Monthly Archives: October 2013

Deep rest…

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Deep rest…

Sleep, meditation & deep rest allow us to repair our bodies, to process experience, thought & emotion on a subconscious level, and you can and more on that via the links in the previous post…where I also promised to share the traditional practice of Marmanasthanam Kriya…

So, first take a moment to set the scene, use your yoga mat if you have one…a favourite blanket…soften the lights…draw the curtains…create a space that invites you to lie down…

Come into Savasana…and for now, simply watch your body breathe…no control, no change, no technique…be aware of the physical experience of your breath…where do you feel it moving most strongly in your body…notice the rise & fall of your abdomen, your chest…the cool inhalation and warmer exaltation in the nose & throat…Then shift to the subtler qualities of your breath…its natural flow, pattern, rhythm…Often as we simply connect with the breath as an observer we will find that it slows & deepens without effort…but if you feel very disconnected, you may want to gently encourage yourself to settle into a steady, slow, rhythmic flow of breath…Never force or strain the breath…keep a feeling of freedom & ease…

As you breathe more mindfully begin to create an even flow so that in-breath and out-breath are of equal length…

(If you are pregnant, have high blood pressure or any concern about your ability to do this next step safely, please stay with even flow inhale-exhale with no retention or suspension of breath)

From this even flow, begin to lengthen the natural pauses in the breath so that you retain the inhalation and suspend your breath at the end of the exhalation for equal periods…inhale…hold…exhale…suspend…you might like to use a steady rhythm of 4:4:4:4…this is Sama Vrtti (meaning same waves) or Square Breath…it relaxes the body, calms the mind, promotes tranquility…

To begin Marmanasthanam, bring awareness to your toes…here exhale & tell yourself “my toes are relaxed” as you soften & let go of any tension in the toes…

Continue to move awareness, breathe & release, through the 22 body parts for Marmanasthanam:

toes; feet; lower legs; upper legs; buttocks; pelvis; lower back; abdomen; chest; fingers; hands; lower arms; upper arms; shoulders; neck & throat; mouth & chin; nose & cheeks; ears; eyes; back of head; top of head; centre of forehead

At the forehead, rest as long as you can, start again from the toes, or for even deeper relaxation take youself back down through to your toes in reverse order…

When you are ready to come up from deep rest, release your breath to its own natural flow…and slowly make small movements to reawaken your body…see if your breath is flowing more strongly in one nostril & if so roll onto that side for a few breaths before pushing up to  sitting & close your practice in any way that feels right…if you’re not sure, try hands in prayer position at your heart centre & out loud or silently chant Om three times…

If you have to resume your day quickly, drink a glass of water, or if you have time, sit with a mug of your favourite herbal tea…notice how good it feels to let your body experience silence & stillness…

Rest well & heal

OMx

Sleep my child…You are safe & sound…

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Sleep is a time for healing…any mother will tell you how lack of sleep affects her ability to function coherently, how it leaves her with deep aches and nagging pain because her body has not found the deep rest it needs after a disturbed night with a new baby or a young child who is sick & needs more nighttime parenting…

We all know that sleep deprivation is a torture…

We all know that we *should* get a good night’s sleep…

If you are not sleeping, you likely already know why, and can change your habits, diet, schedule etc to accomodate more time for rest or sleep (ok, you might tell yourself you don’t have time to sleep or rest, but if you really want to, I bet you can find 20 minutes for a deep relaxation – coming soon just for you)…

But what if your child cannot sleep?

Sleep is when the body kicks in with growth hormone and neuropeptides to repair the body and enable growth…it has an impact not only on healthy growth and development but is essential for a robust immune system and emotional equilibrium…

This week, there has been an almighty storm in Southsea, modest by the standards of recent weather events I appreciate, but extraordinary by UK reference, and I am told not dissimilar to monsoon rainfall by those who have been travelling & witnessed such phenomena first-hand (in fact, I missed all this as I was teaching in a basement & so didn’t hear a single thunder clap or see the magnificent lightening that lit the whole landscape)…Anyway, back to the point, it hit just as my husband was getting our eldest son settled into bed, and completely disrupted his sleep that night…so tired that he could barely hold his head up at school the next day, our son was then too wired on that tired energy all parents recognise as the enemy of a peaceful evening…

Bill lay fidgeting, yawning and totally unable to fall asleep…So I revisited my children’s version of Marmanasthanam Kriya (I will post the adult version asap), which I used with him as a toddler on occasion but which we have not needed in a couple of years, so here it is for those nights when you have a restless child who needs some help finding elusive sweet dreams…

Moon & Stars mobile lights in my son's bedroom

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Sleepy Body Bedtime Relaxation – A Marmanasthanam Kriya Adaptation for Children

Have your child lie in bed, preferably on their back and with their arms by their sides.  Ask them to let their body be heavy and their breathing soft.  If you & your child wish, you can also rest one hand on their belly, and ask them to breathe softly so that they feel your hand with their breath, and you can use a light pressure as they breathe out & a gentle lift as they breathe in to emphasise the movement of the breath…

Working through the body from the toes up, tell your child:

“Let your toes be soft and sleepy…Let your feet be soft and sleepy…Let your legs be soft and sleepy… … …”

Continue through the body parts:

…bottom (you can skip this one if your child is in a toilet humour phase and would convulse with laughter), back, belly, chest, fingers, hands, arms, shoulders, neck & throat, mouth & chin, nose & cheeks, ears, eyes, back of head, top of head, middle of forehead…

You can talk through this as many times as you want to…

If you feel that your child is anxious you could also hold their hand (either one) with your thumb pressing gently but firmly into the centre of their palm (where their middle finger would sit if they balled the fingers into a loose fist) as this is a pressure point for releasing anxiety – if you feel drawn to circular movement of the thumb on this point, go with it – don’t fret about how, just remember that this is positive touch, so you want it to feel gentle but firm enough to be confident & reassuring to your child…

Once you feel your child is beginning to relax, just sit quietly a while longer with your hand(s) on their belly &/or the palm of their hand…When you notice that your child is letting their body relax & soften & become heavy, when you feel or hear their breathing slow & deepen, slowly move your hand(s) away and stay close for a few slow, steady, rhythmic breaths of your own…whether you stay with your child until they are completely asleep or leave them to self-settle once relaxed, quietly let them know that you are close by if they need you..

Hopefully, this time to settle your child will have brought you into a quieter, calmer state of mind & being, so don’t rush back to your chores or dive in for a cuppa or a glass of wine, take a few minutes to enjoy some stillness & silence for yourself…

May your house be blessed with rest & healing, deep sleep & the sweetest of dreams…

OMx

P.S.  If you want a new lullaby, check out the beauitful voice of Snatam Kaur, this song lends itself to improvisation too…Deep Blue Sea