meditation is not to be clear minded the entire time. For me personally, that is impossible. Sometimes it may be more valuable to follow a thought and see where it goes, not controlling its path, or not. The key is to notice when the mind is distracted. Once acknowledged, come back to the breath. Distracted again, come back to the breath. Distracted again, come back to the breath. It can be a vicious cycle; however, the shred of a moment of clarity that may arise, a peace, a calming that you may find, is powerful.

So no matter how crappy life may be, just breathe.

The breath is always a salvation; we just need to embrace it.

 

Namaste (and all that other “hippie” bullshit)

 

P.S- On that note, I recently read an article about Rage Yoga. Yes, it exists and maybe one day I will capitalize on it. Metal music, yelling, screaming, drinking, vulgarity, anger…

Sounds like a good start to my next class outline and yes, BEER!!!

So do not stereotype because somewhere out there, there is a perfect yoga practice for you and by the end of your search, you may discover doing a few poses in front of the T.V for twenty minutes a few nights a week is your practice.

Here is the link to the article if you are interested–

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/03/17/rage-yoga_n_9488318.html

 

-Peace

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