Silent Sundays: Joint Effort–Introduction

For a few months, I have been contemplating a piece about the joints. The first time that I addressed this perhaps undervalued component of the physical body was in 2018: “The Heat Is On “ provided a practice to cope with sweltering Summer temperatures and humidity’s effect on the joints.

https://everythingelsa.blog/2018/05/26/the-heat-is-on-water-bug-treatment-to-ease-joint-pain-from-humidity/ 

At the time, I was in the early throes of osteoarthritis, but did not know it. Because I was—and am—a very physically active person, I dismissed the sudden, sharp pain in my right hip to having “moved the wrong way.” When the acute phase passed into an intermittent, dull ache, my bodyworker self assumed that I could apply what I knew and remedy the situation over time.

I wrote that first post about joint pain five months after the first mysterious flare-up. Several months later—nearly a year in—the left hip began to display similar discomfort. When I finally sought chiropractic help, that practitioner recognized textbook symptoms of arthritis and suggested I see an orthopedic specialist.

After the official diagnosis, I endured another year-plus of increasingly debilitating pain. During this time, I had no choice but to reduce beloved movements, then those that were “functional”: To stand, bend, sit up or down, or turn over in bed became a dreaded effort.

This trip back through that challenging time leads to this Silent Sunday. Having experienced the rigors of osteoarthritis for nearly three years—and now rejoicing in the privilege of pain-free movement after a double hip replacement last year—I am more aware than ever that the body requires constant monitoring and maintenance. 

More significantly, I have developed a deep reverence for the esoteric underpinnings of anatomical structures.

When one is young and healthy—or older and without physical concern—the goal of movement tends to be one of having fun, pushing boundaries, and muscling through feats of endurance.

That there are unexplored realms within any given anatomical feature that factor into “what makes us go” may be rarely considered.

My own fascination with the wealth of information hidden within joints—specifically those of the hips—was expressed in the following piece that I wrote post-surgery. Included within the post is a visualization and meditation practice, should you want to more deeply explore the potential that lies within your joints:

https://everythingelsa.blog/2021/05/16/silent-sundays-pockets-of-change/

Finally, it may be helpful to supply some learned background. For example, joints, according to Louise L. Hay in her book, “You Can Heal Your Life,” reflect the ability to change directions in Life. If stricken with arthritis, joints may reveal the presence of underlying resentment.

Further, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, joints align most closely with the Wood element. Wood, associated with the Liver and Gall Bladder organ systems, corresponds with movement, and is demonstrated by the qualities of a “pioneer”: 

Action compels the Pioneer. …The urge to get things moving, make things happen, and voyage onward typifies the Pioneer. … [When thwarted,] what was once a gratifying challenge can become an aggravating distress…

The above description (from Beinfield and Korngold’s “Between Heaven and Earth”) reinforces the notion of joints as agents of change. When one’s plans and anticipation of newness go unmet, resentment may build: thus, Hay’s note of arthritis as a reflection of that disappointment.

Another, not-well-known aspect of the joints—indeed, of the whole body’s hidden realms—is that of marmas. Marmas, according to Frawley, Ranande, and Lele in their book, “Ayurveda and Marma Therapy,” are sensitive pressure points that correspond with specific parts of the body; however, the reach and complexity of a marma surpasses any localized position. While marmas can be used to address a physical or psychosomatic condition, they also connect to the subtle nerves and energy centers of the body (nadis and chakras, respectively).

As stated in the book, “Marmas are classified by their dominant physical constituents as muscle, vessel, ligament, joint, or bone-based regions, [and as such], mark the junction of the body with the mind. … Treating them can release negative emotions and remove mental blockages, including those of a subconscious nature.”

With regard to the above information, one begins to understand how the joints are a significant representative of the often unplumbed depths of the physical body. When their function goes awry, it is not only mundane activity that is affected: unresolved emotions and conflicts, latent fears and dormant dreams—one’s history of being rises up and requires reckoning.

