Nearly 20 years ago, I began to study the lessons of the Self-Realization Fellowship, founded by Paramahansa Yogananda. In 2003, I attended a world convocation in Los Angeles, CA, where I became a full Kriya member of the organization. Throughout any of the challenges that I have encountered since then, the SRF teachings (including meditation and healing techniques) have provided a steadfast foundation for the other spiritual practices and beliefs that infuse my life.
There are certain prayers and invocations that I, as an SRF member, recite and reflect upon daily. They have become mantras that often rise up with no conscious forethought. On this first day of a new year—2019—one of the key invocations is calling out to be heard. The words typically are uttered as the opening and/or close of a meditation or healing session, for oneself or others:
“I wish to be well; to be healthy; to be prosperous and spiritual…”
Today, I have created an active version of this mantra, wherein kundalini arm movements reflect each portion of the prayer. Practice each move for 3 minutes.
Special note: Your arms and shoulders will feel this routine strongly. If you have troubled joints or are recovering from injury, try the practice for 30 seconds of each movement. If, however, you are generally stable in the arms and shoulders, give yourself the opportunity to stay with the ache as it builds: The energy you will create will rush through the stiff, aching areas; when you complete an exercise, the release and relief will be well worth the effort of perseverance.
As always before any targeted routine, feel free to do any warmups or stretches that you feel your body may need before sitting and powerfully using the arms. Also, be sure that you have enough space around you to move your arms up, down, and all around. Then, come into an easy crossed-leg position; you may even sit on the edge of a chair it that feels better.
The first movement corresponds with the intention “to be well.” In this case, “well” reflects a state of balance, of harmony within and without: wellness connotes mental and physical equanimity—a return to innate ease and calm. In order to trigger this well-being, you will make contact with the sides of the rib cage, stimulating the area of the 7th rib and Spleen Point 21. In kundalini yoga, the 7th rib spotlights the place where fear can be held, yet also released. When fear resides within, imbalance reigns.
Interestingly, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the final point on the Spleen meridian lies adjacent to the side point of the 7th rib. This meridian is responsible for a general feeling of wellness, and when in balance, regulates and tones the entire system.
Further, this first movement will even out any imbalances in throughout the nervous system. With your arms at your side, elbows bent and against your rib cage, you will thrust the right arm straight forward, as if throwing a punch; the left bent arm tugs backward, so that you create a slight rotation through the torso. Whenever the right arm moves forward and left arm back, the hands are in fists, palms down.
Immediately reverse the movement, powerfully reaching the left arm forward, as the right arm bends and pulls back alongside and behind its starting point at the ribs: With this left forward/right back movement, the hands are open, palms down. Move rapidly back and forth, remembering to change hand shapes with each switch. As the left arm comes thrusts forward, inhale; as it pulls back and the right moves forward, exhale. Be sure that the elbows contact the ribs as they move back and forth. Keep the eyes softly closed, gazing at the Third Eye.
After you complete 3 minutes of this movement, shake out or rub your arms as needed. Now, you will address the notion of “healthy.” In this practice, we refer to physical health and the need to rid the system of toxicity. In order to do that, we will deeply stimulate the lymph nodes in the region of the armpit and throat. The arm and head movement associated with “healthy” will rapidly stretch and shutter the armpits and stimulate the thyroid region, which creates a double-duty pump to enhance the cleansing activity of the lymph nodes.
Begin with the upper arms tightly in by your sides and the elbows bent, palms facing inward. As you inhale, shoot the left arm straight up and out at a 60-degree angle with the body (leaving about 30 degrees of space between head and arm). Turn your head to look left as that arm moves. Exhale as you rapidly retract the left arm, quickly returning the head to its neutral stance. Immediately repeat with the the right arm, stretching it up and out at the same angle, as the head turns to look right. Move quickly and powerfully: allow your breath rate to increase along with the pace of the arms; it will be very similar to Breath of Fire, as you breathe powerfully and rapidly through the nose.
The third movement greets the notion of “prosperity.” This movement takes the arms into the front space of your body, helping to further open clear and energize the magnetic field. By doing this, we avail ourselves of opportunity; we set the scene for all manner of growth and possibility. With your arms held up and at in front of you, stretched long at that 60 degree angle, begin to criss-cross the arms: Keep the movements quick, sharp, and powerful, with no bend in the elbows. As the arms move apart, they separate about 6 inches, and then cross at about the level of the wrists and forearms. With each cross, chant the mantra, “Har”: Do this at normal voice level, or in a whisper. The eyes are closed, gazing at the Third Eye.
The final movement directly invokes “spirituality,” as it partners with a simple, yet profound and all-encompassing mantra: “God.” Your arms are held up and out, again at the side-space 60- degree angle from the second movement. The thumb tips touch the base of their respective pinky fingers on the palm side of the hand; the other fingers curl around the mudra to enclose it in a fist. With the arms long and held up at the proper angle, begin to make backward circles with the whole arm, moving to create circumferences of about 6 inches. As with the other movements, move quickly and strongly; with each tight backward circle, silently chant “God.” The eyes remain closed, again gazing upward to the Third Eye. Move vigorously, so that your entire torso reverberates with the movement.
When you have completed all of the movements, allow your arms to rest. If you would like to change your sitting position, do so; you may also recline fully into Corpse Pose. Whatever easy, relaxed posture you choose, feel the various levels of energy coursing through your entire body and being. As you resume steady, full breathing, perhaps take a moment to silently recall the invocation that inspired your practice, with a slight variation: “I will be well, and healthy, and prosperous and spiritual.”
Happy New Year…