Tag Archives: restorative yoga

I Remember Too

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I taught online yoga again tonight.
It is such a blessing to guide these
beautiful beings back home—
back home to their bodies,
back home to their breath,
back home to their mind at peace.
When I teach yoga
I remember why I’m here,
why I exist,
why it’s important to keep going
even when my mind wants to give up…
because when I help my students
find their way home
I remember where my home is too.

When It’s Time

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Up late getting ready.
Big day. Big weekend.
Today I taught three yoga classes.
Tomorrow I’ll teach three classes,
then I’ll lead a five hour training.
I made eye pillows to give the participants,
as well as training manuals
so that they can take the information with them.
I made a kale and quinoa salad
for our working dinner tomorrow.
All in all, it will be a twelve hour day…
Sunday I’ll teach three more classes.
And somehow, somehow,
I am to find the time and stamina
to PACK MY HOUSE
BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO MOVE.
I decided it’s not time to freak out.
Freaking out is an old, outworn habit,
and it really serves no purpose.
Instead, I’m choosing presence.
I’m showing up inside each moment,
clear on what the moment is calling for,
and doing that.
When it’s time to teach, I’ll teach.
When it’s time to eat, I’ll eat.
When it’s time to pack, I’ll pack.
When it’s time to move, I’ll move.
And when it’s time to rest, I’ll rest.
I am so grateful to have been brought to this simple place,
where I no longer need to chastize myself
for what I didn’t do sooner
(that’s hopeless).
In this simple place,
I see what needs to be done,
and I do that.
There is so much peace in the present moment.

Relaxation is for You

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If someone were to tell you
that the quality of your life
depends on your taking time to relax,
would you do it?
Let’s try it and see what happens.
The quality of your life
depends on your taking time to relax.
But don’t take my word for it–
The only way to know for sure
is to give it a try.
Many of us have mastered the art
of rushing about here and there,
trying  to do enough, be enough,
say enough and have enough…
but how many of us have mastered the art
of simply being?
If you feel like you don’t have enough time,
this is definitely a sign that relaxation is for you.
If you are experiencing aches and pains,
whether they are physical, mental, or emotional,
relaxation is for you.
If you are a man, woman, or child,
relaxation is for you.
If you are young or old,
relaxation is for you.
If you are healthy or sick,
relaxation is for you.
Your body knows how to heal itself,
your mind knows how to find center,
and this world is indescribably beautiful.
If you would heal your body,
center your mind,
and take in the world’s indescribable beauty–
relaxation is for you.

NaPoWriMo Day 13: Fortune Cookie Poem

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There was a period of my life during which keeping each and every fortune from my fortune cookies–and those of other people’s cookies–was something I just HAD to do. I collected them in a sandwich bag and saved them for a journal project.  I think I might have gotten out a glue stick one day and started gluing fortunes wherever there was blank space in my journals.  Wait. Who am I kidding?  I still do this.  My husband thinks I’m nuts, so I’ll wait for him to take my son to the bathroom after dinner is over and then I’ll scoop the fortunes off the table and slip them into my wallet; the hubby is none the wiser and I don’t have to explain why my obsession is completely normal. Covert operation. Shhhh.

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt caused a little eruption of my self-diagnosed mild OCD…because I couldn’t remember where I had glued any of the fortunes I kept over the years, and it has been a while since we have been to a Chinese restaurant.  But then I remembered THE INTERNET, and Google searched “fortune cookie images”…and found this gem:

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 8.59.40 PM

Now granted, this would be perfect if only the grammar were correct.  If you don’t know what I mean, then check out this post by Grammar Girl.  I love her.

Anyway…now for a poem with the above sentiment as my inspiration…

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When the world feels heavy on your shoulders
and your body is tense and tight
when your heart rate has increased
preparing you for fight or flight–
sometimes you just need
to lie on the floor.
Get a few blankets, a bolster,
an eye pillow and a few minutes,
and just lie down, right there on the floor.
Play some soft music
and diffuse some
(100% pure,
fair trade, certified organic,
ethically sourced, biodynamic,
therapeutic grade)
essential oil of lavender…
Roll up a blanket and place it under your neck,
roll up another and place that one under your knees,
and just lie down.
Put your eye pillow over your eyes,
stretch out and breathe.
When it seems like the whole world
has gone insane
and you don’t want to join
in that crazy game…
just lie down and breathe friend,
just lie down and breathe.

 

Relaxation is a Necessity

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Raise your hand
if you take time every day
to practice mindful relaxation.
How many of you are raising your hands?
It doesn’t take very long–
just five minutes of mindfulness practice
every day
can have far reaching positive effects
for you and for those around you.
Relaxation is not a luxury–
it is a necessity.
Try this:
Roll up a towel
and place it under your neck.
Roll up a blanket
and place it under your knees.
Put an eye pillow over your eyes
if you have one.
If not,
a hand towel, a soft t-shirt,
a clean sock–
pretty much anything will do.
Lie down supported in this way
for just five minutes.
Practice deep breathing.
If you notice that you are thinking,
say “Thinking,” silently to yourself,
then turn back to your breathing.
Use a timer to keep track of time,
and for five minutes,
breathe and relax.
Try it.
Notice how you feel afterwards.
Acknowledge yourself
for contributing to the atmosphere of peace
in this world.
Relaxation isn’t a luxury–
it is a necessity.

