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With its longer days and shorter nights, the summer sun is in full swing. Its energizing rays both excite and invite transformation in the body and mind; the mundane becomes magical, the ordinary oracular. Friends and family come together to enjoy long hours of sinking white teeth into fresh local produce and stargazing on warm nights- tis the season of boating, beaches, and barbeques! However, if you find yourself of the *ahem* “introverted persuasion” you may find that all of this action-packed calamity needs a little calm. Counterbalance the sun’s virile intensity by setting aside some solo time for these moon-baby moves. (Happy birthday, Cancer Chillrin’!)
- Begin by relaxing, seated, in a place you’ve designated for times such as these (the deep thinkin’, deep breathin’ times). Use this time to set your intentions. What do you want to get out of this time you’ve made for yourself? A little peace and harmony? Keener intuition? In need of a little more gratitude?
- Next, draw your attention to your breath to focus the mind and body and calm the nervous system. Breathe in deeply and then exhale, counting your inhalations and exhalations so that they are equal in length. This counting of the breath is a relaxing meditation in itself, but if you find yourself distracted, don’t get discouraged! Say, "Hello!" to each thought, and allow it to pass. (A Swami once told me he found it helpful to visualize file folders labeled “useful” and “not useful” during this time to organize cluttered thoughts.) Conduct a quick mental scan of how your body feels from your head to your toes. If you’d like, employ one of these timed-tested, yogi-approved mudras, or hand gestures, to seal the flow of energy.
Now it’s time to show a little gratitude for our solar system’s favorite star! But remember- we're seeking balance here, so slow down the pace and try modifying this traditionally solar-charged sequence with these lunar-lovin' supported backbends and restorative inversions.
- As you bring your sun salutation to a close, you may wish to wash your face, palms, and feet with a cool washcloth soaked in lavender water or rub a small dab of tangerine essential oil into your temples. Both lavender and tangerine, long- regarded for their calming effect on the nervous system, will aid in a deep and relaxing savasana.
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Congratulations, you’ve made it to my favorite part! Savasana, or corpse pose, quiets the mind and pacifies the senses. Lie flat on the floor with your palms resting upward and allow yourself to conduct a second quick scan, noting the many tiny differences you feel throughout your constantly changing body- less tension in the shoulders, a relaxed jaw, more regular breath. Be thankful. Then, allow yourself to sink completely into the pose, relaxing each muscle (including that noisy brain of yours). After 20-30 minutes of savasana bliss, wiggle your fingers and toes before slowly deepening the breath, stretching, and returning to a seated position. Namaste!
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