Restore and Replenish
Ultimately, this practice helps “ready and steady” you for success as you return to the world refreshed and more available to handle its opportunities, challenges and stresses.
During this time of year, as nature slows down and takes a quiet breather to restore and replenish, it’s a good time to revisit our daily practices and employ simple yet effective ways to follow mother nature’s wisdom. As nature turns inward, I invite us to do the same.
Heading into the holiday season as well, this can be a time of year that may heighten our nerves and trigger deep emotions. This too makes it an ideal time to implement consistent daily practices to ground ourselves, and help us “settle everything down”.
In this moon’s edition of Soul Notes, we explore the ancient practice of savasana, and a technique called 4-7-8 breathing.
So often in our fast-paced world, we seemingly forget to relax! Even low-level activities which we may be thinking are ways to relax often serve more as a mental distraction, and aren’t truly relaxing at all (watching television news, anyone?)
What if we were to allow ourselves to drop into a state of quiet neutrality, where all of our hurried, harried, frazzled parts can come back together and rest?
Savasana, or “final resting pose”: This asana (posture) is typically reserved for the end of a yoga practice.
After a revving up of the body, nervous system, organs, muscles and blood flow during yoga exercises, savasana serves many blissful purposes, including: reintegration, restoration, and a letting go of any mental chatter, agitation, or “gripping.” It’s an easing into the floor or ground upon which your body is placed – on your back, with legs comfortably apart, arms opened, palms facing upward. Eyes are closed. Breathing is calm, slow, and deep. Savasana is typically done for 5-10 minutes, and may even be done for up to 30 minutes at a time.
By engaging in savasana, you more easily become aware of your breath and your mind state. Ultimately, this practice helps “ready and steady” you for success as you return to the world and all its many challenges, opportunities, and stresses.
Another way to “turn inward” and combat the day to day stresses we all face, is to combine savasana with a 4-7-8-count breathing technique made popular by Dr. Andrew Weil. As with other yogic breathing, it’s best done with your tongue placed up and against the inside of your upper front teeth. 1. Take a slow deep breath in, for a count of four. 2. Hold the breath for a count of seven. 3. Release the breath out for a count of eight. In one session, repeat this 4-7-8 breath cycle four times, to complete “one round”.
Start out breathing at a counting pace that’s comfortable for you, and over time you’ll find yourself being able to slow down your breathing and elongating each count. The sequence, however, remains the same: 4-7-8. In total, a round of four breath cycles takes no more than two minutes, tops!
It will help you relax any time of day. And, it will help you fall asleep. Train yourself to do this to help you get centered, grounded and calm before you react to any stressful situation.
Although savasana is usually done at the end of a full yoga set, I’m inviting us all to try it on its own, as part of our daily practice, especially between now and the end of the year. Both savasana and the 4-7-8 technique have compounding positive effects when done consistently and over the course of several weeks and months.
Savasana and the 4-7-8 breathing technique — each of these practices are whole and complete on their own, and need not be done together. You actually don’t usually see them done in conjunction with one another. I’m suggesting, though, that they make for a powerful combo pack! I invite you to try them together, at least once a day. Do a ten-minute savasana, followed by a four-cycle round of the 4-7-8 breathing.
Both of these practices serve as forms of physical and energetic surrender, in all the best ways. It’s a conscious and powerful choice to grant ourselves devoted time to recharge and receive the bliss that comes with sweet surrender. Look at the image of the child above, so pure, so relaxed…so open to all of life’s joys, triumphs, and love!
For your consideration and “extra credit”:
In addition to doing one savasana daily*:
Several times throughout the day — and especially right before going to sleep – do the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. Remember this practice takes only a minute or two to complete. You will serve you and your overall health and well-being tremendously by doing so!
*For a refresher on daily practices, go here.
Okay, your turn:
What daily practices, if any, have you been doing throughout the course of this year? Have you tried any new ones? Are you open to doing something a little differently throughout the holiday season?
I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!
© 2017 Lori A. Noonan. All rights reserved.