Next time: Joint Effort—A More-Than-Movement Practice

Happy Sunday…

New Audio Practice! Mend The Mind

After a day of recognizing the mind’s power to usher in both darkness and light, I created the newest follow-along practice to balance the brain and harmonize the mind.

Should you ever contend with anxiety, sleep disorders–terrors, insomnia–or distracted thinking, the movements and meditation will help you get back on track.

Head to: anchor.fm/ellen-sanders-robinson

Silent Sundays: Release The Day

I am an “early bird”: Most of my meditation, yoga, writing, and administrative tasks occur in the pre-dawn hours. Often, the practices I create reflect my morning tendencies, in that I typically think of them as a way to enter a day, or provide a midday boost. This Silent Sunday, however, moves its intention to day’s end. 

Many of us feel the need to recalibrate physical and mental energies by the time evening arrives. Today’s practice upends the body to soothe and center both body and mind. Further, the sequence of moderate, accessible inversions stimulate blood and lymph flow, and relieve the pressure of body weight from beleaguered joints.

The supine base for each move resets the spine and core, lending to a feeling of balance and stability. Try any or all of these moves when you need to clear a foggy brain; restore the body; or thoroughly shift mood or perspective.

Begin on your back in a variation of Constructive Rest pose: feet flat, a little wider than hip width, with knees falling in and resting against each other. Cross the arms atop the body; note which arm lies on top of the other. With eyes closed, inhale through the nose for 6-8 counts; exhale through the rounded lips, slow and steady, for 10-12 beats.

Complete 4 rounds of this breath pattern.

Then, inhale deeply. Suspend the breath while you change into the next posture: Release the arms to the floor by your sides, palms up; lift the feet off of the floor, tucking the knees in toward the body. Exhale through the nose to settle into this supine tuck with relaxed arms. 

Now, repeat the initial breath pattern: 4 rounds of inhaling through the nose for 6-8 beats; exhaling through the mouth for 10-12 counts.

Again, inhale through the nose, and suspend the breath. Move into the next inversion: legs extend straight up from the hips, and arms extend straight up from the shoulders. Exhale deeply through the nose to set the pose, known as Dead Bug. The posture soothes and resets the nervous system.

Engage the now-familiar breath pattern again. After 4 rounds, inhale to suspend the breath, so that you can find the fourth inversion: legs open wide into a straddle, while arms come to shoulder level, extended to either side, palms up. Complete another 4 rounds of the extended-exhale breath pattern.

Now you will reverse the sequence. In this portion, breathe naturally, according to your body’s rhythm, in and out through the nose. Remain in each position until your body tells you to switch. To allow kinesthetic intuition to be your guide will further restore balance.

From the inverted wide-leg straddle, shift into Dead Bug: arms and legs straight up, perpendicular to the torso. Breathe fully, eyes closed.

When you are ready, move into the bent-knee tuck with arms on the floor by your sides. 

Upon the body’s cue, resume the original posture: Constructive Rest. This time, cross the opposite arm on top of the other. Remain here as long as you like.

When it feels right to you, release the pose, and prepare for Half-Bridge. With feet flat, and feet and knees now hip-width apart, roll up through the spine to elevate the hips. Interlace the fingers under the Bridge, and stretch the arms long on the floor beneath you. 

Return to the counted breath while keeping the hips lifted: Inhale through the nose for 6-8 counts, exhale through mouth for 10-12. Complete 4 rounds.

Then, roll down out of the posture, and lengthen both legs onto the floor. Gently help yourself into Reclined Twist: Draw the left knee in toward the body, and use the right hand to guide the knee across the body toward the floor on your right. Take 3-5 natural breaths here.

Repeat to the other side.

Finally, allow your mind and body to sink into Svasana for as long as you like.

Happy End-of-Sunday…

New Treasure Trove Audio!

An audio practice, culled from three past Everything Elsa posts, is now available at: anchor.fm/ellen-sanders-robinson

“Bounty!” hones in on the Second and Fifth chakras. Together, these two energy centers stoke creative energy and facilitate its expression.

