Today’s offering combines simple Yin-style and restorative postures with basic pranayama and focused sounding. The front, back, and side bodies will be slowly and steadily stretched, which lends to an overall feeling of wholeness and openness. When incorporated with conscious breathing, the qigong healing sounds associated with each physical region’s primary organ system instill a richly healing alignment of body and mind. Finally, as you enter svasana, the bij (seed, or essential) sounds of the Root, Heart, and Third Eye/Crown chakras unite your entire being to deepen the feeling of balance and connectedness within.
To begin, come into Baby Pose: buttocks on heels, forehead on the floor, arms resting by your feet. Simply attune to your breath, slowly and steadily awakening your senses and awareness. Continue breathing here for about a minute.
Then, slide your body forward onto your belly, forearms on the floor, head upright, legs long behind you, torso lifted into an easy Sphinx posture. Remain in Sphinx for at least 2 minutes, breathing fully and steadily, eyes closed, gazing at the Third Eye. For your first round of sounding, you may stay in Sphinx, or enhance the stretch of the front body by bending your legs at the knees and resting your feet against each other in the air. In either case, begin to make the sound, “oh,” with each exhale: inhale completely, then exhale with the sound of “oh,” until your exhale is complete. Repeat the sound in the pose, stimulating and soothing the Stomach and Spleen, for another 2 minutes.
Once again, move into Baby Pose, shifting slowly out of Sphinx. Breathe easily for 1 minute.
Special Note: When practicing Yin Yoga, you may find that an unusual feeling of stiffness greets you as you exit a posture; thus, be mindful as you move, and give yourself plenty of rebound time in the follow-up rest pose. Yin Yoga, with its long-held positions, moves past the level of muscular tissue to feed energy into the joints and ligaments: As these “cold tissues” lack the elasticity of muscles, it takes them longer to regain comfort post-pose; however, the healing change bolsters the body on a profound level.
From Baby Pose, rise to sit on your heels in basic Rock Pose. Here, you will curve your torso to the right and left, 2-3 minutes per side. Be sure to keep the opposite hip on its heel, and stretch directly sideways, with no lean forward or back. With each exhale, sound, “tsee,” which is the Qigong Healing Sound for the Gallbladder (whose meridians run through the side body).
After the side stretching, sit on the floor, legs straight in front of you. Move slowly into an easy, Yin-style forward bend: This is a “relaxed” pose; you may allow your spine to round a bit, and you may rest your hands on the floor as you enter a stretch that you can sustain comfortably for at least 3 minutes. As you open and lengthen the back body, you create the sound for the Bladder meridian, “tchwee,” upon each exhale.
Next, after you help yourself out of Seated Forward Bend, grab a firm pillow, bolster, block, or thickly rolled towel that you can place under your shoulder blades. Lie on your back, and let the restorative posture awaken your Heart energy. Breathe deeply, with the sound of “hah” upon the exhale; this will feel and sound like a deep sigh. Continue for 2-3 minutes.
Finally, you may move into svasana. For the first minute or so, you will practice three rounds of a series of chakra sounds: Root, Heart, and Third Eye/Crown. So, inhale, then exhale, “lahm;” inhale, exhale, “yahm,” and then, inhale, exhale “ohm.” Repeat this sequence two more times, then come to silence and stillness; remain in svasana for another 5-10 minutes.