“Protection” is a word often associated with combatting imminent physical threat. Protection, however, also may connote a sense of overall emotional or energetic security, as in a type of confidence that one is “covered.” Additionally, to be protected typically suggests a reduction or absence of fear: Calmness and a balanced outlook prevail over tension and anxiety.

The following tips are great individual techniques to surround yourself with protection. Any combination of the methods would form a centering ritual for daily or special occasion use (for example, travel or family gatherings). Regardless of how you choose to use the ideas, you will deflect negative vibrational frequencies; shield yourself in harmful environments; and offset residual negativity from conflict or emotions.

The first tip is to carry a protection stone with you: I keep one in my car, and I bring another with me for stays away from home. One of the most powerful stones for this use is obsidian, a black, glossy stone. Another form of the stone is Snowflake Obsidian: The white flecks in the black stone remind me of the positivity that ultimately balances what we perceive to be negative. Other excellent stones for the purpose of physical and energetic protection are hematite (a silvery-gray, metallic-looking stone), and lapis lazuli, a classic blue stone.

When you select your stone, allow your intuition to guide your choice. Often, a feeling of warmth when holding a stone indicates that that is “your” stone; or perhaps you feel a strong concoction to a stone’s shape or color. Regardless of how your intuition manifests, give it free reign to pick the stone that is meant for your needs.

In my personal practices, I often partner stones with essential oils when I want to envelop myself in a particular energy. For protection, I lean toward sage, rose, and vetiver. You may be familiar with the use of a sage bundle to burn away old or negative energies in a space: Sage burning and smudging are highly recommended when moving into a new home, or after you have had an influx of unwanted energy in your personal space.

Vetiver has the ability to exorcise harmful energy, and to purify the cleansed fields of your physical, mental, and auric bodies; frankincense has similar qualities, as well as the ability to relieve headaches. If you have had a rough day, or have become worn down after time in a large group, a few drops of vetiver in a tub can wash away any toxic energy you may have absorbed. As this oil has a decided earthy aroma, I tend to blend it with one or a combination of the following: lavender, geranium, or chamomile. Vetiver is also very conducive to sleep, so a bath in some combination of these oils is an ideal way to cope with insomnia.

Special note: Frankincense is best used in a carrier oil or lotion, and then applied to your feet. It would also be excellent in a diffuser. It is not recommended that you bathe in frankincense: I had a friend in massage school who did just that, and was quickly yelping from the burning sensation in her nether regions!

Rose oil is a lovely way to approach the idea of protection. Instead of defending against the infiltration of negativity, rose oil encourages and harnesses the qualities of compassion and love. It is said that love is the opposite of fear; rather than focus on the fear that may accompany the need for protection, rose oil leans toward love. Ultimately, kindness and compassion (including, and maybe especially to yourself) are the best antidotes to any negative thought or emotion.

Finally, you can awaken, instill, and surround yourself with protective energy through the use of this simple qigong exercise: Protective Cross. To begin, locate the Inner and Outer Gates (i.e., the Triple Warmer 5–TW5–and Pericardium 6–P6–points): Three finger widths above your wrists, press into the center of your lower forearms on both the front and back sides. To stimulate these energy-protecting points, tap the wrists together: the outer side of one (TW5) against the inside of the other (P6). Then switch to knock the other wrist’s back side against the front of the other.

Once you have awakened this qi, stand in a relaxed-knee position, legs wider than your hips. Place your hands in Protective Cross in front of your chest: Both palms face you, and the wrists cross at the Inner and Outer Gate points. Breathe in and out with the hands and arms in this position for 3-8 breaths.

Next, lower your arms to your sides. As you inhale, draw the palms toward each other in front of your belly, and cross them at the Protective points as they rise up your body. At face level, separate the hands out to the sides and exhale as the arms lower down to the starting position. Repeat the inhale, raising the arms in Protective Cross; exhale to separate and lower the arms, in order to ground yourself, three times.

Then, begin to move the flow side to side, shifting your weight first to the left leg, bending the knee a bit more; moving through center; and then shifting your weight to the right leg. Move back and forth, balancing Yin and Yang, and distributing the Protective Cross energy throughout your magnetic field and aura. The breath and arm pattern remains the same—inhale up with the Cross; exhale your arms down to the sides as you move through center—but you move the energy from side to side. After one shift to the left and to the right, change the cross of your arms, so that the opposite wrist is now closer to you. Repeat this alteration after each full round, i.e., one shift to the left and right. Continue to move in this way for 1-3 minutes. To close, stand and breathe with your hands on the lower belly, aka Dan Tien.

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