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.  Or we go through some traumatic event or longer term hardship causing fatigue and low mood.

During this time, I have come back to doing one to a few restorative yoga poses.  These completely supported poses, that is, no muscle or an energy exerted, give me clarity of mind and less aches in my body!  Staying in one pose or form for 10 minutes or more initiates the “relaxation response” and stimulates the energy centers of the body:  chakras and meridians (nadis). 

Allow yourself time for you. Just 15 minutes to half hour to however long you can, in a private space. You will need a few “props” so you can let all muscular tension/holding go. A sofa or chair cushion or throw pillows and a couple of beach towels or medium blankets.  If you have an eye pillow, it’s always nice to place it over your eyes – from the  bottom of your forehead, draping down. You can also use a washcloth.  If you have an essential oil like lavender, place a few drops in the palms of your hands (rubbing together and inhale) and soles of your feet. 

Here are two suggestions. Sit on a yoga mat or rug, place the cushion right behind your back. Fold the towels so they are small high squares or use throw pillows. 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 or rug in front of a sofa or chair or bed. 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. You can also bring your legs up the wall:  sit very close to the wall with your hip, raise your legs up on the wall.  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, what is going on in your mind and how you feel.  Then just let it go while you are in the poses. If you cannot stop your mind from thinking on the thoughts that arise, perhaps repeat a phrase to yourself over and over.  “I am peace.”

May you be happy. May you be free. May you be grateful. May you be compassionate. May you let go of things that do not serve you. May you have inner peace.  

By Paulette Mancuga

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