One aspect of being of which I am a champion of is menstruation. I have studied and incorporated the teachings of many books read and courses taken over the last 18 months (listed on the resources page). As such I have been preparing a presentation of moontime awareness practices. Here is my list of general things you can do to lessen monthly suffering and use moontime to your advantage: 1-Set aside time to connect and rest. 2-Do less. 3-Consider using a method of free bleeding. 4-Blood goes back to Earth. 5-Eat Ayurvedically. 6-Transition through phases mindfully. 7-Track everyday. 8-Use the benefits of each phase wisely. 9-Strengthen subtle senses. To find out more please take advantage of the books listed in the resources page.
Thanks Everyone for coming to restorative class and listening to me spiel & rift off the title of class which was, “ My favourite channel is off”. My oldest uncle would have said something like this if us kids were fighting over what to watch on the tv..
Recently I spent 2 weeks home alone just myself and the cat. It was wonderful and also eye opening in many ways. I took the opportunity to use this time as a stay at home retreat and did silence practice in addition to a 24 min daily sit and morning tarot reading sessions & afternoon yoga nidra. Evening sunset watching. Went out in public minimally. By evening I noticed that social media scrolling is like flipping through channels. You get a taste of all the infinite flavours of reality of being. A veritable spectrum of people conveying experiences each with their own energetic imprint. But this is not conducive to experiencing inner wisdom I had cultivated the potential for in the morning. And the constant flipping of the channels is like the incessant thoughts of the mind. They scroll continuously & are residue & leave frequency. It takes the tuning in of listening to everything at once to hear inner wisdom. And that takes stillness & silence. And that takes practice.
Thank you for joining us and being brave to breath into you & your presence to cultivate stillness. Now that is why we call Restorative an advanced practice!
(Oh ya, & we did supported asana too & the music was Eternal Om by Dick Sutphen.)
There are several reasons why I am such an advocate for Restorative Yoga.
I have compassion for conditions stimulated by stress. Everything seems harder when experiencing pain. Fortunately lowering stress can avoid an occurrence or flare up altogether. Sometimes an event occurs where a whole lifestyle needs to develop in order to support a focus on self care practice. It is what spurred me to take alignment based ytt (yoga teacher training) and eventually to teach restorative yoga as well as to cue the systematic grounding and connecting into grounded inner stillness, which can only happen when you practice it. Excuses that arise are “I’m bad at this, so I can’t go to restorative”. Well, I am bad a throwing a football but it doesn’t mean I can’t learn to save my life or lessen painful conditions. And that is where we are with this folks: do you want to save yourself?
What do you do when you notice you are all agitated? Or acting weird in public. Saying strange things to family or strangers. Or being overly reactive on the road? Even if it is”for no good reason”…oh but there are reasons either blatant or subtle they just haven’t been identified yet. Be not surprised to find out that the Tantrik Tradition of Yoga philosophy is all over this. and it translates as– insanity. That’s right, continuously reacting unconsciously is called insanity. It’s all there in the first four patanjalim yoga stotras.
So how do you counter act the knee jerking?
Start by stopping. Stop. Just stop. Full stop. Stop and breathe. Go home and go into self care mode immediately if not sooner.
In self care mode turn it around so that you are doing the minimum of doing for others and the maximum of self care for you. Self care is not selfish, its essential. And if you have gotten frenetic nerves, jumping at loud noises and are having consecutive days of abnormal coping then please do what it takes to shift it deliberately. It’s like giving yourself a time out, but for gown ups and for a good cause.
It may mean a bath. It may mean a nap. It may mean a meal, a cup of tea, a yoga nidra. For goodness sakes put your feet up the wall for 20 minutes and put that long soothing deep and grounding root/ muladara chakra music on. Get silent, get still and listen. We need emotional maintenance just as we need to maintain our teeth by brushing them.
You then acknowledge what arises and send yourself compassion about it. You may cry or have other responses, this is called processing emotions…or being with what is. Reality is we have emotions.
Emotions aren’t bad or wrong they’re all just energy. All of them. And they are trying to tell you something. When they are listened to and have their needs met the load gets lighter and we can cope again. See Recognition Sutras by Christopher Wallis chapter 11.
