On certain wondrous mornings, I have only to arrive at my practice: From there, I am welcomed into a spontaneously occurring mix of movement, mudra, and/or pranayama. Today’s “guide” ushered me into a few energy and spinal warm-ups, and on to a meditation accompanied by a specific breathing pattern. The end result is an overall experience of deepening and stilling within. This is the type of serene practice that can remedy a swirl of overstimulation, or move lethargy and moodiness into a state of balance. It also is the type of meditation that will enhance an already positive attitude, causing it to expand and touch others around you.
The warm-up sequence is fairly basic. Although it could be practiced seated, I recommend that the first, second, and final moves be done standing, kneeling, and seated, respectively. So, in a firm stance, feet slightly wider than shoulders, begin to “cup” your body: It is as if you are briskly slapping yourself, but the palm is cupped to create a hollow or suction-like sound. Start with one armpit, working your way down, around, and back up the arm; continue onto the shoulder and upper back. Repeat on the other side.
Then, cup-slap your torso, front, sides, and back (as best you can). Continue down one buttock, thigh, and lower leg; then work your way back up, so that you move to the other buttock and entire leg, down and up.
Feel free to briskly rub all over every are you have cupped. You also may feel compelled to tap or lightly, rapidly stroke your face, ears, and skull. Finally, if it feels right, shake out your limbs, and then come onto all fours for the second move.
Cat/Cow continues the warm-up sequence. Because this is a time to lubricate the spine and joints before your seated meditation, let yourself begin slowly, then pick up the pace of the spinal flexes. Focus on the depth and intensity of your breath, bringing your mind more fully to the practice. Continue with your version of today’s Cat/Cow for 3 minutes.
For the final move, sit in Rock Pose (kneeling, with buttocks on the heels), or in simple crossed-leg position. Very rapidly, begin shrugging the shoulders up and dropping them down, relinquishing all physical effort and tension as the shoulders drop. Inhale up, exhale down, moving quickly: The breath pace will be close to Breath of Fire. (Breathe through the nose, eyes closed, gazing at the Third Eye). Continue for 3 minutes.
Now, having cleared and quieted your body, sit tall, hips perched on a pillow, if that helps your alignment. Bring your hands into traditional Prayer Pose, bottom knuckles of the thumbs nestled into your sternum at the Heart Center; forearms should be parallel to the ground. Your breath will alternate in the following manner: Inhale steadily and fully through your nose; exhale through your mouth. (You may breathe out through “O” lips, slightly parted lips, tongue out… whatever suits you on this day.) Then, inhale fully through the mouth, and exhale long and deep through the nose. Continue this pattern–inhale nose/exhale mouth/inhale mouth/exhale nose–for 5-7 minutes. Eyes are closed, gazing at the Third Eye.
After this initial phase of the meditation, let your hands come to rest in your lap, back of one hand resting in the other palm: Both palms face up, thumb tips touching. Allow your breath to return to its natural rhythm–no counts or adjustments: solely your own breath, on its own time. Remain in this posture, keeping the neck and spine long, and the breath flowing surely and peacefully. Eyes remain closed and intent upon the Spiritual Eye between your brows. Allow yourself to merge with your sacred center; fully experience and absorb the calm for another 7-11 minutes. Afterward, lie down in Svasana for as long as you like.