Body Awareness and Yoga
Find comfort in your seated posture:
Begin by sitting on the floor/mat with legs crossed. Notice the tendency for the pelvis to tip backwards creating a rounded back. Place a meditation cushion or blanket under the sitting bones to provide height and allow the knees to be lower than the pelvis. This will promote an upright or slightly forward tipped pelvis.
Now bring your attention to the stacking of the body - shoulders over hips, head square on the shoulders. Breathe and lengthen through the roof of the mouth and crown of the head. Bring your attention again to the sitting bones and up through the body, lengthening the spine as you breathe. Drop the shoulders and relax the jaw and eyes...breathe...fill the lungs from bottom, to middle to top of the lungs and release the air completely. If you are struggling with anxiety, fear or restlessness focus on completing the exhalation by drawing the navel toward the spine. This will release that last bit of breath that tends to stay in the lungs. As a result, the lungs can fill more completely with fresh air - cleansing and revitalizing the body.
Continue breathing and when throughts enter the mind, notice them and return your awareness to the breath. Spend a few minutes each day practicing seated posture and breathing. Know that you are calming the mind and treating the body to released tension and anxiety and replacing it with a sense of peace.
Alternate Nostril Breathing:
What is Nadi shodhana, or the sweet breath?
It's a simple form of alternate nostril breathing. Great for beginning and advanced students. Nadi means channel and refers to the energy pathways through which prana flows. Shodhana means cleansing -- so Nadi Shodhana means channel cleaning.
Calms the mind, soothes anxiety and stress, balances left and right hemispheres, promotes clear thinking
How to do it
Hold your right hand up and curl your index and middle fingers toward your palm. Place your thumb next to your right nostril and your ring finger and pinky by your left.
Close the right nostril by pressing gently against it with your thumb, and inhale through the left nostril. The breath should be slow, steady and full.
Now close the left nostril by pressing gently against it with your ring finger and pinky, and open your right nostril by relaxing your thumb and exhale fully with a slow and steady breath.
Inhale through the right nostril, close it, and then exhale through the left nostril.
That's one complete round of Nadi Shodhana --
Inhale through the left
Exhale through the right
Inhale through the right nostril
Exhale through the left
Begin with 5-10 rounds and add more as you feel ready. Remember to keep your breathing slow, easy and full.
When to do it?
As a mental warm-up before meditation to help calm the mind and put you in the mood.
As part of your centering before beginning an asana or posture routine.
Also try it at times throughout the day. Nadi Shodhana helps control stress and anxiety. If you start to feel stressed out, 10 or so rounds will help calm you down. It also helps soothe anxiety caused by fearful or stressful situations i.e. flying, public speaking.
“[O]ur own bodies are changing every second. Yet we take the body to be our Self; and, speaking in terms of it, we say, “I am hungry” or “I am lame”; “I am black” or “I am white.” These are all just the conditions of the body. We touch the truth when we say, “My body aches,” implying the body belongs to us and that therefore we are not that. (87)”
― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras
“Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.”
― Patanjali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
This pose opens the hips and decompresses the spine- it can be hard on the pelvis and knees. It could aggravate sciatica.
This pose might be for you...or it might not. Listen to the wisdom of the body when choosing to practice a yoga pose. Move out of a pose if it feels too risky or delve further into the pose to increase the intensity of the stretch.
Yin yoga is a meditative stretching practice that targets connective tissue -especially around joints and ligaments. Poses are typically held for several minutes to allow muscles to relax and connective tissue to lengthen.
Saturdays at 8am Uptown Body, Falmouth www.yogacreations.com
There's always more to learn about yoga and in turn, learn about yourself.