Things you can do before it gets this bad: 1- track your moon cycle phase. 2-track the moon and other astrological anomalies. 3- read The Power Path monthly forecast. That way you will be prepared, you’ll get the heads up on the energy and what to work with and what you can expect to be seeing and experiencing.
Next, don’t over schedule yourself in luteal or shedding phase. Just don’t. It’s madness I tell you.
More things you can do to maintain: practice slowing the heck down. Practice feeling your feet. Practice breathing when the going gets tough. Practice restorative yoga. When shit hits the fan and you loose your mind then you have tools in your tool box to use when no on else is coming to save you. It is up to you.
Try Emotional Literacy by Richard Grannon Spartan Life Coach for starters. (web and youtube)
Try Being with Intense Emotions by Christopher Wallis. (youtube)
Try Living non-violent Communication by Marshall Rosenburg. (book and youtube)
Try Releasing the Curse by livetru.org.
Dive further into philosophy to understand yourself and others better: try Sutra Illiminated by Christopher Wallis. (the sutra project) as mentioned above.
Other things to do: lower cortisol by taking vitamin C. If you take vit C for stress but do not change your lifestyle, that doesn’t reduce the cause of the stress. But honestly what is better for your adrenals? Some support or eliminating the cause of the stress. Also some chewables have sugar/fructose in them which would raise glucose and cortisol, choose a supplement that doesn’t.
Driving: If driving is bugging you-keep it to a minimum, put essential oils in your car, start every trip by saying “I am on an adventure”. Put a post it on your dashboard–“I am willing to meet the present moment as it is”. And when your ire rises- breathe. Always let at least one person go who is waiting to merge. Stop with plenty of space for pedestrians especially when you see no one else is stopping for them. Be the example. Give the benefit of the doubt when having to stop when not knowing what is going on up ahead. We are all in one big line up just trying to get our needs met of getting to our places on time. Someone’s passenger is giving birth or having a seizsure. You never know. Leave with plenty of time. My dad was always prepared to “hang out in the bushes” as we called it. It meant being able to wait with no thing in particular to do. Remember you always have your breath.
Please excuse me, I’m going to put my legs up the wall now.
There is a community phenomena of a mild epidemic of low back complaints going around including my own of which I am not a stranger to. But don’t worry about me. Through my own experience here are some clues that hopefully will help point the way to actions you can take to bring more awareness into low back and sacrum stability.
Myth 1: Something major and obvious needs to have occurred. Nope! It can be small but repetitive movements that you do every day that slowly over time have compromised the attachments of the muscles to their bones thereby causing pain in certain joints such as the sacroiliac joint. Including certain ways you do certain yoga poses over and over. I recommend seeing a certified Iyengar teacher or a certified yoga therapist as well as a competent physical therapist and chiropractor to help pin point these habits so that you can counter act your specific tendencies in daily life both on and off your mat.
Step One as always is – Tell Your Teacher! We cannot help you if you don’t tell us what is going on. Yes, one can feel the gamut of emotions and embarrassment in revealing yourself especially if you are not too certain as to what may be going on. Please get an assessment and let us know what you were told. Then we can help you modify appropriately. That being said, here are things I do and don’t do for symmetry of sacrum awareness: I do find when my sacrum is bugging me that crossing my legs while seated on a chair aggravates the sensations felt in the low back. That is because the weight of the top leg is both pressing down on the bottom leg and that drags the bottom leg forwards and down therefore encouraging the off kilter open angle and half a lifted twist that is going on. Better to keep yourself uncrossed and equal so this unnecessary lengthening and weighted extra torque and tension is no longer occurring. Also crossing your legs anywhere whether at the thigh, knees or ankles reduces the flow of blood and its circulation.
