Be Well Be Happy

The sun in summer - intense, irradiant, long in the day – brings to mind its intense energy without which there would be no life here. Our bodies need energy in order to function, which we obtain through the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. The “vital life force” (or “prana”) is the energy that sustains all life. Sometimes the demanding parts of our lives often zap our energy and we find ourselves out of fuel with still more to do.

I try to separate my work day with my evening by doing one to a few restorative yoga poses. I am always astounded as to how these completely supported poses, that is, no muscle or any energy exerted, gives me clarity of mind and less aches in my body.    

There are two ways to do them. One, you can allow yourself time for you. Just a half hour to however long you can, in a private space. Or, you can do them while with family members, etc., if you have a lot going on. Let’s say you all watch a movie together, or have that kind of time at home. Easily, you can do the poses and I assure you it’s better than sitting on the sofa. If you can have your own private time for a half-hour – think about it – one half-hour in 24 – when you can simply focus on your breath - you will also benefit in the “stress” category. Here are two suggestions.

You will need a few “props” so you can let all muscular tension/holding go, like a sofa or chair cushion and a few blankets. Don’t let this hold you back; we all have “stuff” around to use and once you do it a couple of times, you will find exactly what you need around your home.

Sit on a yoga mat or rug, place the cushion right behind your back. Fold the blankets so they are small high squares. Lie back on the cushion, arms out to the side, bring the soles of the feet together so your knees are winged out to either side, place the folded blankets under your thighs for support. Relax. Close your eyes. Focus on the breath – breathing in and breathing out. Stay for as long as you like. You will create space in the breathing cavity of the body and open the heart. 

Second, lie on the mat in front of a sofa or chair. Move hips towards the bottom of the sofa; raise legs up and rest knees, calves, ankles, feet onto the sofa or chair so your calves resting on the sofa or chair are at a right angle to the floor. Place a rolled blanket or pillow under your neck. Place arms out to the side. Relax. Focus on the breath. You will reduce fatigue in the legs and rejuvenate the mind.

Whatever you do, tune in to how your body feels. Learning to tune in will give you confirmation to make decisions about what you can and cannot do in any exercise regimen, sports activity and yoga practice. 

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