Creating the Space for Being

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Do you know the value of relaxation?

My experience has been
that we all have a good idea
about the importance of relaxation
but very few of us actually take the time
to do it.

Would you take the time to relax
if you knew that your life
depended on it?

Because it does.

Pshaw!
you might say,
My life depending on relaxation?

But it does,
really it does.

Many of us have become
so accustomed to stress
that we have accepted it as the norm.

Because the feelings associated with
stress feel normal, we don’t question them.

We don’t question the tension in the body,
the increased heart rate
the adrenalin coursing through our blood
our compromised immune systems
digestive systems, nervous systems
reproductive systems,
systems of respiration,
circulation,
elimination.

It is time to question it NOW.
Not tomorrow when you have
more time to think about it,
nor the next day when you’ve had more sleep
or eaten a healthier meal
Nor next week when you’ve gone jogging
a few times
nor a year from now when you’ve
landed a more lucrative job.

No, the time to question it is NOW.
There is something you can do
about all of the accumulated stress.
There is something you can do
NOW, today, to restore your body
to a state of harmony and balance.

Take a moment for yourself.
Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothing–
choose clothes that feel like pajamas,
nothing tight or restrictive–
let your body have space for your breath.

Turn off your phone.
Close your door.
Ask that no one disturbs you for at least a few minutes.
(Moms, Dads, and other caregivers,
you  might have to wait until your charges are asleep,
but it’s worth the wait.)

Roll up a towel
and place it under your neck
so that it is gently supported.

Roll up a blanket
and place it under your knees.

Now set your timer for ten or fifteen minutes.

Lie down, supported at your neck and knees,
put something over your eyes.

An eye pillow perhaps,
or a towel,
or a sock,
something to bathe your eyes in darkness,

and just be.
Focus on your breath,
call your awareness back to yourself
if your mind wanders.

Trust in your body’s
amazing capacity to heal itself.
Notice how your heart rate decreases.
Feel the warmth in your body,
the waves of calm washing over you.
Feel the tension melting away,
creating the space for being.

I Have the Best Job in the World

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Feeling blessed.
Twenty three souls
came to restorative yoga tonight.
Twenty three souls
gave me permission to touch them,
to help their bodies let go of tension.
It is an honor and blessing
to be with my students in this way,
to be a witness to their unfolding.

I have the best job in the world.

A Birthday, Restorative Yoga, and a Bike

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We are celebrating my son’s birthday tomorrow.  His actual birthday is on the 26th, but a Saturday celebration worked for the family members who are driving in to town from Westminster.  Tomorrow we’ll pack twelve adults and four children into our little Baltimore home and eat chicken potpie and homemade chocolate cake and sing happy birthday to my sweet boy.  Could life be any more wonderful?

Tonight I taught restorative yoga to eighteen students.  I’m convinced that if I could get every human on the planet to practice this gentle, healing form of yoga, we’d experience world peace in no time.  I made flaxseed and lavender eye pillows for both studios where I teach restorative classes; the eye pillows are an integral part of the restorative practice, blocking out the light, applying gentle pressure to help the eyes to relax, they’re just heavenly.

If you haven’t practiced restorative yoga before, and you’re interested in learning more about it, I recommend you check out Judith Lasater’s book Relax and Renew.  It’s a wonderful book full of information about the practice, and there are many pictures that illustrate the poses and the props used in each one.  Even just a few minutes spent breathing deeply and rhythmically in a restorative pose can elevate your mood,  reduce muscle tension and encourage healthy circulation.  I’m so convinced of the benefits of this practice, I would shout it out to the whole world if I thought people would listen. But I think it’s more effective to just keep teaching the students who come and take care of them as best I can, so that’s what I’ll do.

When I got home from teaching this evening I was happy to see that the little bike we got for my son’s birthday had arrived boxed up via UPS.  I was also pleased to note that it was still on the porch after several hours of sitting in plain sight of anyone who walked down our street.  You just never know in Baltimore.  There are many sweet, kind, and good hearted people, but there is also a lot of crazy effed up stuff that happens too.

I was tired and hungry, but determined to assemble the bike before I did anything else.  Kind of a mistake; the hunger made me a bit fuzzy-brained and I installed the front axle that holds the wheel to the fork upside down.  Correcting that error was none to0 easy because I had to tap the frame against a concrete step with the bike upside down until a bit of the axle slid out, and then I had to extract it the rest of the way with pliers.  After that, I installed the rear wheel lowering kit upside down and was confused when I attempted to spin the wheel and was met with resistance from the mud guard.

Yep, probably should’ve eaten dinner first, but I was persistent, and that counts for something!  I tinkered around with the mounting brackets until I realized my mistake, reinstalled them correctly, applied the fancy stickers, installed the basket and the little bell, and voila!  My son will have a spiffy new balance bike tomorrow at the ripe old age of two.  He’ll most likely drop the bike on its side, sit down next to it,  and ring the bell until everyone wants to scream,  but he might sit astride the thing at some point and ride it.  He showed a lot of interest in his sister’s balance bike last summer, and I’ve been dreaming of presenting the little lad with his very own bike for over six months. I can’t wait to give it to him.  To see his face beaming with excitement–I wouldn’t trade that for all the riches in the world.

Restorative yoga, birthday parties and balance bikes.  Stillness, celebration, and movement.  Isn’t life grand?