Give Me A Break

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Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.
— Bruce Lee
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It’s been a rough week.  On Tuesday, I flew back from Maryland while Alex stood up there to be with his family. His father continues to be treated for acute pneumonia and we are all hopeful that he will improve. I’m learning to adjust to living without having my partner in crime by my side.  It feels weird but he is exactly where he needs to be right now. My parents are staying with me so I won't be alone and it's like an old school slumber party. Except my dad would much prefer some traditional junk food instead of the “rabbit food” I keep trying to feed him ;)

The last time I did any ‘traditional’ yoga (poses) was right before we left last Friday. Obviously while in Maryland my body was craving a full yoga practice because of the long hours sitting in waiting room chairs but there was no time and honestly, I had to conserve my energy.  As soon as I got back home I couldn’t wait to do yoga but unfortunately my throat started to get that familiar itch and my head started to feel that dull ache that starts whenever I know I’m getting sick. 

One thing that yoga has taught me is to listen to my body and to take the subtle clues it gives me.  So after working a full eight hour day I would come home and do the one pose that shuts me down and allows everything to relax: Shavasana or Corpse Pose.  I prefer the Sankrit word for the pose because it’s just fun to say. Sha-va-sa-na.  Many people find this pose to be one of the hardest poses in yoga because it requires you to just lay down.  That's all.  

As a yoga teacher I get the benefit of observing my students in this final relaxation pose and I can attest to it giving people trouble.  I see folks looking around or fidgeting until they give in and just let go.  It's a beautiful thing to witness...the connection of mind and body.  

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How to Shavasana:

  1. Lie flat on the back with arms resting comfortably along the sides of the body, palms upward. Legs are extended and slightly turned outward; this translates down to the ankles and feet
  2. Close your eyes. Relax the entire brow. Relax the jaw (open mouth slightly) and  let your chin drop down. Become aware of your natural breath and its rhythm.
  3. Do a full body check starting at the top of your head and visualize each part of your body relaxing (head, shoulders, chest, spine, stomach, etc.).
  4. If  your mind is active, count your breaths. Begin at number 27 and count down  to zero. Mentally repeat "I am breathing in 27, I am breathing out 27, I am breathing in 26, I am breathing out 26", etc. Note when the  mind begins to wander and return to the count.
  5. When you are ready to come out of the pose, roll on to your right side in fetal    position, with your knees close to your chest. Place your left hand down and roll yourself up slowly.  Take a few deep inhales and exhales and open your eyes.

After being in this pose for 10-15 minutes I feel rejuvenated and energized.  Sometimes if my neck is really tight, I slowly move my head side to side to release tension. Before you know it, your body completely relaxes and your breathing becomes soft and easy.  The longer you stay in the pose the greater the benefit. 

When you feel stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed and you think that you can’t take one more responsibility put on you, OM the moment for your body and lie down in Shavasana.  It’s OK to give yourself a break every now and then. Allow yourself to not do anything.  Listen to your body, what does it need today?

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