Healthy, Happy, and Wise

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized


Published on October 21, 2010 with No Comments

By Cynthia Smith

Whether we are preparing for a restorative pose or a change in season, preparation is key. In our yoga class we often practice a pose called “legs up the wall.” This is a deep restorative pose that allows the body to be supported by the wall, while experiencing a partial inversion and bringing vital fluids and internal organs to a relaxed and calmer state.

In restorative poses we take time to get in and out of them because we spend more time in these poses, thus finding the ultimate relaxation in a waking state. This nurture’s our nature. Although preparation is part of our practice in all of our poses, in a restorative pose we go a little deeper and stay a little longer.

In our class we invite seasonal changes and day to night energies as part of our connection to our practice. This helps us to navigate in the sometimes harsh extremes of the world around us. When we start to pay close attention to the changes in us and in the world around us, we can see that the subtleties of these changes start long before what looks like an extreme condition.

This allows us to feel prepared and nurtures our nature so we are not feeling blindsided by life’s messages. When we give ourselves permission to transition or prepare for such changes, like the seasons, we are able to nurture them. This will allow us to glide into them with grace instead of being surprised by the change, thus taxing our nervous system.

The time period when summer transitions to autumn is particularly challenging because this is the vatta season. Vatta is one of the three dosha’s in Ayurveda, an eastern medicinal practice, and a dosha is a constitution.

It is believed that we embody three different dosha’s and that everything in life can carry these energies which encourages, discourages or balances us. We all embody the three doshas – vatta, pitta and kapha – but all of us tend to be more of one than the other.

We also see different seasons with different energies. These energies are part of who we are and the transition of summer to autumn can bring on more irritability, thus increasing our vatta imbalance.

When we align ourselves with our seasons and our environment we learn how to navigate in the different energies, so we find ways to survive and get along. All too often though, we do not nurture the nature within that is trying so hard to align with the nature around us. Restorative poses give us what our bodies, our mind and our spirit crave – rest and relaxation – especially after a busy pitta summer season.

Let’s get started:

Pose: Legs up the wall


– Find a space in your home where it will be quiet and you will be undisturbed (turn off the phone and electronics that could alarm you). A small piece of wall space about 2 or 3 feet wide and about 4 feet up is all that is needed.

– A small blanket or mat to lie on and one to cover yourself with.

– A small pillow to support the neck.

– An eye pillow or soft cloth to cover the eyes.

– If you are trying to keep track of your time, you can keep a timepiece nearby that does not make sound and you can check it after a while. I do not recommend alarms and I prefer not to have any mechanical or electrical devices nearby because they can intrude on your natural energy, your inner clock will start to work with practice.

– If your feet are on the cold side, wear socks.

Procedure: Lay the blanket on the floor next to the wall and sit sideways to the wall and roll back, then position the legs up the wall. Keeping your other supports nearby, bring the small pillow under the neck for support and use the small blanket to cover yourself, then place the eye pillow on your eyes. Allow the arms to rest out to the side, focus on the breath, relax and enjoy.

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 physical presence with a teacher is always best but these instructions can offer a guide to the basic practice of yoga.

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