The next time you receive surprising or disconcerting news, you may want to try this short, serenity-building practice. I designed the sequence as a means to inspire acceptance and resilience with regard to a “new normal” in my life. In addition to opening the calm energy of the Heart, the routine also works to shift and expand perspective.
Additionally, the large, fluid moves stimulate full-body circulation, making this practice a great unwinding tool in the middle of a busy day, or before bed. I enjoyed moving along to a background of soft bells and chimes; feel free to choose a soundtrack that feels soothing, or opt for no music at all.
To begin, stand with your feet a natural distance apart. As you inhale, float the arms up through the front space, leading with the backs of the hands; rise up onto the toes as the arms rise. As you exhale, bend the elbows softly, turning the palms toward you, as the arms drift back down; rock back slightly on the heels as the movement finishes.
As you continue this rocking back and forth through the feet and legs, begin to sense where the neutral midpoint rests in your feet. Allow the breath to motivate the pace of the arm movement. Repeat 12-26 times, or continue for as long as the move feels good.
Next, standing with knees comfortably bent, root down into the midpoint that you discerned between the rock back and forth. Inhale as you raise the arms up through the side space, touching the inner wrists together at the top; exhale as you lower the arms down to the sides, leading with the backs of the hands, arms long (no bend in the elbows).
As the arms go up, look down (eyes open or closed); as the arms come down, look up to open and stimulate the Throat Chakra. Again, complete 12-26 sets of inhale/exhale, up/down.
Now, using the same arm movement as that in the first exercise, stagger your stance: With feet hip-width apart, place one foot 12-18 inches ahead of the other. Inhale to rock forward, coming onto the ball of the back foot (front foot remains neutral); exhale to rock back, returning the back foot to neutral as you lift the toes of the front foot, stretching the Achilles tendon and calf. Continue the rocking with accompanying arm movement for a 1-3 minutes. Switch feet, and repeat for another 1-3 minutes.
After the second rocking movement, return to the rooted “midpoint” squat. With the arms open to the sides at shoulder level, palms forward, inhale long and deep; exhale to draw the arms forward, leading with the inner wrists. Round the spine as the arms move forward to bring the wrists together; inhale and lightly flex, or arch the spine as the arms draw back to the start. Continue this Heart-opening move for 1-3 minutes.
Now, stand with the feet comfortably apart. Begin to sway side to side, and allow the arms to follow, moving mellifluously through space in the form of a Figure 8, or Eternity Sign. Let yourself disappear into the move, intuitively spiraling the arms at different levels all around you. This clearing of your magnetic field will help to dispel doubt and promote insight and understanding. Continue for 1-3 minutes.
To finish, place your hands at the Heart Center in Namaste (Prayer Pose). Close your eyes, gazing at the Third Eye. If your neck allows, tilt the head back slightly; lift the chest, bringing a gentle arch into the upper spine. Feel the reassurance and support of the Universe moving through your mind, your heart, and your spirit. Breathe deeply into the awakened inner peace; if you like, bring the Prayer Mudra into a seated posture, head neutral, for a period of stillness. Finally, move into svasana, so that you may fully integrate the soothing stability of the flow.