Monday, November 15, 2010

30 Day Relaxation Challenge - Week 3

Congratulations! You are at the half-way point in this 30 Day Deep Relaxation Challenge.

My hope for you is that by creating a new habit of softness in your breath and body, and by setting your intention (sankalpa) and repeating it to yourself every day, that you will start to feel an opening, an ease in your body and your life. Check back in your journal and see how you were feeling at the beginning of the practice. Then take stock of how you feel now. Note any differences. Note if there are not any differences. Continue to do your homework, claiming 10-15 minutes (or more) each day for 30 days to consciously relax.

For our first week we practiced building breath awareness with Equal Breathing or Sama Vritta Pranayama.  The 2nd week we learned the 3-Part Breath or Dirga Pranayama. This week we will learn one of my favorite breath practices: 2 to 1 Breathing.

2 to 1 Breathing: 2min48sec.

The postures we learned this week are Supported Lumbar Stretch and Supported Side Reclining Twist.

 Supported Lumbar Stretch

To do the Supported Lumbar Stretch, get yourself a felted pad or a firm blanket or even a big towel (like a beach towel) and make a roll that is about a handful for you. Lay down, bend your knees, lift your butt off the floor and come into little bridge pose. Place your roll under you so it is at your waist - center it behind your bellybutton. Now start to lower your seat towards the floor, arching your spine over the roll.  When you settle your seat down to the floor, your back should feel like "Ahhhh" not "Ow, ow, ow." You should not look over arched. Your belly is not raised by the roll under your back. If you are not comfortable, lift your seat (into little bridge again) and make your roll smaller until your back is happy. Sit on the tail of the blanket if you have extra. Conversely, if you feel nothing, you will need to lift your seat into little bridge and make your roll a little bigger. Please click here to view the main post on this pose to see additional pictures and instruction.

Supported Side Reclining Twist

To come into Supported Side Reclining Twist, sit on your shins on the floor with a bolster at your side (next to one thigh). The bolster should extend long-ways away from the body. Let your seat slide off of your legs towards your bolster / blankets so that you are seated with your knees bent and your feet are slightly away from your body, off to one side. Turn the torso so the belly is facing the bolster, place one hand on either side of the bolster, lengthen the spine, then start to lay the body down on the bolster for a side-reclining, supported twist. Head can rest facing either side. Arms can rest in a comfortable position. Take this pose on each side for about the same length of time. Fore more details on this pose click here.

Next week we will learn 2 more poses and a new breath practice. I encourage you to continue to journal your experiences, noticing how you feel, and taking note of any changes in your attitude, mind, body or spirit.

Best of luck relaxing. Enjoy!