Friday, February 19, 2010

Relax!

There is no doubt about it - Some days I am just grumpy for no apparent reason.  I have rare moments of unexplained giddiness too, but those days are pretty few and far between.  I don't know why I wasn't blessed with a constant flow of effervesence, but what I do know is that yoga makes my world a lot better. 

Just a few days of consistent practice can make a world of difference in my mood.  My favorite practices are ashtanga/vinyasa and restorative yoga.  They are polar opposites, so how can I love both of them so much?

Over time I have learned to listen to my body.  No longer do I subscribe to the "no pain, no gain" mantra.  Sure, you have to learn the difference between laziness and fatigue, but some days the energy to get through a strenuous ashtanga or vinyasa sequence simply isn't available. 

On those low energy, high agitation days, I can replenish my reserves by allowing myself be supported in 7 to 8 restorative postures accompanied by soothing, hypnotic music like Shamanic Dream

To have a restorative practice at home you will need to invest in just a few props such as a bolster, a strap, a couple of yoga blankets, a candle, and a CD player or iPod for soothing tunes.  If you want to go a step further in your restorative zone, add essential oil with a diffuser and an eye pillow to your list. 

Go to Yoga Journal's list of restorative postures to get started.  The beauty of restorative yoga is that you only need a few postures.  Pick a pose, like supta baddha konasana and get comfortable for 15 - 20 minutes.  Allow the props and floor to support you, letting all of your worries go as you focus on the sweet simplicity of your breath.

The most difficult part of this practice is letting go and giving yourself permission to just be for 60 to 90 minutes.  Once I got the hang of that I could kiss my grumpy ass goodbye because afterwards it's all about the bliss.

Tip:  Sunday nights are a really good time for this practice.  End the weekend and start the new week on a nice, relaxed note.  It's also the perfect practice for "that time of the month" when you need to recoup your energy rather than expend it.

Namaste.

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