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Taking time to prepare

Written by Cynthia Smith-Faught. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on March 20, 2012 with No Comments

How many times do we hear ourselves or others say, “If only I had been a little more prepared.” This usually occurs after a situation that leaves us feeling off center or completely taken by surprise.

 Preparation can be as simple as just knowing what to expect.  For example:  the recent time change.  I find that so many are surprised when it is time to change the clocks. There are some who do not realize it until after the fact (I’ve been there). This change can wreak havoc on our internal and external clock experience and not being prepared for it can have worsened effects. It can take days to get readjusted. 

In our yoga class, we start preparing for the time change a week before, meditating on the feeling of time in the present and in the future. I call it time traveling. As we allow the change of the clocks to settle into our bodies, we can viscerally feel the time in our bodies, present and future. This has really helped me to adapt to what is a very frustrating occurrence. Quite honestly, I would prefer to leave the clocks alone.

When told the reason for daylight savings time, the Old Native American said, “Only the government would believe that you could cut off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket”.

Another need for preparation is in the transition of our seasons, especially now with spring and summer-like weather arriving so early while we are still in the winter calendar. The extreme shift of temperatures may predict unsettling weather. Are we prepared? Do we have a plan in the event of severe weather?

 In our yoga practice, we take time to prepare getting in and out of certain poses. We should not expect our bodies to just magically produce something with no preparation. This would be foolish on our part. We take time to find the fluid body in a rhythmic motion after we have allowed ourselves to settle down into our practice.

Our focus this month is on preparation and how we can be better prepared for changes, in our lives and in our practice. The way we practice our yoga can be a metaphor for how we practice life.

A practice of preparation:

• Find yourself on the floor and on your back

• Draw your knees to your chest while supporting them with your hands, cross the ankles and rock side to side, massaging the lower back

• Find a gentle rocking motion with breath connection, feel this rocking motion quiet the mind while bringing comfort to the body

• Then, bring your hands underneath your hips, palms down and lift the legs up toward the sky (I call this legs up the virtual wall)

• Stretch the toes, the ankles, and bend at the knees (We are waking up the fluids in these joints)

• As you proceed with this slow gentle motion, keep returning to your breath

• After you feel warmed up, let the feet rest down with the knees bent and rest your hands on the belly; Rest for a few deep belly breaths

• Roll over to your belly side and sit back onto your heels in child’s pose. This pose is restorative with arms overhead and the head resting down. This should be very comfortable, so adjust for that comfort

• Rest in child’s pose for a few deep belly breaths (You should also feel this breath deep into your spine)

• Now inhale and lift up to your hands and knees

• Exhale, lift your bottom to the sky. Have equal weight between the hands and feet. We know this pose as down dog (Your body is shaped like a mountain)

• Inhale, the knees back to the floor

• Exhale, sitting back to your heels in child pose

• You may repeat this as many times as your body says it is ok to do. Keep the movement and breath connected. Lead with the breath

Enjoy this preparation practice of transition

 Author’s note:  This column is a guide only for the general population. Not all practice is good for everybody.  Please consult with your health practitioner before engaging in physical movement and positions. Having a physical presence with a teacher is always best but these instructions can offer a guide to the basic practice of yoga and the poses.

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About Cynthia Smith-Faught

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Cynthia Smith-Faught is a certified yoga instructor. She teaches adult classes and workshops through the Portage Parks Dept. She also teaches at the Bonner Senior Center in Portage. To contact Cynthia Smith-Faught email her at editorial@thechroniclenwi.com.

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