<< BREATH SUGGESTIONS FOR ALL POSES
Begin breathing in through the nose and then slow down the
exhalation through the mouth allowing it to be slower and longer
than you may think you can do, until you are fully empty. Beginning this way will kick start the relaxation process signaling your
body that it is time to slow down. Then watch the breath slow
itself down on its own.
After a minute or so, the breath will find its own equilibrium.
Yes, you may practice ujjayi breath for these poses, but with
only a soft soothing sound, a meditative breath for these restorative poses.
Rather than altering the breath, simply observe the path the
breath travels. Notice if the breath pattern is smooth, if the inhalations and exhalations feel balanced. Observing the breath is
a form of mindfulness, which is a great technique for steadying
When we are sleeping we are not altering the breath, and these
poses are meant to lull us into sleep, so once the tension has been
cleared from the breath, allow it to settle and mimic sleep – your
body will get the hint.
Vicchara is the practice of inquiry, the Sanskrit word nidra
means sleep. The act of asking a question brings us into the present moment. Ask yourself some questions to begin the practice
of inquiry. When engaged in this practice, I recommend a journal
dedicated to sleep and rejuvenation. When practicing vicchara,
don’t be seduced by the desire to jump to an answer. Once we
“know” something, we file it away and are no longer open to new
wisdom. Keep asking! Here are some to get you started...
> How or when did you first experience
> How has your trouble with sleep affected
your relationship to others?
> How has it affected your ability to
achieve your goals?
> What steps are within your control that you
can take to heal your relationship to sleep?
> How can your increased wakeful
hours be best utilized?
> Why do you think that sleep has manifested
itself this way to you specifically?
> How might you see this “problem” as a gift?
This “liability” as an asset?
> Most importantly, what does being
“awake” mean to you?
Sara Elizabeth Ivanhoe has been teaching yoga since 1995 and is an MA Candidate in
Yoga Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University. Her latest project, the Weight Watchers
Starter Kit, will be in stores December 11, 2012. Yoganation.com