Physically, the practice will ease tension in the neck and low back, while giving a strengthening boost to the lower abdominals.

PodClass! “Halfsies” Audio Version

Today’s post has two purposes. First, if you would like to follow along to the Silent Sunday practice, “Halfsies,” it is now available at: anchor.fm/ellen-sanders-robinson

The routine offers a way to “put the pieces back together” when you feel physically off-center or mentally foggy. The five movement sequences will restore balance and improve concentration.

As for the second bit of news: The Everything Elsa Podcast on anchor.fm will now be called the Everything Elsa PodClass. Each episode is, in essence, a short (typically 15-120 minutes) taught practice; therefore, the name change speaks more directly to the content.

’Til next time…

Silent Sundays: Halfsies–Restore Balance and Concentration

Special note: This Silent Sunday practice will be available tomorrow (Monday, June 6, 2022) in its audio version. If you would like to follow along in “real time,” visit: anchor.fm/ellen-sanders-robinson.

Today’s Silent Sunday offers a chance to “get it together.” Often, after a period of high stress or activity—or, conversely, too little stimulation—the body and mind can feel off-kilter: wayward energies, sluggish or tense muscles, distracted or low concentration. At such times, a rebuilding is necessary.

The following practice will reorganize and reconnect physical and mental energies, leaving you feeling strong and centered, with a renewed ability to concentrate.

Each of the 5 “halfsie” sequences will be followed by the movement or posture in full. In this way, the body will be reminded of its inherent tendency toward balance, while the mind will integrate the fortifying results of its intense concentration. 

Begin standing. Very simply, do shoulder circles on the left side only. Move slowly and purposefully: Inhale to lift the shoulder up and open it back; exhale slowly to draw the shoulder down, under, and forward. Do 5 circles backward, then reverse to 5 forward circles.

Reminder: To move the circle forward, inhale to lift the shoulder and push it forward; exhale to move it down, back, and up.

Repeat with the right shoulder, still moving the shoulder through its discernible range of motion. Again, complete 5 backward and 5 forward circles.

Close the sequence with simultaneous circles of both shoulders, 3 back and 3 forward. 

Still standing, inhale to raise the left knee up toward the body, holding the lower leg or ankle (hip/hamstring release).  Exhale to bend the right knee, so that you sink into a half-squat.

Inhale up, and “swing” the left leg back, drawing the heel toward the left buttock (quad stretch). Again, exhale into the squat.

This is one set: 2 squats, first with the hamstring stretch, then with the thigh stretch. 

Repeat 4 more times for a total of 5 sets on the right standing leg. 

Then, shift the sequence to the other side: balance and squat on the left, with the right leg alternating between hip and quad stretch. Again, do a total of 5 sets on the left.

When you have finished, stand with feet hip width apart. Squat as deeply and fluidly as you can 3 times. On the final squat, stay down with knees bent, and let the body come forward and down into a modified Standing Forward Bend. Hang, and shake loose any residual tension for a few deep breaths.

Now, help yourself down onto all fours. Here, beginning from neutral, inhale into Cow: Arch the spine deeply, lifting the tail and looking forward. Exhale to return only to neutral. Repeat 5 more times for a total of 6 Cow spinal extensions.

After the sixth Cow, exhale all the way into Cat: Pass through neutral to deeply round, or flex, the spine. Let the head hang and the tail curl down. Inhale to neutral, exhale into Cat. Repeat for a total of 6 Cat spinal flexions.

Complete the sequence with 3 full Cat/Cow movements: Inhale to arch into Cow, exhale to round into Cat. 

Next, lower yourself onto the belly. Bend both legs and reach back to hold the ankles. Inhale to raise only the upper body away from the floor; exhale to lower. Repeat 4 more times.

Then, move to the lower half: Inhale to raise the legs; exhale to lower. Repeat 4 more times.

To complete this sequence, find Full Bow. Inhale to raise the upper body; stay up as you exhale to lift the lower body to join the upper. Remain fully lifted as you take 5 full breaths in the posture. Then release, and shift back into Baby Pose for a few breaths.

