In a recent post, I offered a few techniques to generate heat in the body. [] Today’s entry expands on that idea by way of a two-part pranayama and mudra practice. The first part is a potent detoxifier, and the second part works wonders when your energy is low or sluggish; as a caffeine-free wakening boost in the morning; or as a mid-day spark for motivation and focus.

On this particular Sunday, I recognize that the moon reaches fruition tomorrow. Typically, one eases off on yang yoga or movement styles when the moon is full or nearly so: Vigorous movement exacerbates the elevated energies that result from the increased gravitational pull of the moon; in order to maintain mental and physical balance, it is best to practice yin or slow-moving practices. Even if you do not sway toward yoga or Eastern disciplines, you can, for example, walk instead of run. The idea is to ground your energy, in order to offset the rising forces of the Full Moon.

That said, it may seem surprising that today I offer two “Sun Breath” variations, each accompanied by a different, yet related mudra. On this last day of 2017, or any time that marks an ending, it is valuable to prepare your body and mind for a fresh start: Clear the dross from the past, so that you are free and clear to attract and integrate positive, fresh energies. So, when tomorrow ushers in the Full Moon, you can move gently and thoughtfully, easing your way into the New Year.

As I have written about previously, the left nostril reflects Moon, or cooling, calming energy. The right, which we work with today, is the Sun side—warming and energizing. In the first round of pranayama, you practice the traditional Surya (Sun) technique: With your right ring finger, close the left nostril as you breathe in through the right nostril; close the right nostril with the right thumb, and exhale through the left. Practice this for 3-12 rounds, or 1-3 minutes.

Along with this first part of the pranayama, you will hold a detoxifying mudra on the left hand. To trigger the release of emotional and physical toxicity that inevitably accumulates over time, touch your left thumb tip to the inner edge of the base of the left ring finger; press firmly. As the ring finger is associated with the liver, this mudra encourages the cleansing that the liver promotes.

In whatever seated position you have chosen today, place the left hand—mudra intact—palm down on the left leg: However, because the intention is to “dump” waste from within, allow the hand to hang off the edge of your knee or thigh, so that the energy that you release flows down and away.

After you have finished this first part of today’s practice, breathe normally (through both nostrils) for a minute or so: A pleasant enhancement to this “intermission” is to rest the pinky edge of the left hand on the the left knee, palm facing inward, and the right hand on its pinky side, palm also facing inward. Touch the tip of the thumb to the tip of the index finger on each hand; this is Gyan Mudra, which connects you to the wisdom of the Universe. With the palms facing toward each other, the clarifying energy is drawn to the Lower Triangle of your chakras; the result is confidence and stability.

When you are ready, bring your left hand to your nose, closing the left nostril with the left thumb: The remaining fingers are together and pointing straight up; the left palm faces right. The mudra that accompanies this portion of the practice is Surya Mudra. As you touch the tip of the right thumb to the tip of the right ring finger, the Triple Warmer meridian, a protective energy, joins forces with the Liver. Consequently, Surya Mudra penetrates through negativity, charges the system, and yields stamina and vitality: Your path is cleared and protected.

Place your right hand with the mudra on your right knee, palm up: At this point, you want to gather the energizing warmth of the Sun energy, energizing your body and mind for the year to come. As you breathe in and out through the right nostril, you fully cleanse the channel for the warming, vitalizing energy to flow smoothly. This particular breath and mudra combination “burns” the detritus of yesteryear and sends purifying prana into your energy centers and throughout their extensive networks. Again, practice this pranayama with mudra for 3-12 rounds, or 1-3 minutes.

Happy Sunday AND Happy New Year…

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