Full disclosure: i am not feeling “deep” today. A strange weariness has come over me, one that has nearly sapped me of the energy to do anything about it. This is not a physical fatigue, nor an existential angst: Rather, I have been watching the world and those that I love in it swirl with its ever-changing circumstances; the never-ending cycle of events—be they beneficial or detrimental, joy-provoking or heart-rending—can be wearying.
In the midst of this typical array of earthly goings-on—and in the midst of my increasing tiring of their demands—I received the weekly inspirational talk from Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship. Lo and behold, the title of the service was: “Are We Letting Life’s Circumstance Control Us?”
Tellingly, the talk was from 2019: That the topic is as applicable today (if not moreso) as a couple of years ago (pre-pandemic, nonetheless) is a solid reminder that Life never stops presenting new—and reconfiguring familiar—circumstances. What a stroke of luck that I was presented with the wisdom of the service just as I needed its encouragement.
Cut to this morning, when I had expected to listen to the talk in full. Instead, I turned it on, and within moments, turned it off. Somehow, I did not want words: To wrangle with how-to-wrangle seemed like an additional mental drag on an already sodden brain.
But I knew I needed something to roust me out of world-weariness. Further, I yearned to connect with divine wisdom and its protective guidance: Therein, for me, tends to lie the surest source of renewal—the fount of energy that inevitably restores vitality on all levels.
Thus, the following practice: It is one meant to rebuild you when you may not know why you need restoration. If you do, however, have a sense of why you feel the need to shore up your hardiness, keep your mind attuned to your circumstances as you proceed through the unusual flow. Your situation likely will shift in significance, or your perspective may starkly alter.
If you simply want to adjust an “off” feeling, be fully conscious of three things as you practice: closed-eye gaze to the Third Eye; sound and steadiness of your breath; and the vibration of your physical sensations. In this way, the body become the mind: Let the physical lead you further within, so that mental yields to metaphysical yields to spiritual.
Begin on your knees, with the forearms on the floor in front of you: a variation of all-fours. Forearms are shoulder-width apart and parallel to each other, palms flat on the ground. As you inhale, shift the body forward; exhale to slide back. Inhale to slide the angled torso toward the hands; exhale as you shift the body back, moving the hips toward the feet. Continue for about a minute.
Bring yourself to a stop. Draw the forearms in, so that the elbows touch their respective knees. Raise the hands and forearms, and bring the palms together to create Prayer Mudra: Rest your Third Eye on the edges of the thumbs. Simply remain here, eyes closed and gazing to the Third Eye, breathing slowly and fully through the nose. If you like, use the edges or base knuckles of the thumbs to massage the Third Eye. Remain here for 1 minute.
Next, shift yourself as needed, in order to place the crown of the head on the floor. (You are still on the knees and shins.) Bring the arms behind you, interlace the fingers, and stretch the arms straight up and away from the back. The more you extend and lift through the arms, the less pressure you will feel on the head. Take 5 full breaths here.
Now, gently release back toward Baby Pose. Instead of fully settling the buttocks onto the heels, however, thread the hands through the legs from behind, bringing them into Prayer Mudra between the knees on the floor. The forearms thus will be between the thighs and calves: Release your weight onto the arms, thereby giving a surprise pressure-massage to the calf muscles. Rest here, breathing deeply, for about 1 minute.
From the enfolded Baby Pose, release the arms, so that you can once again come onto the crown of the head for the previous Yoga Mudra posture (i.e., interlaced hands behind, arms extended straight up). Now add an extra shift, one designed to remind you of your ability to remain balanced amidst challenge. From your perch on the lower legs and crown, with arms behind you, raise the lower legs and feet off of the floor. You are now perched solely on the crown and knees. Breathe deeply here for 30-60 seconds, then slowly ease your way out of the posture, coming to rest in traditional Baby Pose.
After a few deep, settling breaths in Baby Pose, slide yourself forward to come onto the belly. Resting on the forehead, with the arms by the sides, palms down, begin to bump the body up and down: Inhale to lift the belly and hips away from the floor; exhale to drop the torso down. Repeat for a total of 26 bumps.
Next, turn over to lie on your back. Once again, bump the body up and down: Inhale to lift the thighs, hips, and most of the torso up; exhale to drop it down. The primary points of support when you lift are the heels and shoulders: Inhale as you press those points down to lift the body; exhale to release effort as you drop the body. Repeat, as before, for a total of 26 drops.
Finally, having bent and bowed to meet and overcome your specific challenge or non-specific dis-ease; then having catapulted its attendant energy from your system; you now can welcome and infuse your being with all that the Universe and the Divine have to sustain you. On your back, extend the arms straight up, and then open about 30 degrees to each side: The arms are in a wide V, creating a conduit to the Heart Center. Stretch the fingers wide apart, and bring your closed eyes to the Third Eye. Send your sensory awareness to the center of each palm, wherein lies a powerful acupressure point for Heart energy. Inhale, drawing a renewed spiritual vibration through this point and into the Heart; exhale to resound the energy within. Breathe and visualize in this way for as long as you like, and then lower the arms to ease into Svasana, also for as long as you like.