From Baby Pose, slowly sit up, and help yourself onto your back. Extend both legs into the air.

Keep the right leg straight up. Inhale, then exhale to lower the straight left leg at least halfway down, more if you feel strong. Continue the exhale as you retract the left knee in toward the body.

Inhale to straighten the left leg back up to its original position. Exhale to lower it down and draw the knee in.

After 6 repetitions of the move, reverse the flow. From the starting point of both legs straight up, inhale bend the left knee down toward the body; exhale to straighten it out several inches above the ground and back up to the start. Repeat 5 more times for a total of 6.

This is Half-Water Wheel, left side. After completing 6 repetitions in both directions, switch to the right side. The left leg will remain straight in the air as the right leg moves. Again, do 6 in each direction.

When you have finished, let both legs extend straight up. Do Full Water Wheel—both legs moving as one: First, inhale, then exhale to lower both legs and draw the knees in. Inhale to straighten them back up; exhale to lower and retract the knees; and so forth. Complete 3 in this direction, then reverse the trajectory for another 3 repetitions.

To close this portion of the practice, do simple reclining twist. On your back. both legs long on the floor, inhale to draw the right knee in; exhale to move it across the body toward the floor on the left side. Feel free to use the left hand to guide the knee.

Inhale back through center: Exhale to release the right leg. Inhale to draw the left knee in; exhale to guide it over to the right. Inhale to center; exhale to release.

Repeat 2 more times, for a total of 3 twists to each side.

Now, help yourself into your preferred position for meditation. Bring both hands to hover in front of the Heart Center, palms facing each other, but slightly apart, not touching. 

Inhale deeply to slowly, effortlessly float the hands apart about 6-10 inches. Exhale to slowly return them to center. Breathe and move in this soft way for 1 minute.

Finally, connect hands in Prayer Mudra, and rest the thumb sides of the hands directly on the Heart Center. With eyes closed and gazing at the Third Eye, breathe naturally. Allow the bolstering, balancing energies that you have created integrate into the mind and body. Remain here for as long as you like.

Happy Sunday…

Silent Sundays: Rewind To Move Forward

With the recent passing of a dear friend’s tiny furry family member, I once again feel compelled to address the transitional pain of Grief. In homage to my love for my friend and my love for her “Gracie,” this Silent Sunday revisits past posts—some quite recent, others less so—in which I addressed the upheaval of Heart energy that occurs with the often-bewildering process of grieving. Perhaps among the mix, you will find a piece or two to soothe, center or uplift your own heart, whatever its current state.

From: Grief—The Process

When Grief arrives, you may feel submerged in its torrent. Remember that you have inner resources and external outlets. Pray, if that feels right to you; be still and go quiet, perhaps outside; get down and dirty with ugly thoughts and feelings, and then make peace with yourself for doing so; and finally, watch yourself. Take a beat, step back, and observe yourself with the eyes and heart you would use with a dear friend. Handle yourself with the most tender, most loving care.

From: Befriend Your Heart

Because you are preparing yourself to work with the heart, you may want to add a simple bit of qigong. There is a qi point in the center of the palm, between the middle and ring finger metacarpals: With the thumb tip of the opposite hand, lightly press the point and rotate counter-clockwise in a tiny circle. To outside eyes, the movement would be imperceptible; it is as if you are guiding the circle with your mental intention as much as by physical movement. Continue for a minute or so, then repeat on the other hand. Breathe long and deep as you move the Heart qi.

From: Grief—The Practice

The [following] moves activate Root and Heart energy, thereby providing a sense of security and hopefulness.

In the post (also available as an audio practice at anchor.fm/ellen-sanders-robinson), I suggested several movements and a meditation. The idea was to select that which resonates with your personal need at any given time in the grieving process. Two that may be helpful at any point along the way are: Body Drops, and a Supported Forward Bend.

