All about Savasana

Ill kick the “All about the Asanas” section off with the best pose ever & I really don’t like to play favorites. Savasana. Corpse Pose. The pose of the freaking corpse. Yep. Dead man’s asana. Mwaha. Supine anatomical position, guys. Guess what your job is here? To lay on the ground and let go of all of your shit. Let go of muscle engagement, effort in breath. Just surrender to your parasympathetic nervous system, yogis, thats right.

During the “yin postures” of our yoga practice we stretch & release parts of our body creating space. Then during the “yang postures” of practice, we generate heat to move qi & nutrients. At the end of your practice while your sprawled out comfortably in savasana, after the heat has been generated & the space has been made, by fully disengaging your body, you become a vessel for free flowing energy to move to the space it needs to go for repair.

When we engage a muscle, energy will flow to it. Healing energy, yes, but also freshly released stressful energy. During your yin & yang asana practice, avoid sending freshly released stress to other areas of your body by breathing deeply into your posture. In savasana, by fully letting go, we surrender to our parasympathetic nervous system. In doing so, our circulatory system, chakras, & meridians can begin performing uninhibited work to distribute healing energy to places that IT needs to go for nourishment & freshly released toxic energy to where IT need to go for removal.

That’s why we call the parasympathetic nervous system “rest & digest.” Right? Why cant you go swimming or running immediately after a meal? Because you need to sit down and rest in order for your parasympathetic nervous system to turn on & for digestion to begin. If you don’t chillax after eating then your nutrients will miss the train to their desired destination.

Even on the acupuncture table, lying in stillness is key to activating the instruction manuals that exist within such a small energy point in your body.

Our body is an intelligent functioning machine. Its collective goal is to perform one task, homeostatic health, When we learn to support it & provide the right tools, it knows how to do its job. From the ripe age of -9 months, your DNA begins building your perfect version of a human body. During your entire life, your DNA holds those same blueprints. When we disengage & surrender to our physical body’s natural ability to do its job, we are honoring our dna & the natural process of healing.

Are their meditational aspects of savasana? Oh ya. But for now, lets look at understanding the physical aspects of savasana, to be the focal point of THIS meditation. As savasana is indeed an asana, & the asanas exist as a tool to physically prepare our bodies for enlightenment.

Namaste,

Kelly a Bailey

Practice:

The prep for this practice is pretty simple: Generate energy! Run around your house 10 times, do 5 sun salutation, practice some qi gong, chant, sing, dance, hold pigeon pose for 3 minutes, have sex, eat something healthy, garden, whatev! Make it something that serves you.

Settling into your savasana: first set your timer for 5-15 minutes.

Lay in supine position (our your back) with your legs long in front of you & your arms out naturally beside you. Let your toes naturally fall out wide, & your palms open up. If it is more comfortable, you have the option to place a bolster or pillow under your knees. If you have a blanket, fold it twice so there are 4 layers. Rest your head on the folded blanket so the edge remains free from your shoulders. From here, kind of just squeeze the edges of the blanket closer to your head to create a nest. If the nest makes you feel anything other than relaxed, protected, & loved, then remove it & rest your head on the ground.

Focus on disengaging the muscles in your feet & legs first. Feel the weights of your legs on the ground. Now disengage your trunk. First your lower half (hips, abdomen, lumbar) then your upper (upper back, intercostal muscles, shoulders). Now feel your arms & hands let go. Now your neck & head. Release effort in your breath. Release external thoughts & melt into stillness.

When your timer rings, slowly and mindfully begin observing your space & deepening your breath. Slowly invite some movement into your extremities & neck. Take 5 breaths in fetal position on the right side to begin awakening your yang & your sympathetic nervous systems ability to function. Slowly open your eyes.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Cristina Means Bearden @ The Red Fly Studio

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Lumbar Safety & Your Yoga Practice

When we hear someone say “core work” our minds naturally shift to a series of seated crunches involving our “6 pack” muscles. Yogis, let’s not forget about our good friend who we don’t see as often, our low back! As instructors, it’s important to remain aware of guiding a balanced practice. Whether we’re guiding or practicing core, be sure to build posterior as well as anterior core strength. As long as we’re strengthening all sides of our spine evenly, we are engaging in a healing practice.

