Practice Recommendation #1
Restorative Poses activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System which regulates digestion, detoxification and rejuvenation. Practice of this pose does all that plus relaxes tight muscles in the pelvis and hips, gently massages the heart and abdominal organs and helps open blocked arteries. Our day to day existence and vital energy can be greatly enhanced by including at least one conscious relaxation period per day, preferably 15 minutes or more.
Our endocrine system is a slow control mechanism that regulates metabolism, structure and function of the body. Powerful hormones are secreted which also affect our personality and character. The system is self-regulating in that hormone secretions from any gland is activated in part by other hormones in the bloodstream. All information feeds back to the master controlling gland, the pituitary. All the glands are interrelated. Any diseased or malfunctioning gland will impair the functioning of the others thus having a detrimental effect on bodily and cognitive vitality.
In the yoga tradition, the nerve plexus around each major endocrine gland (the gonads, adrenals, pancreas, thymus, thyroid, para-thyroid, pituitary and pineal glands) are related to the seven chakras, a place where prana, subtle energy, meets the body in a swirling vortex. There is no gland associated with the first chakra. However, according to ancient yoga texts, the perineal body (a web of pelvic flood muscles and nerves) is the vestige of a gland that atrophied in evolution. The practice of Supta Baddha Konasana is thought to activate this vestige gland enhancing the circulation of life-force in the spine. This pose stimulates pelvic floor energy and has a subtle and accumulative positive effect on the pituitary, pineal, hypothalamic complex.
Endocrine and immune activity can be balanced through the regular practice of Restorative Yoga. It takes three time longer to relax than it takes to get upset. Practice loving-kindness to yourself and give this pose a whirl.
Supta Baddha Konasana – Supine Bound Angle Pose – Char Tara Albert
Tip: The Focal Point* in this pose is the center of the pelvis at a point level with the top of the pubic bone. You can enhance the pose by imagining you are breathing in and out of the focal point while allowing the mind stream to flow at a slower rate. Quite naturally, the breathing rate will calm down and the heart and brain will become more coherent with each other producing an alert and calm sense of well-being.
*Focal Point Description (based on Anusara Yoga Principles)
A focal point is an orb of power from which muscular energy draws into and through which natural energy extends out to feed and expand the body. There are three main centers.
In all standing poses or wherever the legs are bearing most of the weight, the focal point is in the center of the pelvis at a point level with the top of the pubic bone. The pelvic center is the focal point in all lying down poses, be they on belly or back, by default.
In all poses where the arms are weight bearing such as downward facing dog, handstand etc. the orb of power is pulsating in the chest center right below the heart. There are a few poses where there is weight on the head and in these the center of upper pallet is the focal point. Examples include Bridge Pose and Shoulder Stand.
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