To “drop the body,” I.e., dislodge and free stagnant Root energy, sit with the legs extended straight in front of you. With the hands by the hips—palms flat or in fists—inhale: Press down into the hands to lift the hips (and possibly legs) off of the ground. Exhale to suddenly drop the body down. Inhale up, exhale down 10-20 times.

Then, to soothe and secure the Heart, ease into a Supported Forward Bend. Still seated with legs straight ahead, slip a pillow or rolled blanket under the knees. Place another pillow or folded blanket on the thighs. Bring your body forward and down onto the covered legs. With eyes closed, breathe naturally, yet consciously. Simply attune to the physical seat of the Heart, guiding it into a soft, safe accord with the breath. Remain here for as long as you like.

From: Heavy Heart? Lighten The Load

I suggest the following meditation to honor and bolster your Heart, however it may be feeling.

The power of Prayer Mudra (Anjali Mudra) can not be overstated, nor can the value of your breath and focus. To that end, find a version of Prayer Mudra that resonates with your current Heart energy: traditional palms together at Heart Center; or, backs of hands together (Reverse Prayer), fingers pointed up or down.

Hold the mudra at Heart or Head or elsewhere. Allow this to be a choice guided by intuition: When we can surrender to a suggestion from the Universe, Truth responds to that reverence. As the Heart detects that devotion, its vibration strengthens.

Then, with eyes closed, gaze up to the Third Eye. Inhale through this spiritual portal; exhale into the Mudra. Take the next breath in through the mudra, and exhale out through the Third Eye and beyond. In this way, you begin a cycle of renewal and understanding with the Universe and its eternal Truth. Immerse yourself in the process for as long as you like.

From my Heart to yours:

Happy Sunday…

Silent Sundays: Peaceful Practice

This Silent Sunday morning follows a day of fierce heat and humidity: that which stifles breath, leadens the body, and stultifies the mind. Fortunately, those states were short-lived, as last night ushered in powerful thunderstorms. The temperature and suffocating air were forced to surrender to the bellowing skies.

The rapid shift from one extreme to the other has left a stillness in its wake. This is the kind of day that calls for inner expansion and breath born of gratitude. As such, I offer a practice to infuse the body with a mellifluous vibration, which in turn will allow the mind and spirit to soar.

Begin seated, on the ground or in a chair. With eyes closed, take the inner gaze to the bottom of the spine. As you inhale through the nose, guide the breath up the entire front of the spine.

Pause when the closed eyes reach the Third Eye. Then, as you exhale, press the tongue up into the roof of the mouth, moving the exhale up to and then through the Crown. Let the breath move up and away into the air around you.

Inhale again, this time drawing in fresh air through the Crown and into the Third Eye.

Exhale to send the breath down the rear cross-section of the spine, all the way to the Root.

Repeat the two-part breath with visualization 2 more times.

Now, lie on your belly. Make light fists of both hands, and snuggle them under the groin; the forehead rests on the floor. Lift both legs several inches, and breathe deeply. Remain here for 1 minute.

Then, lower the legs, and press up into Sphinx Pose on the forearms. Here, begin Sitali Breath: Curl the tongue into a tube, and extend it out through the lips. (If you are unable to curl the tongue, stick it out slightly through the parted lips.) Inhale through the tongue “straw” (or parted lips); close the lips to breathe out through the nose. Continue for 1 minute, eyes open or closed as suits you best in the moment.

From Sphinx, press up onto all fours, and then shift into Downward Dog. Let the emphasis be on the inverted quality of the posture, rather than a perfected pose. Come onto the balls of the feet, so that you can “wag” the hips from side to side with ease. Continue for 30-60 seconds.

Then, walk the feet toward the hands; you will be in a Forward Bend. Inhale, then exhale to lower the hips into a squat, as deep as you can go: Aim to settle the bottom behind the heels.

Inhale to straighten the legs into Forward Bend; exhale to lower into Squat. You will create a tipping action of the entire torso: upright in the Squat; inverted in the Forward Bend. Tip yourself up and down—inhale Forward Bend, exhale Squat—30 times.

