Balasana (Child’s pose) is a beautiful, multi-functional posture that can provide a soothing, nourishing respite from the outer world. Yes, a mini vacation!
It is an asana (posture) that stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles. By having your brain beneath your heart, you receive the benefits of being in an inversion that isn’t too taxing on your shoulders or neck. It relieves back and neck pain when the head and torso are supported. The forward bend of the torso and positioning of the head can trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest and digest” feature of the autonomic nervous system. It can also tone the vagus nerve (which regulates the heart, blood pressure, digestion, etc.). Toning the vagus nerve is becoming a treatment for many issues, such as migraines, Parkinson’s, PTSD, epilepsy, and depression/anxiety to name a few.
Balasana allows you to check in with your body and breath. It’s restful and restorative. It can even be practiced in bed! It’s a wonderful tool to connect with your back body. While in this pose: Tune into your breath. Feel your back body rise with your inhale and lower with your exhale. Follow the breath up and down the spine. After several breaths, shift your attention and awareness to the ribs, feeling them widen with your inhale and soften with the exhale.
You may need to modify this posture for comfort. Or just like other yoga poses, listen to your body, and know when to back off. Here are a few suggestions:
For more information on Balasana (Child’s Pose) click here: https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/child-s-pose
Guest Post by: Robin Shapiro
Qigong, Moving Medicine, is a relaxing and meditative way to improve your health and well-being. Qigong, pronounced chee gung, was designed to be a system of medicine in China, and is comprised of slow moving, graceful forms. The movements of Qigong mimic nature, i.e. animal forms, such as tiger, bear, snake and crane, waving rolling oceans, willow trees and vast skies. The beauty of Qigong is that it can be practiced at many levels and at any age. Qigong forms are appropriate in a seated position, walking, standing, and lying down. Qigong is a beautiful way to un-stick the stuck places within the body, and creates a sense of quiet-mindedness and calm.
An Affirmation for Today
Let Silence Feed Your Soul
I like to practice voluntary simplicity to counter such impulses and make sure nourishment comes at a deep level. It involves intentionally doing only one thing at a time and making sure I am here for it…Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more…Within the organized chaos and complexity of family life and work, with all their demands and responsibilities, frustrations and unsurpassed gifts, there is ample opportunity for choosing simplicity in small ways.
Slowing everything down is a big part of this. Telling my mind and body to stay put with my daughter rather than answering the phone, not reacting to inner impulses to call someone who “needs calling” right in that moment, choosing not to acquire new things on impulse, or even to automatically answer the siren call of magazines or television or movies on the first ring are all ways to simplify one’s life a little…
A commitment to simplicity in the midst of the world is a delicate balancing act. It is always in need of retuning, further inquiry, attention. But I find the notion of voluntary simplicity keeps me mindful of what is important, of an ecology of mind and body and world in which everything is interconnected and every choice has far-reaching consequences. You don’t get to control it all. But choosing simplicity whenever possible adds to life an element of deepest freedom which so easily eludes us, and many opportunities to discover that less may actually be more.”
From: Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994, published by Hyperion, New York, pp. 68 – 70)
In a yoga class, the practice of Yoga Mudra shifts focus from the outward body-centric movements to an inward experience of quiet space. You deepen this inner focus in the Yoga Nidra practice. For many, this may be a first glimpse of a non-enhanced selfie.
To cultivate pratyahara you can:
-Practice the pause a day before clicking “BUY” or a few hours before responding to a text/tweet/email, or a few minutes before ordering dessert.
– Practice keeping your gaze soft, thus adopting an attitude of receptivity instead of a narrow focus which makes you more critical.
-Use breath awareness as an early warning system to nip unwelcome emotions in the bud, by mindfully slowing and deepening your breath when you notice it become tight and shallow.
-Commit to gifting yourself a few minutes a day to sit in silence with your eyes closed, your breath deeply comfortable, and your thoughts positive.
Practicing pratyahara helps you to hear the whispering of your innate intelligence. The more trust you place on your internal guidance, the less external input is needed to feel satisfied in who you are.
Sandi Merrill is an everywoman who stumbled upon yoga 20+ years ago. After some “taste-testing,” she found joy in the Integral Yoga tradition. She is honored and blessed to be able to share the teachings of Sri Swami Satchidananda. Yoga teacher training uplifted her life. Today, she is one of the lead trainers for the Integral Yoga 200-hour Teacher Training when she isn’t globetrotting with her newly retired hubby.
Meditation is not about sitting in a certain position with candles and incense burning in a darkened room. That’s all well and good if that’s your desire, but it’s not necessary. It’s not about seeing flashing colors. It’s not about seeing celestial beings. It’s about being comfortable and listening in your sacred place in however that looks to you. Life will always give us what is needed in the moment we are in. The very core of our true nature is Peace. It is here in one’s sacred place that peace lives silently in the stillness of the mind quietly leading the heart along the way. Breath is a meditation with life.