With 2019 nearly upon us, thoughts of resolutions are beginning to stir. So many of us, however, have had the oft-repeated experience of determinedly deciding to relinquish a bad habit or create a new goal, only to find ourselves slowly losing motivation. Instead, I suggest the practice of one of the following moves designed to increase physical and mental power. Additionally, when practiced over the course of 40 days, any of these movements will boost your energy and improve your mindset—two ingredients necessary to help with commitment. (Kundalini yoga views 40 days as the amount of time necessary to ingrain change.)
In order to give yourself the best chance to stick with a 40-day practice, I suggest choosing only one move. Because the goal is to work up to 108 repetitions, any initial enthusiasm to try all three for nearly 6 weeks may quickly dwindle.
Special note: If on any given day in the allotted 40-day period, you feel unwell, fatigued, or sore, aim to do 1-3 of your chosen move. Modify in any way that permits you to feel that you have maintained your commitment to yourself; that act alone may help you feel a bit better.
To help you decide which move is best for your goals, here is a brief description of the qualities associated with each move, followed by instructions for each.
Akin to a Pilates combo of Roll Like a Ball and the Roll-Up, this move stimulates the nervous system (from the rolling), the Second and Third chakras (will and determination), and the Bladder Meridian, which controls fear. If you feel self-doubt about your ability to change, or reluctant to release your reliance on a habit used to self-comfort, this would be an appropriate move to try.
To do the Rolling SIt-Up, start seated with your knees pulled into your torso, arms wrapped securely around the shins. Roll your “ball” shape back onto the floor; use momentum and your abdominal strength to roll right back up. Without pausing, immediately extend your legs straight out onto the floor in front of you, reaching into a forward bend over the legs. That is one.
To repeat, immediately sit up, drawing the knees in toward you again; wrap the arms around the legs, and roll back, to begin again. Inhale as you roll back, exhale to roll up and reach forward; then inhale to bring the knees in and roll again. Do as many as feels comfortable on Day 1; it may be 5 or 50. You have 40 days to make your way up to 108. If that number is unobtainable for you, find a safe, yet challenging number of repetitions; it is your practice, thus your choice.
Body Swing with Knee Lift
If you feel the need to shake up your routines, yet are not sure what you want or how to get there, this combination of expansive, free movement injected with a sudden, steady balance can help.
For the Body Swing with Knee Lift, start standing. From your arms by your sides, inhale and swiftly make a large circle back with both arms; as they come back to your sides, keep them going up again, as if to do another backward circle: However, as they arrive overhead, lift one knee up, so you are balancing on the opposite leg.
From the arms overhead and the bent leg up, exhale to reverse the circle, moving the arms down through the front space. The raised leg simultaneously rests back down, so that you are standing as the arms continue to draw a large forward circle. As they come back up overhead, keep them going forward as you swing down into an easy forward bend, knees slightly bent. )You will feel a little bounce or reverberation in your body from the momentum.) This is one complete move.
Without a pause, inhale to roll up as the arms begin their next backward circle; you will pass through the starting position en route to the balance with the other leg. Again, play with how many repetitions work for you, and that will allow you to stick with the 40-day practice.
Infamous in kundalini circles for their initial physical impact, and legendary for their ultimate gifts, Frogs efficiently move energy from the lower chakras to the upper chakras. The move, however, requires sheer stamina and grit; thus, the result is the ability to connect your physical and emotional strengths with your spiritual Self. When combined, these traits help you to view your habits and patterns from the vantage point of detached wisdom and self-compassion.
To begin the Frog, come into a squat, or crouch position, on the floor; knees are apart, with toes turned out slightly. Bring the heels together, then raise them so that you are on the balls of the feet with the knees wide and off the floor. The heels likely will have pulled apart, so bring them to touch, still keeping bottom on your heels. With the knees splayed apart, bring your arms between the legs, with the fingertips on the ground in front of you. Create a dome-like shape with your hands; only the fingertips contact the ground.
From this position, inhale as you straighten the legs, stitching them together as the torso tips forward, head reaching toward the ground, spine long: The heels stay lifted and together throughout each phase of the movement. Exhale as you immediately return to your frog-like squat. Inhale bottom up, head down; exhale bottom down, head and torso lift. Begin slowly so that you can find and feel the correct positioning, and then try to speed up: I have always found that Frog moves a bit more smoothly and easily when I pick up the pace. As with the other moves, discern how many repetitions feel right for you, keeping the idea of 108 by Day 40 in the back of your mind.
Happy New Year!