Restorative Yoga Series: Breathing
Good day! It's time to dive in to the asanas of Restorative Yoga! If you haven't read the introductory blogs about this important style of yoga and restorative yoga props.The main thing is to remember this is your body, your practice, your time, and only your body knows what it needs. I can definitely help you tune in, so you can hear what it's asking of you and then guide you to the answer.
Let's Get Quiet and Listen
There is so much NOISE! in our world today and we have to work harder than ever to stay steadfast on what is important to us. First, we have to know what it is we need to pay attention to. Listen to your heart, listen to your body. The TV, the email, even I can't tell you what you need. Get quiet with me here and begin to hear your body communicate with you.
Start with the Breath
Doesn't everything always start with the breath? It is the most restorative and centering activity because it is our deepest mechanism for survival. The breath is at the root of life. So let's begin here. In all the following restorative poses you will always focus and begin, return to, and end with, the breath.
- Come inward, blur your focus on the outer world. Turn of any distraction. Now relax your belly and ribs. Put your attention on the movement here. Wow, your body is doing this all without you ever getting involved. Feel how it moves in and out to take care of you. What an intelligent body!
- Begin to take control of the inhale by adding seconds to it. Through your nostrils, inhale for one, two, three additional seconds. What ever feels EASY and comfortable to you. Do not strain your abdomen, ribs, shoulders or neck. Just take in the natural, free air around you. When you've reached a perfect amount of air, notice the pause before you begin the exhalation.
- With the same ease and length of time, release the air through your nostrils. One, two, three...Great job!
- Now return control of the breath back over to your intelligent body. Just keep your attention on the movement of your body, the ease and relaxed sense of breathing going on without your necessary control. Isn't it nice to feel like there are some things that do better when we keep our sticky little hands out of it? I'm talking to you, control freaks. ;)
- Scan your body with your mind. Do you feel more relaxed anywhere? Do you feel tension where you can possibly release it? It's in these quiet moments where I'm listening to my body that I notice my shoulders up in my ears and can finally drop them down. I have no need to protect myself like that in this safe and free space. It's also hard to take vital breaths like this. Where have you found relaxation? Tension you can let go of now?
It Feels So Good!
Repeat this a couple of times and feel the amazing, deep effects of what a simple breath can do. It may be the longest breath you've taken today. Or all week! Go ahead, take another. Listen to your body and when it has had enough breath-work (pranayama) just return control back to the body. Thank goodness your body knows what to do. If only you could listen more carefully more often! Through the practice of Restorative Yoga, that's exactly what you're going to do and it gets easier every day. That pleasant feeling moving through your body right now? Your body is saying "thank you."
Sign up here to join in the blog series! On the way...Restorative Yoga Poses, broken down into bits so you can get on the mat and feel the magic inside your own body. Namaste.