Often in practices that involve the chakras, we work with one or two of the energy vortexes as a means to address a specific physical or mental intention. Most of those routines employ movement to stimulate or balance the energy centers in question. On this Silent Sunday, however, we visit all of the chakras, or energy “wheels.” First, we engage mudra with breath at each of the vortexes; then, a full-body mudra unifies the seven centers of revitalized energy.
To begin, sit in a posture that allows total spinal alignment and a feeling of firm rootedness. To embed the sense of stability and security, place your hands—palms flat or in fists—on the floor next to the hips. As you inhale, lift your hips and legs up an inch or two; exhale, and drop the body down. Repeat these quick body drops 26 times.
Then, place the back of one hand in the palm of the other; thumb tips touch. With this mudra resting in your lap, close the eyes to gaze in and up to the Third Eye. As you inhale, pull Mula Bandha, or Root Lock: Contract the genitals and anus, akin to the sensation of a Kegel exercise. As you exhale, release the lock. Continue the inhale with squeeze, exhale to relax, for 2 minutes.
To connect to the Second, or Sacral Chakra, place the right thumb tip in (or on) the belly button; the palm rests naturally on the lower belly. Place the left hand over the right. Breathe long and deep through the nose for 2 minutes, eyes closed and gazing at the Third Eye.
Now, bring your awareness to the Third Chakra, the center of which is found at the Solar Plexus. This energy vortex provides stamina and confidence. To access this chakra, lean back 30 degrees, to the point where the abdominal muscles engage. Place the fingers in Surya Mudra: thumb tips touch ring finger tips. Rest the edges of the thumbs where your ab muscles feel most firm: The other fingers point straight ahead, and do not touch each other. Begin Breath of Fire (short, rapid, equal inhales and exhales through the nose), and continue for 2 minutes.
If you need to stretch, twist, or shake out a bit before moving on, do so: Then, return to your seated pose. Bring the hands into Lotus Mudra in front of the Heart Center, or Fourth Chakra: All fingers point up, with the edges of the pinkies touching each other, as well as the thumb edges connected to each other. With the base of the palms touching, there will be a space between the palms. Inhale, then exhale as you shoot the arms straight out to the sides, fully extended, palms facing out; inhale as you quickly bring the hands back into Lotus Mudra in front of the Heart. Continue this rhythmic movement at the level of the Fourth Chakra for 2 minutes.
To open and stimulate the Fifth, or Throat Chakra, place the hands in Venus Lock behind the heck. The fingers are interlaced, tomb tips touching. Draw the elbows back as far as you can, keeping the upper arms parallel to the ground. With eyes closed, inhale to tilt the head back slightly; exhale to tilt forward. Continue for 1 minute. Then, maintaining the arm and hand position, inhale as the head turns left; exhale to the right. Continue for another minute.
Now, shift into a squat position. If you need to place something under your heels—block, book, rolled blanket, pillow—do so. Extend the arms between the legs, and interlace the fingers; the index fingers, however, remain together and pointing straight ahead at the level of the Third Eye. With eyes open, gaze intently from the Third Eye out beyond the “arrow” of the index fingers. Begin Breath of Fire in this challenging position; continue for 2 minutes.
For the Crown, or Seventh Chakra, return to your seated pose. Bring both arms overhead; allow the elbows to bend, so that the hands float above the head, and the shoulders are relaxed. With palms down, facing the Crown, rest the left hand on the right. Close the eyes to gaze at the Third Eye, and breath fully and steadily for 2 minutes.
To begin the process of bringing all of the energy centers into complete synergy, lie on your back. Extend the legs and arms straight up to 90 degrees: hands over shoulders, feet over hips. Relax the arms and legs, and let them settle into this upside-down bug, or U shape. This position naturally soothes the nervous system, and provides the optimal environment to harmonize the chakras. Close the eyes and breathe here for 3 minutes.
Finally, draw the knees toward the chest, and rock forward and back, or side to side. Then, extend the legs long on the floor as you reach the arms long next to the ears for a full-body stretch. Inhale to stretch, exhale to relax; repeat 3-5 times. Then, with the arms and legs long, inhale: Exhale a long “Aum.” Repeat 2 more times, and then bring the arms by the sides, palms up, to move into Svasana for 5-11 minutes.