Sometimes even a Silent Sunday needs to begin sooner, rather than later: no time for a second cup of coffee or tea; no time to indulge in a week’s worth of news or that can’t-put-it-down book; and no time for a lengthy practice or meditation. Today, I created a short routine that will rein in your focus, balance your energy, and provide plenty of oomph to propel you into your busy day.
First, in a standing position, do a sensory scan as you lightly bounce or shake: Where are you tense, tight, or sore? Do you feel wired, lethargic, calm, anxious? After 30-60 seconds of this inventory, come onto all fours. Begin cat/cow spinal undulations: Continue with the traditional inhale as you curl the tailbone up and stretch the chest forward; exhale as you round the spine and let the head hang. After 3-5 rounds of this variation, begin to roll, curl, circle, arch, and twist in any direction, through any plane, that evolves organically as you breathe deeply. Continue for 30 seconds.
Next, sit back into an easy crossed-leg posture. Bring your arms up to 60 degrees, forming a large V-shape with your head as the center base point. The palms face each other, and the fingers are extended, yet together. Begin to close and open the hands, so that the fingertips strike the Venus Mound (thumb pads). When the fingertips are stimulated in this way, the brain snaps into alertness. Breathe quickly through your nose, creating a near-Breath of Fire: inhale to close, exhale to open the hands; you should feel the belly “jumping” as you breathe in rapid, equal inhales and exhales. Continue for 30 seconds.
Finally, rise to stand again. For Buttocks Bounce, which is an excellent, all-over body alignment technique, step your feet about a yard apart; the distance depends entirely on your height and structure. As you bend forward, bend the knees deeply, and reach your arms back between your legs, fingers facing behind. Set your position, so that the knees do not push forward past the heels, and the thighs are parallel to the ground. Shift as your torso as needed, in order to have it also parallel to the ground. Keep your head in line with your spine. Begin to bounce in this posture, maintaining the overall shape of your legs and body, but with quick vibrational bounces. Stick your tongue out, and briskly “”pant” 11 times in time with 11 bounces.
Inhale to stand. Exhale thoroughly, and then re-enter the posture. Again, Bounce and breathe through an open mouth, tongue extended, 11 times. Inhale to stand, exhale deeply and fully, and move into the position one last time. Complete the 11 bounces-with-breaths, and then slowly move your legs together: Hang in an easy, relaxed forward bend for a couple of breaths.
To complete this quick, ready-for-anything routine, slowly come into a rooted, aligned standing pose. Inhale as you open your arms wide, bringing them overhead: Look up at your hands with the breath suspended for a few beats. Then, exhale powerfully through your mouth, as you bring the arms back down, shaking them vigorously as you do so.