Today’s Silent Sunday title is a slight misnomer: “…of the day” could just as easily read, “…of the week, month, or moment.” Whenever you feel that you have not quite shaken or moved through an unsettling circumstance or physical disturbance (e.g., bug, stress, headache, etc.), the following practice will jettison any remaining slog from your system.
To begin, stand with the feet a comfortable distance apart. As you inhale long, deep, and steadily, rise on to the toes; simultaneously, raise the arms to the side and overhead, bringing them shoulder-width apart. Exhale forcefully as the arms drop straight down, like heavy weights; at the same time, drop the heels back to the floor. Complete the inhale with arm and heel raise, followed by the drop of arms and heels on the exhale, 12 times.
From standing, bend forward at the waist, bringing the torso parallel to the ground: If you need to bend the knees slightly, feel free; it also helps to push the buttocks back slightly, rather than keeping them directly over the heels. In this position, keeping the head in line with the spine, begin to swing the arms back and forth, strongly and rapidly: Alternate the arms, so that when the right one swings forward to head level, the left is swinging back to the level of the hip. Continue this energetic movement for 1 minute, breathing powerfully through the nose, joining the inhale and exhale to each swing forward and back.
The second half of the above move entails moving the arms out to the sides. Begin with the arms hanging loosely down from the shoulders. Inhale as you open them wide to the sides, to the level of the body at shoulder level; exhale as you let gravity swing them down, crossing them as they drop down in front of the body. Move freely, letting momentum take over the movement. Continue for 1 minute.
Now, find Downward Dog. Raise the right leg up behind you, bringing it into a long line with the torso and arms. Begin Breath of Fire (rapid, equal inhales and exhales through the nose); continue for 1 minute. Then, lower the right leg, raise the left, and do Breath of Fire for another minute. Eyes may be open or closed; do what comes naturally.
From Down Dog, lower yourself onto all fours, and then onto the belly. With the arms by the sides, palms down against the floor, rest the forehead on the ground. In this position, begin to “jump” the body up and down. Everything from chest to knees should lift as you inhale the body up; exhale to drop the body down. Continue vigorously for 1 minute. (As always, modify your position, and/or add padding where necessary to be able to complete the exercise.)
Next, press back for a few deep, settling breaths in Baby Pose; then, roll up to sit. Here you have some posture options. I prefer to sit between my heels, although I actually sit on a block or pillow, with my feet resting to the side of their respective hips. Sometimes, I choose to sit with my legs stretched out front. You may prefer to sit crossed-leg, or if possible, in full Lotus pose. Regardless of your choice, you will do Body Drops; the move is said to reset and stabilize the nervous system in preparation for or in response to a shock. It also shakes free any physical or emotional “detritus of the day.”
In your chosen position, place the hands by the hips; the palms may be flat on the ground, or you may fist your hands to support the wrists. Inhale as you lift the buttocks up; exhale to drop the body down. Continue at a rapid pace for 1 minute, allowing the body to really plunk down upon the exhale.
To close your practice, remain in your seated posture. With eyes closed, gazing inwardly up to the Third Eye, bring the arms straight overhead. Interlace the fingers, squeezing the palms together, and extend the index fingers straight up and together. Think of opening and lifting through the armpits, yet encouraging the shoulder blades to slide down the back. In this powerful position, inhale long and deep; exhale just as steadily and completely. Repeat 2 more times, for a total of three breaths. On your final exhale, release the hands and sweep the arms down through the side space. Keeping the eyes closed, ease your way into Svasana, and rest for 5-11 minutes.