Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Day Relaxation Challenge - Week 1

The Art of RelaxationWelcome to your first week of the 30 Day Deep Relaxation Challenge.

The "challenge" part of this class is the homework - you must claim 10-15 minutes (or more) each day for 30 days and consciously relax. We will learn relaxation techniques in class which you can bring home with you including postures, breathwork and meditation. Part of your class fee includes The Art of Relaxation by Deborah Adele. You can use this CD anytime, using any of the practices, throughout this month (and beyond). (If you are not in the challenge but would like to try this practice, click on the image to go to Yoga North's store to buy this CD or click here to buy from CD Baby.)

Before starting this challenge consider taking stock of how you feel in your life right now and then writing it down in a journal. Also, set your sankalpa (intention) by thinking of your deepest desire and phrasing it into a positive statement such as, "I am whole, healthy and happy" or, "I am one with all" or, "May I be happy with what life brings me." Repeat your sankalpa to your self 3 times before your practice and 3 times at the end of your practice to help bring your intention to fruition.

A great way to find relaxation is through the breath. For our first week we practiced building breath awareness with Equal Breathing or Sama Vritta Pranayama. Any time you can bring your awareness to your breath, you can bring your body and mind into balance and calmness. You can practice while you are driving, sitting at the computer, or during a conversation where you find yourself getting upset. Conscious breathing brings a relaxed and focused state of mind. Take long deep breaths, both in and out, relax the belly and breathe. Listen to the instructions for Equal Breathing below.

Equal Breathing: 2min35sec.

The postures we learned this week are Legs on a Chair and Supported Child's Pose.

Legs on a Chair

Sit down in front of a chair or couch with the seat of the chair/couch towards you. Sit with one hip facing your prop. As you start to lay back, you must also swing your legs up and your body around so your bottom is towards the chair. When you are turned tail to the chair, settle your legs onto the chair's seat, making sure they are completely supported from the backs of the knees down to the feet. For a more complete description click here.

Supported Child's Pose

Sit on your shins, knees spread wide around the bolster/pillow-pile in front of you. Lay forward in Child’s Pose resting the body over the bolster. Arms can rest forward or behind, the head should take equal time being turned to each side. Make sure to have enough support under the belly. You don't want any strain in your back. Add props as needed. For a more complete description click here.

In the coming weeks we will learn more poses and more breathwork. I encourage you to journal your experiences starting with how you feel before you start this practice, and then continue journaling as the challenge continues, noticing how you feel, and taking note of any changes in your attitude, mind, body or spirit.

Best of luck relaxing. Enjoy!