Today’s practice picks up where yesterday’s discussion about the changes so far wrought in 2020 left off. As noted in that piece, we as a country have entered a critical period: Not only do we need to remain cautious and smart with regard to COVID-19, the need to maintain a vigilant presence and demand action concerning race relations must persist. From an energetic standpoint, the circumstances require focus, clarity, and a calm determination. To that end, this Silent Sunday offers the opportunity to strengthen and balance the Liver: Associated with vision—figurative and literal—and anger (when out of balance), a healthy Liver system supplies the qualities needed to adapt to the powerful energy of 2020.
Special note: To prepare the body and mind for the practice, I suggest a cleansing and anointing ritual. First, gently bathe the eyes: If you have eye drops, take a moment to clear the eyes. Or, if you prefer, dampen a tissue with warm water; then, delicately clean the inner corners and dab around the lash lines of both eyes.
Follow the eye bath with an essential oil treatment to some Liver meridian points. A combination of lavender and chamomile works well; thyme and/or another floral may be used, too. In a carrier oil (e.g., jojoba), add a few drops of your preferred oil(s). Then, on both feet, massage the oil into the Big Toe, and into the long dip—including the web—between the first and second toes. If you do not have or do not want to use oil, still take the time to stimulate the points with massage.
Now you are ready to begin. The magic number for the practice is 6: Except for one, all moves will see 6 repetitions. To start, stand with feet together, eyes open, arms by the sides. As you inhale, step the right foot to the right about 18 inches; as you do so, rotate the arms to face the palms forward (still down by the thighs). Look directly to the right: Find a focal point upon which to direct a firm gaze. Exhale to return center, bringing the palms back to neutral; focus the eyes straight forward. Repeat to the left. Open to each side 6 times.
Next, cross the left leg in front of the right, knitting them closely together. If this topples your balance, place the left foot in front of the right, heel to toe. Inhale to stretch the left arm up by the left ear, palm facing out (i.e., to the left); exhale to stretch to the right. Inhale up, exhale back to start. Switch the position of the feet, and stretch to the left, high palm facing to the right. Repeat 6 times to each side.
From standing, ease your way into a gentle forward bend; you may bend your knees. With both hands, sweep up the inside of the legs as you inhale; as you exhale, move the hands from the inner groin to the outside of the hips, and sweep the palms down the outer thighs and legs. Repeat 6 sweeps up the inside as you inhale, and down the outside as you exhale. Think of this move as a clearing of any Liver stagnancy or blockages.
Now, squat down into a crouch. The legs and feet are hip width or slightly wider, with the knees angled out a bit. Reach both arms through the legs; extend them straight out. Interlace the fingers with the index fingers pointing straight ahead; align the hands with the eyes, and gaze fiercely at or beyond the extended fingers. Here, do Breath of Fire for 1 minute.
From the crouch, come onto your back, knees bent, feet on the floor. Inhale to roll the spine up off of the floor; exhale to roll down, vertebra by vertebra. Repeat 5 more times for total of 6.
Next, tuck the knees in toward the body as closely as you can. Inhale: Exhale as you bring the knees to the floor on the right. Inhale to come back center; exhale to bring the knees down to the left. Repeat the twist 6 times to each side.
Finally, extend the legs out for rest. Before you enter full Svasana, take a moment to massage the base of each index finger. Rub and press all around the knuckle and into the webbing: This area is a reflexology point for the eyes. When you feel that you have sufficiently relaxed the point, ease into full Svasana for as long as you like.