Friday, January 27, 2012

Express Relaxation for a Busy Week

This week is one of those nonstop weeks for me.  In addition to my current fantastically full schedule of teaching, working the desk at Karma Kids, and massaging, I'm assisting my wonderful teacher, Jyothi Watanabe, as we take 19 lovely new Thai Yoga Massage Practitioners into the Lotus Palm fold.
So in deference to the extra craziness of the week (and to my body's response to it, which so far includes a chronic headache and my voice disappearing among other things...), I'm keeping this week's blog super short and sweet.

Whether you're relieving stress, a headache, or having trouble quieting down for sleep, here are two surefire ways to help restore your body:

1. Balasana - Child's Pose (also known as Wisdom Pose)

This is my all-time favorite yoga pose!  It can be practiced with the arms extended forward or resting alongside the body.  I prefer the latter, as it really lets my shoulders relax and stop working, but that's not comfortable for everyone.  If your head doesn't comfortably rest on the floor, rest it on a block or a pillow.  The brow line should be in contact with a surface, which is a huge part of the calming, restorative nature of this posture.  Breathe deeply, feeling your belly soften down onto your thighs and your back release.

2. Eye Pillows!

Any number of things can substitute an eye pillow.  Even just a little piece of cloth or some cotton balls soaked in rosewater resting on the eyes can be nice.  The great thing about an eye pillow is it has a little extra weight, encouraging the eyes to completely relax.  It helps to visualize them sinking way back into the sockets, relieving any extra strain or holding on the brow or the tiny muscles around the eyes.

My friend and fabulous restorative yoga teacher, Kelly Brennan, showed me another great way to use an eye pillow during her restorative class at Karma Kids last Tuesday.  Putting the eye pillow just above your eyeballs and across the brow can also be extremely calming.  She doesn't care for having too much weight or pressure against the eyeball, and so this is a great alternative she uses for herself.  I tried it in legs up the wall (pictured) and it felt heavenly!

See if you can take a little time for yourself this week, whether it be 15 minutes resting with a nice eye pillow (or washcloth) across your eyes or brow, or 5 breaths in balasana.  You'll be so glad you did.

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