Leave a comment

Release, rest, reset

Stress Relief, Restorative Yoga

The trees are almost completely bare this time of the year in the south of Swedish Lapland where I am living at the moment.

More or less totally naked.

I can´t decide if they look dead or just totally cleansed, getting ready for hibernation or cocooning.

Either way, something changed and there is no way denying it.

“Change is the only constant in life” – wise words spoken by dear Heraclitus more than 2500 years ago.

Words so evident once we open our eyes to take in the changes in nature – even if we live in the city there are trees and flowerbeds somewhere to be seen and birds to be heard – breathing in the air which changes it’s temperature and humidity as the seasons travel onwards, looking up at the sun to see where it sits today during our lunch break (if you ain´t taking a lunch break, how about giving that as a gift to yourself starting right now 😉 ?), just sharing space with what is moving around, above and below us.

And yet we are masters at acting as if every day is the same as the day before, simultaneously yearning for the change we don´t see is there already, fearing growing older while we are longing for weekends, vacations or parties ahead.

The change we might want we cannot force, the change we don´t want we cannot push away. But the change which is there constantly – that only constant in life – that very one, is there to be noticed, to carry us towards our focus of mind, our goal or our wish, to allow us to flow with what is towards what is to come.

This time of year that change is more noticeable than ever.

Maybe because nakedness is somewhat scary, almost raw, open, vulnerable and in a way feels cold against the skin underneath the layers we are shedding?

But hey, unless you release what is there  there won´t be any space for what is to come!

And yes, with the risk of sounding like a broken record – “change is the only constant”, so let’s allow ourselves to cocoon a bit, to rest in the nakedness after our shedding, to find that place where we feel warm and supported from the inside, that cozy space which is only yours.

You know, that space where you can re set your clock, find your rhythm and your way of being in this world. Your foundation.

Quite often we find ourselves struck by colds, infections, flu’s and other less pleasant mucus–creating states around this change from fall in to winter, when the element of Metal (the element of the lungs and the large intestine) hands us over to the element of Water (the element of the kidneys and the urinary bladder).

This is again nature’s and our bodies (which are actually one and the same) way of helping us to rid ourselves of what is to be released as well as showing us the importance of taking rest before resetting. So, why work against nature with pushiness just wanting to get through it all?

My favorite Yoga asana for this period is a supported Viparita Karani – also called simply “legs up the wall pose” – for which there are Sanskrit translations called both “upside down seat pose” as well as “reversing attitude”.

All you need is a wall, a floor and a blanket or two (instead of a blanket you can also use towels, a cushion, or a few books for instance).

You start with piling up your blanket/s about 10 cm’s from the wall.

If you have a yoga mat, place your mat first with one of it’s short sides against the wall and then the blankets on top of it.

Now comes the only challenging part of the whole posture (;-)), which is maneuvering your legs up the wall and the lowest part of your buttocks – or to be more exact – your sitting bones against the wall.

One way of doing this, which also happens to be the easiest way, is sitting on the pile of blankets you built with the side of your body facing the wall and then turning 45 degrees to get your legs up the wall and your torso down onto the floor. You might end up sliding away from the wall with your sitting bones at first, or you might not even get to the wall with your sitting bones at all, but not to worry. You can simply use your elbows to walk your body closer to the wall until you are in position.

If you have short hamstrings – the muscles on back of the thighs connecting to the lower back – you might find yourself with your sitting bones not touching the wall but being about 10 – 20 cm’s away. No problem, that is fine for now too.

The only thing that is important is to have your pelvis resting on your blankets or cushion and your lower back feeling supported.

Allow your knees to bend for the weight of the legs to sink in to the pelvis.

Exhale deep, allowing your pelvis to become heavier and heavier with each exhalation. Keep your focus at the crest of the throat while resting in this pose for as long as you’d like.

If you are under time pressure, make sure to give yourself at least 4-5 minutes in Viparita Karani, gently working your way up to 10 or even 15 minutes the coming months when you have the time.

Try elongating the legs and then allowing the knees to bend again, allowing them to sink all the way down to your chest even if you’d like – giving yourself a chance to feel what feels best for you in that moment, long or relaxed legs, as every moment is different and so are you in that moment.

The only constant is change, remember J?

I would recommend doing this pose every day when you feel you need some space for yourself.It is also a great pose to do before retiring to bed in the evenings as well as when you get back home from a busy day or morning.

It can easily be practiced in a hotel room or even a conference room when you are out travelling, or if you have the luxury of your own office why not use a corner there?

To come out of the pose, bend the knees and roll to your right side. Allow all the weight of the body to sink to the right before pushing yourself up gently to a sit.

Observe how you feel and where you want to go from there. This is your moment of reset.

Cecilia Götherström, October 28th 2014

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.