Coming Back to Center

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Each week we are exploring a restorative yoga pose or breathing technique with images/video and tips.  Check in at Lacuna Loft on Wednesdays to anchor your week with peace, grounding + community (and don’t forget to join the dialogue all week long by posting comments).  Excited to journey together!  Namaste!

Restor(y)ing Mind+Body+Soul

It only takes an instant, and I’m in that downward spiral of defensive, protective, complaining, blaming, you name it.  One ‘wrong’ word, one funny look, one disappointment in my day and whoops!, I’m a totally different person.  The cheerful me that got plenty of sleep, a nourishing breakfast, a morning walk, and some doggie lovin’ is now feeling a little more like an angry blowfish with spikes ready to poke whoever is nearby, including my most beloved ones!

With practice though, I’ve learned that this blowfish doesn’t have to have the last word.  In fact, she sometimes doesn’t even need to have a single word.  I can see the spiral beginning and come back to center and find whatever the situation needs – compassion, patience, or clear communication.  First, I learn to notice the feelings that are present and acknowledge them.  The anger, frustration, disappointment, whatever – is there.  No matter the reasons, it’s just okay.  I’m a human.  I have emotional triggers.  I just see it for what it is – an emotion, a reaction, a choice.  What DOES matter is how I’m going to choose to respond to these feelings.  Will this angry she-blowfish get to send pokes out to the people around me?  Or, will I acknowledge my feelings and then choose to come back to who I want to be, who I really am, the joy-peace-compassion-love in all of us? 

Creating the space to CHOOSE how to react (instead of letting my instincts just run the show) takes practice.  It takes a lot of apologizing sometimes, too.  But the space, when created, is magical.  It means I have the power to decide who I want to be and how my life goes – no matter what happens! 

Coming back to center requires knowing I have a center and then practicing finding it – first in calm and then in times of storms.  May this yoga pose, a restorative version of baddha konasana, help you feel your center physically and then find it spiritually and emotionally.  May the time you practice being in your own center give you power to come back to center when the challenges come.  Because they will… and we want to be unshakable.

Ingredients:

  • one couch seat cushion angled up against the wall (use anything stable behind it to prop it up)
  • two smaller pillows or blankets rolled up for each leg

Find yourself a peaceful space with a soft floor – a blanket or carpeting will do.  Prop the couch cushion against the wall using a block or pillow to secure it from falling down to the floor.  Cozy up to the base of the cushion with your seat right at the floor in front of it.  Lean back and allow the cushion to support your back at a comfortable angle for you.

Bend your knees and allow them to fall outward from your body.  Bring the soles of your feet together at your midline.  Place your hands, palms face up, on your legs or knees.  Bring your first finger and thumb together to touch.  Close your eyes and breath deeply through your nose.  With each inhale, feel your breath moving from the soles of your feet up the midline of your body, along your spine, between your eyes, above the crown of your head.  On the exhale, feel your breath move in the same line in reverse.  Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and enjoy feeling your midline, your center.  Trust that this peaceful self is available whenever you need it.  And with the holidays coming and busy end-of-year calendars, you may need it soon!

 

Bonus: this pose is also a great position in which to practice meditation or breathing techniques!