Have you ever had one of those days when your mind is running over lists of must-do’s, and with each noted thought, another arrives to add to the list? Often in a situation like this, the individual items begin to merge into an indecipherable web, leaving one unmotivated to detangle or tackle the projects ahead.
When mental cobwebs begin to form, either from too many demanding thoughts or from too little stimulus, the following pranayama sequence works beautifully to generate a “breeziness” in your body and mind. Thoughts unwind, the body feels ready proceed, and a sense of calm capability settles in.
Because it can be an effort to begin any routine when you feel overwhelmed or sluggish, I suggest simply getting yourself onto the floor, flying face down, and closing your eyes. Let your arms and legs adopt any position they like, and let your head turn naturally to one side or the other. Then, begin to take your attention to your breath: Encourage ever-deepening breaths, and feel how your chest and belly rise and descend against the floor as you do so.
Once you have grounded yourself in this way, push back for a brief Baby Pose: buttocks resting on heels, forehead on the floor, and your arms finding their favorite resting position. Take a few more deep breaths, and then roll up to sitting. You may remain seated on your heels if you are comfortable, or shift into an easy crossed-leg pose for the visualized pranayama.
With your eyes closed, bring your attention to the soles of the feet. Inhale completely, and as you exhale, imagine the breath moving out through the bottom of the left foot. Then inhale again, and exhale through the sole of the right foot. Finally, breathe in, then out through both feet at the same time.
Follow the same pattern for the backs of the knees (right, left, then both), being sure to generate deep inhales and full, complete exhales for each area. After the knees, apply the same guided breath out through the hands, and finally the armpits. The final two spots for the pranayama visualization are the center base of the skull and the navel. Find the groove in the middle of the bottom ridge of the skull: Inhale, then exhale three times out of this spot; as you move your breath in and out of this area, keep your closed eyes strongly focused on the Third Eye. To complete the pranayama sequence, take your breath to the belly button for three rounds: Inhale, then imagine the breath easing and opening the low belly aa you exhale through the navel.
To end, lie in svasana. Without adding the previous pranayama technique, take your mind’s eye on one last journey, visualizing each of the points you have opened; however, travel from area to area in reverse. Begin by sensing the navel, then the base the skull, the armpits, and so on.The point-by-point pranayama sequence, and then this final quick touch-upon journey in reverse helps the mind to re-establish calm efficiency, and to connect itself fully to the body.