In the medical setting, low back pain is a common occurrence for patients seeking treatment. I attribute the vast majority of cases to one thing: Sitting on our bums! Even most trauma cases are primarily caused by imbalances in our core muscles from sitting. In our hip flexors, we have a long muscle called the psoas that wraps around the front of our hip flexors from our low back (T12-L5) to the front of our femur. Its action: to flex our hip! That means when we’re seated, our psoas is contracted. When that long muscle becomes shortened and engaged, energy rushes directly to it. When I say “energy” I’m not only referring to your body’s Qi or prana, but also blood cells and emotional responses. Imagine every experience that you have in your work chair or car seat being sent directly to your psoas muscle for storage. It’s no wonder why we see so much tightness and stagnation around our hips!

When you have a muscle tighter than the rest, it will pull your body in the direction of that muscle’s action. In the case of a tight psoas, when someone experiences trauma, their body’s first instinct becomes hip flexion, ultimately compromising the disks in the lumbar spine. If the low back muscles are equally as strong as the psoas, then the lumbar spine becomes supported, drastically reducing the risk for injury. In most cases, safely practicing balanced strength building exercises will even reverse injuries to the low back. Yes light beings, that includes bulging disks and sciatica.

So we’ve established that our goal is to, strengthen all sides of our core evenly and safely. We’ve also established that our psoas needs a little extra love due to the extra stress that it sees. Now lets talk about how to find balance, heal & protect our low backs!

Namaste,

Kelly a Bailey

Practice:

Step 1: Core work.

Try locust pose for those low back muscles. 7 sets, 5 breaths each. So here you will lay in prone position, on your belly with your feel long behind you with your arms at your side, palms down. Basically just rest on your pelvis on the earth and use your low back muscles to lift everything else up toward the sky! Keep your spine long by leaving your gaze down & in front of you then squeezing your thighs together. Continue to roll your shoulders down your back opening through your heart chakra. Oh, & yogis, BREATHE! Between each set, rest or your belly for 5-10 breaths.

For anterior core work, make your way into plank pose. Palms under your shoulders, neck long, tail bone tucked, thoracic spine lifting toward the sky. Without compromising the length of your spine, draw one knee to your nose and hold for 5 breaths. Now switch. Do that 5 times on each side.

Step 2: Yin meditation (the juicy awesomeness).

To release and lengthen the psoas, find supported bridge, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana. First, set your timer somewhere between 3 to 8 minutes. Be gentle at first! Lay in supine position (on your back). Walk your heels to your bum and set your feet on the floor. Lift your hips to place a block or a few pillows under your sacrum. Play with the height of your prop to see what elevation works best for you. From here, turn your palms up, extend your legs out long in front of you & allow your body get heavy. For the next 5 breaths, consciously disengage any muscles that are still holding on. Move into stillness. Once your timer is up, rest in savasana for 3-5 minutes before standing.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Cristina Means Bearden with The Red Fly Studio

Our breath & Mother Earth

The reason breath is stressed so often in yoga is because it really is THAT big of a deal. It is what connects us to this earth and this present life.

With each inhale, Mother Nature is offering up her elements to join our circulatory system and meridians to then be distributed throughout our body. Think O2 & ATP, all the way to the loving vibrations being emitted from the leaves of a plant. Our inhale is literally the grand welcoming party for life and new intention!

With each exhale, we release that which doesn’t serve us. Think CO2, all the way to old emotions that have been stuck in our fascia. We exhale to purge our waste both energetically and physically.

Our inhale is a gift that we receive from mother nature, while our exhale is our gift to give. It is one of our profound symbiotic relationships that we share with mother nature. See, our exhale belongs to the plants. It is their food. In the same way we exhale, plants do too. Except their exhale belongs to us. Our food. They become our breath and our sugar. We become their breath and their soil.