Special note: This is a challenging movement whose benefits are well worth the effort. The combination of inversion and rootedness stimulates each chakra, highlighting Root and Crown. As such, the move invokes stability and calm, paired with an exuberant feeling of elevation.

Finish the above movement in Squat, and shift into a seated position on the ground, crossed-leg or legs extended straight in front of you. 

Bring the arms overhead to press the palms together. Tension and tightness in the shoulders and arms may make it challenging to keep the palms as one; feel free to lock one thumb over the other to help join the palms. 

Straighten the arms as best you can, and begin to twist from side to side. This movement is often referred to as Washing Machine in kundalini yoga. Inhale to twist the entire torso with raised arms to the left; exhale right. It can take a minute or so to help the body understand and accommodate the movement, so spend at least 2 minutes with the twist.

Then, release the arms, and bring the hands behind the neck in Venus Lock (fingers interlaced, one thumb over the other). Consciously let the shoulders release down away from the neck; open the elbows back as best you can. Breathe here through the nose, eyes closed and gazing to the Third Eye, for 1 minute.

Now, ease onto your back, close the eyes, and extend the arms and legs straight up: arms directly above the shoulders; legs directly above the hips. 

Here, inhale through the sole of the left foot, and guide the breath to the low belly; exhale into this Second Chakra area. 

Repeat on the right: Inhale through the sole, and bring the breath down through the leg; exhale into the low belly. 

Shift your inner gaze to the palm of the left hand. Inhale to guide the breath down through the arm, moving to the Heart Center; exhale to infuse the Heart Chakra with breath.

Repeat on the right: Inhale into the palm, sending the breath through the arm to the Heart; exhale fully into the Heart Chakra.

Now, release the arms and legs, moving into position for Svasana. Take 3 more conscious, guided breaths: Inhale into the Third Eye; exhale to allow the breath to flow deep within. Repeat 2 more times.

Then, enjoy full, simple Svasana for as long as you like.

Happy Sunday…

Temper The Times (Plus Audio)

Special note: The following practice was created in response to the recent racially motivated attack in Buffalo, NY. The moves, however, will help to ground and fortify you anytime your inner or outer environment is shaken. You can find the audio version of the practice at: anchor.fm/ellen-sanders-robinson

Shock and shifts may build adaptability and resilience. They also, however, can strain and deplete inner resources. Even the most even-keeled or optimistic person can be rattled by uncertainty, be it personal or societal. The following practice is designed to soothe jagged nerves, lighten burdened hearts, and promote a sense of agency.

To begin, stand with your feet a natural distance apart. Cross the arms beneath the breasts, so that each hand rests on the opposite side ribs. With eyes closed, bend the knees slightly; drop the weight of your body down, releasing the full load into the feet.

With your awareness now in the feet, begin a subtle rock forward and back, toe to heel. Keep the movement slow and small; stay aware of the feeling in the soles of the feet. With each shift into the toes, inhale: exhale to rock back into the heels. Continue for 30-60 seconds.

Take a full breath in the neutral center stance. Then, begin the same steady, slow sway, this time side to side. Keep the body as one, shifting the entire form from left to right sides of the feet. Again, focus on the feet. Inhale left, exhale right, for another minute or so.

Then, unite the two directions to move in a clockwise circle. Shift to the left, forward into the toes and right, then back into the heels and over to the left. Continue for 1 minute.

Switch directions, so that you circle counter-clockwise around the perimeter of the feet for 1 more minute.

Now, close the movement by releasing the arms to the sides; stand naturally, knees no longer bent.

Interlace the hands behind the back, and straighten them down, lengthening through the elbows. Look up, opening the eyes to focus on a spot above you. Breathe deeply, in and out through the nose, 3-5 times. 

Next, back in neutral standing, bend the right knee, and step the left leg straight back, heel flat. With both arms extended straight up from the shoulders (palms facing each other), begin to raise and lower the left heel. Inhale up, exhale down, 8 times.

