This is Bliss - Winter 2005

Welcome to winter my friends. Despite a fall of wind and rain, chilly, chilly days followed oddly by balmy, spring-like days, we have arrived in the dark season of winter. As we move toward colder weather and shorter days, we might very naturally move toward a sense of quiet, hibernation, turning inward, which seems very much in tune with what is going on around us; the trees are barren, the flowers are no longer in bloom, even the squirrels in my neighborhood are all hidden away preserving their energy. And thank goodness for that - my dog, Jasper hates, or shall I say cares very little for squirrels - we can finally walk around the park in peace!

So why, during this time when we feel most like cuddling up with a blanket and a good book, does this traditionally turn into the BUSIEST time of the year??? As we move from Thanksgiving preparations into the shopping frenzy marking the Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa holidays, all the hustling and bustling to find the perfect gift, the food, festivities, and celebrating seem to go against the signs we receive from nature and from ourselves. . .SLOW DOWN, GO INSIDE - not only physically, in-doors, but inside ourselves, preserving our energy, restoring.

So how do we strike the balance between all of the festivities of the holidays and our innate sense to go inside? How do we get through this season in a way that nourishes us and leaves us feeling restored rather than zapped of our energy? Maybe simply start by making the holidays your time, celebrating them with traditions that mean something to you, traditions that bring you a sense of peace and joy so you are filled with those blessings. Even making time to practice yoga J, meditate, read a book, take a long bath - anything that makes you feel good - is a wonderful way to nourish and nurture yourself.

By creating a holiday season that supports your well-being, rather than depletes it, you'll experience more fully the richness of this special time of year. And by nurturing your own self, your own spirit, you become a messenger of light, of peace, and of joy!

QUOTE

Life is a miracle - Thich Nhat Hanh
Peace starts with a smile - Mother Teresa

BEST PRACTICES

If you're tired of shopping and racking your brains for the perfect gift, how about trying your hand at CREATING something unique and special for the unique and special folks in your life? Here are a few suggestions from me, but I bet you can come up with a million more. . .

  • Baking cookies, breads, cakes
  • Knitting or sewing scarves, hats, mittens, sweaters
  • Creating collages or framing a photo
  • Making a donation to charity in the name of the recipient
  • Offer a free service - great time to do "karma yoga" (like babysitting, dogsitting, helping a friend clean, or even simply spending quality time together)

WORDS OF WISDOM

Give me love, give me love, give me peace on earth. . .George Harrison

MEDITATION IDEAS

Check out this page at Yoga Journal for meditation ideas and guidance.

POSE OF THE SEASON

Since it is a great time to renew ourselves, what better time to do a little restorative yoga? When practicing restorative yoga our main focus is on BEING rather than DOING. We are deliberately relaxing ourselves so that we can conserve energy, release tension and stress that accumulate in the body and mind, and restore balance and harmony back into our beings. With support from blankets, pillows, blocks, etc., we are enabling the muscles and the bones to take a break from their everyday jobs of movement and action, thereby encouraging the nervous system to quiet.

(if you have low back, hip, and sacroiliac injuries, please be mindful ? as with any physical/ exercise program you should always consult your doctor before trying a new practice)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose/Goddess Pose - my favorite!!!!!)

For restorative yoga you simply need to have some blankets or pillows or both, a quiet space and a little time to relax deeply.

  • Fold up 2-3 blankets individually so they each form a rectangle about 2 feet wide and 3 feet long.
  • Stack the blankets one on top of the other.
  • Roll the blankets from long side to long side into a nice thick bolster.
  • Sit about 1 or 2 inches in front of the short side of the bolster and lie back on it.
  • Draw the soles of the feet together and let the knees fall out to the sides.
  • Place a pillow under each thigh to support the hips and knees - there should not be any strain on the hips and knees. Prop your knees high enough so they feel like they can release into the pillows without any discomfort.
  • Feel free to place another blanket, folded to make a "pillow", under your head.
  • Rest your hands on your hip points or let the arms drizzle out to the sides and rest on the ground (you can even prop the wrists and hands gently on blankets or pillows).Close your eyes and take rest.
  • Go Deeper
  • Feel your breath very free - lightly rising and falling.
  • Allow yourself to release fully into the support of the bolsters. Feel like you are being held or cradled by the bolsters and by the earth.
  • Release from the tasks of doing and simply BE! Lie here and rest anywhere from 5 -20 minutes, This is a wonderful way to restore the body, mind, and soul, and open up the heart, chest, shoulders and hips without any effort!

Thank you so much for reading the winter issue of this is bliss. Please feel free to share any thoughts, ideas, suggestion, comments. And certainly feel free to pass this along to anyone else you think might enjoy reading it. If you would like to be removed from the mailing list, please email and let me know.

Holiday Blessings!
Beth

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