6CO2 + 6H2O <—> C6H12O6 + 6O2

Our profound connection to all things can be seen in every aspect of life. The equation for photosynthesis is just one of them. As we need the plants, they need us, and ultimately we are all one. So understand that each breath we take throughout our day has a purpose and a life to serve. Each inhale that we take is a precious gift that has been given to us by the life that surrounds us.

In addition to recycling the tangible elements in the air, plants can also absorb and transform negative emotional vibrations to positive! Just as we digest food, we digest situational emotions. We take what we need from a situation energetically, then purge what we don’t need. As we release negative emotions from our physical space, we send them into the earth to be recycled and transformed into a new positive vibrations – much like the photosynthetic exchange!

Bottom line, surround yourself with plants guys! They WILL make you happier and healthier. If you are in a work space without plants, buy one for your desk. If you don’t have any in your home, get a few within the walls. Shit, turn your house into a jungle if you want to – that’s what mine is looking like these days. With that being said, lets also practice organization and feng shui in our space! We’ll save that for another post though.

Breathe on and stay present in the abundance that surrounds you.

 

Namaste.

Kelly a Bailey

 

Meditation:

Sit somewhere comfortable with a plant in front of you! If you don’t have one, just begin to envision one. Begin to notice the overall shape of the plant, the colors of the leaves, the texture of the leaves. Notice the stem. Notice where the stem meets the soil. Take a second to make any other observations about the plant. Surrender to this meditation by giving your presence fully to the pant. Now take 7 deep ujaii breaths (through the nose). Filling the belly first on the inhale then the thoracic space. Exhale contracting your lungs, then your belly.

Take a minute of gratitude for this plant and all of mother nature’s abundance; for the fruits they produce to nourish us with precious nutrients. Take a minute of gratitude for your own life and the vibrations that you emit to all that surround you. Take a minute of gratitude for the profound connection that we share with all things.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Cristina Means Bearden with The Red Fly Studio

Introduction

Hello light beings! I’m Kelly.

Within this blog you’ll find random articulations of health, happiness, yoga, and Chinese medicine from yours truly! Please comment and ask any questions that you have. I’ll get back to you! Ultimately, I’m using this blog to share the information that I’ve accumulated through study, experience and observation to anyone who wants that info at their finger tips. Feel free to also share any information in the comments section that would help enlighten me, or other readers. Through knowledge and loving intention is how we’ll make the world greater!

I am not here to sway your decision about a topic or manipulate you into seeing my viewpoint. That’s what the majority of mainstream media is ultimately trying to do. I am here to offer my knowledge, so you can form your own truths as we all move forward on our journey of self-awareness! No, I am not an English or creative writing major. Sorry for the punctuation or sentence structure! I’m a yoga instructor, an acupuncture physician & a lifelong student who is passionate about sharing secrets to health & happiness.

Ultimately I believe that we should take our lives into our own hands by learning as much about our bodies and energy system as we can. Because the mainstream media is controlled by a corrupt medical system, people are provided an unfortunate amount of biased and untrue propaganda about health online. Rather than throwing my hands up out of frustration, I’m here to join my brother and sister bloggers to share my uninhibited truth on our collective quest towards enlightenment!!

Each Post will be set up a little bit like this: I’ll offer you some info on a subject followed by an associated meditation or exercise. You’ll have a chance to not only explore certain ideas through cognition, but also a chance to explore them through practice!

Thanks for your energy and for your commitment to making the world greater! We do that starting with one person – our self!

Peace, Love, and Abundance!

Namaste,

Kelly a Bailey

Meditation:

Set the intention to make your health and happiness a priority. Remain receptive to any information that might serve your life – even if it new or outside of your comfort zone. To grow is to live. As long as we are learning new things and expanding our minds, we’re living!

Set your timer for 5-15 minutes. Lay in savasana. You can place a bolster or pillow underneath your knees if it is more comfortable on your low back. Come to a position where you can disengage your muscles to fully let go. Create a mantra to invite vibrations into your space to bathe in while you meditate. “I invite vibrant health and continual self growth into my life.” Repeat this phrase 10 times. Feel your body get heavy and your mind sink into a state or peace.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Cristina Means Bearden with The Red Fly Studio