The Beauty of Balasana

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:

  • If it’s difficult to rest your buttocks on your heels, place a folded blanket between the backs of your thighs and your calves.
  • Try spreading knees wider apart. This can prompt a deeper stretch in the hips.
  • Cushion the top of your feet with a blanket or fold your mat for padding under feet.
  • Support your forehead with a firm pillow, block, or blanket. You can also stack your hands and rest your head on your hands.
  • Extending your arms opens the shoulders and chest.  Doing this makes the pose more active versus restorative. Note: see the featured image in this post. As an alternative, try resting your arms alongside your thighs, palms up, giving your shoulders a well-deserved break.

For more information on Balasana (Child’s Pose) click here:  https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/child-s-pose

 

Moving Meditation

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.

Robin Shapiro, seasoned Qigong Teacher, Keynote Presenter, Holistic Consultant and Author, has been studying and practicing Qigong for almost 35 years. Robin is currently teaching in Belmar, NJ, and has offered classes and workshops in many venues around the US. Her signature Keynote Presentation entitled Healing the Whole Person has been heard by audiences for over 30 years. Robin dedicates herself to guiding people to becoming the best version of themselves. To contact Robin, reach out to her at ubewelltoo@gmail.com

Voluntary Simplicity

“The impulse frequently arises in me to squeeze another this or another that into this moment. Just this phone call, just stopping off here. Never mind that it might be in the opposite direction.

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)

Feeling overloaded?

Meditation Moment

 

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.

Mindful Moment

“When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly.”

~Patrick Overton
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