Another thing I’ve learned to do for sacrum stability is: I get in and out of the car, bed, couch or chair on both feet. Using the example of getting in and out of the car: Open the door wide to give yourself space. Sit down on the seat with both buttocks as equally as possible. Then bend one knee and then the other into the car. Next pivot on your buttocks to face the front. Extend the legs. Get out of the car in reverse order. Avoid stepping out of the car on your left foot (presuming you are the driver, right if you are passenger) with it open at the hip and stepping all of your weight and getting out in one weight baring twisting go, especially if you’ve a heavy bag on your shoulder as well. You’ll shoot your eye out! Just kidding. But you could tweak any number of joints along the way up that path from your ankle, knee and the low back. Better to break it up to concise movements and be as symmetrical and aware as possible. Bring your bag around front to your center of gravity holding it in both hands before you stand up, then put it on your shoulder. I do the same with getting out of bed. I put both feet down and then stand up.Avoid putting your heavy bag on the same shoulder. Better yet, don’t carry one at all.Avoid heeled shoes and boots. Pick ones with appropriate arch support instead.These are a couple of daily habits and patterns of movement off the mat that you can bring your attention to to help maintain sacrum stability.
On the mat and in yoga class, after you’ve told your teacher, practice with as slow and controlled awareness as possible going into the pose, in the pose and while transitioning out of the pose. Try to keep a systematic yet flowing sense of awareness throughout all the phases of a pose.I know for me personally, the pose down ward facing dog with the right leg up and back was a culprit of sending my left side sacrum jammed up and out of alignment. Due to an innate hyper extension in my low back sending that leg up with reckless abandon had to become a habit of the past. Instead of throwing yourself into your maximum range of motion try lifting to a reasonable level. Just because it feels good doesn’t mean that range is sound alignment for your body. The strengthening exercises that your PT gives you will strengthen the muscles around those joints in order to keep them strong and supported by muscle which happily keeps the bones aligned. The name of the yoga game is awareness -not she who has the most extreme range of motion wins!
Next myth: it just needs to be stretched and then it will feel better. Nope! Pain is the body’s mode of communication. Stretching in a joint area that is pained is only further aggravating and compromising the muscle attachments. Back out of the pose to stay in a range of motion with no joint pain. Tell the teacher so you can receive a modification. Work on strengthening the muscles around that joint.
One last note, I’ve been to class and had a lovely practice session and then thrown my sacrum out while putting away the props afterwards. It is especially important to keep mindfulness happening in all movement especially the first few movements when you are fresh out of savasana/final relaxation and when putting away the props. Again, coming to stand with a sense of grounded symmetry is key.
The antidotes for me have been all of the above as well as a restorative practice specifically tailored for this scenario of a shifting sacrum. Lying down flat after supported forwards bends does the trick of setting it back into place. Or rather when lying down after a series of supported forward bends the sacrum shifts back into place with a little clunk and I can walk without pain again. Works like a charm. And when it doesn’t I see my chiropractor.I hope that my experience above given will help to reveal your patterns of habits that could be unwittingly contributing to unwanted low back and sacrum discomfort. For more information look into the work of Jules Mitchell.
Ity Sivam- May it be for a blessing! Om
At Tula Movement Arts and The Yoga Lab where I ply my trade of introducing the subtle art of tuning into the body and releasing patterns of tension while cueing poses in a grounded manner. Recently the theme was “finding resources when you’ve become absent or off track & how to redirect yourself back to center”. I shared several resources, tips and tricks to redirect back to center and I have more that I didn’t share too!
Here they are:
-Review the last 2 or 3 moons whether new or full.
-look ahead to the next moons and holidays–you don’t have to believe just be open and follow the golden thread. ~heads up specifically~ new moon, year of the boar, Imbolc, Kwan Yin Bday, & Goddess Bridget’s day, Valentine’s Day. And or any personal or familial birthdays or milestones or anniversaries.
-haven’t journaled in ages?-just write the date on the page, tune in and write 3,”I feel” sentences every morning.
-sign up for a course. Eg. Sutras Illuminated by Christopher Wallis, https://www.thesutraproject.com/
-read Hareesh.org blogs called Pure Motive or the Near Enemies of the Truth series.
-get in the fb group Tantrik Yoga Now
-read astrology blogs and or ThePowerPath.com monthly forecast for heads up on what influences to work with.
– apply yogic principles of lifestyle to menstruate mindfully. Books: 1-Wild Power, Alexandra Pope. 2-Yoni Shakti, Uma Dinsmore-Tuli. Online course: Releasing The Curse by livetru.org.
These are a few of my favourite things:)
I don’t often dish out all the gems but it was time to share resources.
I hope that serves you well,
Ity Śivam, may it be for a blessing. 🕉☮☮☮