I would be surprised to meet anyone who had never felt that he or she wanted to do or be “better”: kinder, less self-centered, more open-minded, etc. As one who consciously aims (and prays) to “do and be better” every day, I feel acute disappointment in myself when I veer off the path of positive self-evolution. Yet, part of the eternal practice dedicated to spiritual growth requires as much compassion for oneself as one (hopefully) extends to others: So, when I recognize the return to old behavioral or emotional patterns that I have strived to eject from my life and being, the first step is to calm and reject the negativity that may impede the progression of spiritual maturation.
Today’s Silent Sunday practice tends the chakras associated with stability, self-honesty, and inner strength: The First and Third chakras will receive a continual flow of input from the Fourth (Heart) Chakra throughout the routine. The movements and meditations are designed to guide one’s earthly existence from a spiritual vantage point..
First—and this may be asking a lot, depending on your state of mind at the moment—move into your personal pose of safety and security. For example, there are days when I would like to pass most of my time in Baby Pose: However, when my “watery”, emotional back body already feels besieged, I might prefer supine Corpse Pose. And certainly, your go-to self-comforting pose need not be an “official” yoga posture: Arrange your body in whatever configuration feels necessary and soothing for this day’s practice.
Once you are able to abide a comforting position fully, close your eyes, and draw your hands to your face. With your thumbs, plug your ears; rest the next three fingers lightly on your eyelids; and softly, partially close each nostril with the tips of the pinkies. In this variation of Yoni Mudra, breathe in and out through the now-narrow aperture of your nose. Because you have closed your ears, the sound will seem oceanic…an echo from the Universe. Continue deep, slow breathing for at least 2 minutes.
Next, sit with your legs together and stretched out in front of you. Place the back of one hand in the palm of the other, palms up in your lap. Inhale, and with the hands a few inches away from the body, move them calmly up toward the Heart; the palms face up as you do this. When the hands arrive in front of the Heart center, exhale to circle them out and down toward the groin; the palms will face the body at this stage. Continue this slow circling, churning motion—inhale up, exhale down—for 1 minute.
Now, add a body movement to the circling hands and arms: Inhale as you tilt the torso back to about 45 degrees; exhale as you tip forward 45 degrees. Keep the spine long as you move back and forth; be careful not to drop the head as you move. Continue to inhale back with the hands flowing upward; exhale into the “half” forward bend as the hands circle out and down. Continue for at least 2 minutes.
Remaining seated, open the legs into a V, or straddle. Place the back of one hand on your low back, as close to the sacrum as possible; the other hand rests in the palm of the first. Inhale in this upright position; exhale to bend forward. The intention of the movement is to lead with the Heart; and to open and relax the pelvis. Continue the inhale up, exhale forward and down for 1 minute.
With the legs in the same position, cross your arms over your body; the hands rest on their opposite upper arms at about Heart level. Inhale in the center upright position; exhale to the left. Inhale up, and exhale to the right. Be sure to gently twist toward each leg before you bend forward over it. Continue alternating left to right for 2 minutes.
After you have shaken out your legs and arms, lie on your back. Bring the knees in toward your chest for a brief, soothing stretch; then, extend both legs straight up into the air. Inhale, and as you exhale, bend one knee to “kick” that buttock with the heel. Inhale the leg straight back up, and exhale as the other leg bends and kicks that side’s buttock. Begin to speed up the kicks; you will nearly be doing Breath of Fire, as the breaths must keep pace with the accelerated kicks. This powerful, rapid movement and breath unlock and release past emotional pain from the First Chakra, so that your feeling of security and ability to move through Life is not hampered by negativity or fear.
Next, extend the legs out onto the floor. Inhale to draw one knee up toward the torso: With the opposite hand, guide the bent leg across the body into a Reclining Twist as you exhale. Inhale back to center; exhale to release the leg back onto the floor. Inhale to draw the opposite leg in toward you; exhale to twist; inhale to return center; exhale to release the leg. Find a natural rhythm for your moving twist and breath, and continue alternating sides for 3 minutes.
To close your practice, come into your favorite seated pose. With your eyes closed, place one hand in the palm of the other, palms up, hands resting in your lap. Gently gaze up to the Third Eye through your closed lids; breathe fully and deeply as you settle in to your sense of physical, mental, and spiritual ease. Briefly assess your state of being, perhaps allowing silent words, sensations, or intuitions to guide you toward the qualities you want to instill within.
Finally, create your own mudra, motivated by nothing more than the moment of peace and egoless-ness in which you now sit. You may find that the hands feel “right” as they are, or you may sense one or both hands being pulled toward another area of your body or head. For example, if you feel a particularly active circulation of energy or sensation in your belly, or your throat, or on your forehead, move one hand to rest gently on that area. Harness the intuitive energy within your Third Eye and within the Heart point in the center of each palm to help the hands find where they want to be. When you have established your personal mudra, breathe with it for 3-11 minutes.