Then, switch sides. The left knee bends as the right leg reaches back. Again, complete 8 heel lifts.

Return to neutral standing. Bring the hands in front of the Heart Center; the palms face each other, a few inches apart. Soften the hands, as if to hold a ball of light.

Inhale: As you exhale, bend the right knee. Press down into the left foot to slide the left leg straight to the side. Keep the body upright. As the leg glides to the left, the hands move apart; let them float away from each other until you reach the apex of the leg glide.  

Inhale to drag the leg back in as the right knee straightens, and the hands move back toward each other. Repeat to the other side.

Exhale to bend the left knee, slide the right leg out, and float the hands apart. Inhale to return to center, and continue the flowing, strengthening, Heart-centered movement, alternating sides each time. Inhale in the center position, exhale to either side. Complete 10 sets (wherein a set is one glide to each side).

Again stand in neutral. Interlace the fingers behind you, extending the arms straight down. Bend the knees, and move into a modified Forward Bend. Raise the arms up toward the ceiling. Breathe here for 3-5 full breaths.

When you are ready, release down onto the floor, and ease into Baby Pose. Stay here for up to 1 minute, arms where you like, breathing through the nose.

Now, shift onto all fours, and then into Plank. You may assume a modified version on your knees, or move into Full Plank. In either case, breathe long and deep through the nose for 1 minute.

From Plank, move to “stand” on the knees. Inhale to backbend slightly toward Camel, letting the arms open to the sides in a wide V; exhale to shift the hips back, so that you can bow down and touch the head to the floor. Let the arms swing down and back to each side. Inhale up into the modified Camel with V arms; exhale down. Repeat 3 more times for a total of 5 rise-and-bow’s.

Next, help yourself onto your back. Extend both legs straight into the air; flex the feet, pulling the toes down toward the body as you push powerfully up through the heels. Let the weight of the legs drop into the hips and low back; feel strongly rooted here.

With eyes closed, rest the right palm on the low belly, thumb tip on the navel point. The left hand rests on the Heart Center. Breathe here for up to 1 minute.

Now, release the legs down, and help yourself up to sit in your preferred position for meditation.

Bring the hands in front of the body at about chest level. Interlace the fingers, and turn the palms up; touch the thumb tips together. Without tilting the head forward, gaze down through barely open eyes toward the tip of the nose. You may or may not see part of the mudra. Breathe fully through the nose, gazing down, for 1 minute.

Finally, rest the hands in the lap, palms up. Let one hand rest in the palm of the other; again, connect the thumb tips.

With eyes closed, curl the tongue back to touch the rear upper palate. Inhale through slightly parted lips. As you do so, guide the breath up the spine from base to Third Eye. 

Close the lips, maintaining the tongue position, and exhale through the nose. As you breathe out, send the breath down the spine, from Third Eye to root.

Continue breathing in this slight variation of a technique taught by Paramahansa Yogananda for 1-3 minutes.

Feel free to remain seated or in Svasana for as long as you like.

Silent Sundays: Express Ticket (Plus Audio!)

On this Silent Sunday, I won’t be. (Silent, that is…)

To forsake a dedicated ritual for even one day is a little disorienting. It does, however, offer the opportunity to practice the aim of the Silent Sunday discipline: Let no earthly distraction detract from awareness of and connection to the divine realm.

Because this disruption of silence includes a busy morning (housecleaning, dog-walking, airport pick-up), I created a quick, yet comprehensive practice to open, then steady and pacify the inner sanctum. In less than 10 minutes of movement and focused breath meditation, you will be prepared to greet the day.

Perhaps best of all? Because I am not in silence on this day, I recorded the audio version of today’s routine. To practice along, head to: anchor.fm/ellen-sanders-robinson

The Moves 

Tuck Balance

Stretch Balance

Wide-Leg Release: Alternating stretch, Sufi’s Grind

Spinal Flow in Bridge

Inverted Butt Kicks

Reclining Twist

The Peace

8-Breath Meditation

Intuited Yoni Mudra