Irony of all ironies: On this Silent Sunday, I introduce the Everything Elsa podcast. You can find new episodes on Mondays and Thursdays: From time to time, bonus episodes will air on other days. Already recorded are several routines specifically for the podcast; eventually, you will hear audio versions of some of my previous pieces from the Everything Elsa blog.
You can find them all, beginning with the most recent, at: anchor.fm/ellen-sanders-robinson.
One of the things that I have realized—with amused chagrin—is that I am an “umm”-er: Apparently, when speaking extemporaneously over the airwaves, my thought-gathering needs a verbal nudge: “um.” Certainly, I could write out an entire script; however, I find that a verbatim recitation results in a loss of vitality and personality. For this reason, when I record previously written pieces from the blog, the posts will serve as templates only—they will not be word-for-word transpositions. This will allow me to speak from a place of dedication and sharing, rather than one of obligation and reporting.
I regard “um” as a gift: It has alerted me to the difference between the transmission of written and spoken word. And this awareness has awakened a curiosity: How can I translate the ease and immersion I feel when writing—an “umm”-less terrain—to verbal expression? Upon further inquiry, I wonder why I seldom “um” when in profound conversation with others? The answer would seem to lie in the depth of connection. When connected through personal vibration, “um” is not needed; when vibrationally connected to creativity as in writing, “um” lies dormant.
To manifest creativity through human interaction—e.g., conversation—and writing follows the trajectories from the Second to Fourth (Heart Center) and Sixth (Third Eye) chakras, respectively. I am beginning to understand that to ease “um” out of the mix, the creative vibration needs to travel to and resonate through the Fifth, or Throat Chakra.
Thus, today’s practice focuses on the stimulation of the Second Chakra, i.e., the fount of creative energy; the elevation of this vibration to and within the Third Eye; and ultimately, to its resonance at the level of the Fourth and Fifth chakras. Personally, I would use the following routine to bring myself into a focused, yet intuitive state of mind for the purpose of creating and presenting an orated practice—without “um.”
This sequence of movement and mudras is, however, one that applies to any creative endeavor: Whether one is blocked; or has become aware of an unwanted habit of expression; or needs a shift of perspective, this practice will ignite that spark.
The entire routine will be done seated: You may choose to sit anywhere and in any way that allows you to be relaxed, but with an aligned, neutral spine. To begin, place your hands lightly on the thighs. Begin a long, slow inhalation through the nose as the pelvis tips forward, gently arching the low back. With the mind’s eye, follow the breath as it moves up the spine.
As the inhalation continues, deepen the spinal extension. As the breath reaches the Heart Center and travels up through the Throat Chakra, first shrug the the shoulders up, then back and down, followed tipping the head to face up. This is the apex of both breath and movement.
Think of the following progression: active pelvic tilt; spine extension; first half of a shoulder circle; and head tilt back.
Exhale to reverse the above move: Drop the head forward, chin to chest; release the shoulders up, forward, and down; round—or flex—the spine; and tilt the pelvis back. Repeat the entire sequence, inhaling and exhaling slowly and completely, for a total of 10 times.
Having awakened and invigorated the entire chakra system, you are now ready to hone in specific sources of inspiration and means of expression. First, connect the Second Chakra to the Sixth: Place the left hand on the low belly; place the thumb on (or in) the navel, and rest the palm of the hand on the belly below.
Bring the heel of the right hand—the puffy part, or Thenar Mount, at the base of the thumb—to the Third Eye (between the brows at the root fo the nose). With the left hand gathering creative energy, use the right hand to vibrate the Third Eye, as if summoning that creativity. Eyes are closed and gazing to the Third Eye; this will compound the effect of the active vibration. Keep jostling and pulsating the forehead while maintaining awareness of the left hand on the Second Chakra for 1-3 minutes. Remember to breath steadily as you proceed.
Now, pause for a few breaths before moving to the final piece of the practice. When you are ready, engage a variation of Gyan Mudra on each hand: curl the index fingers inside their respective thumb; hold the finger down with its thumb. With the mudra, bring both hands to the Fourth Chakra. Join the backs of the hands, so that the palms face out, and the fingers point up; the pinky finger edges lie against the Heart Center.
In this position, begin to turn the head from left to right; this simple movement will help to stimulate and balance the Fifth, or Throat Chakra. Keep the eyes closed, still gazing to the Third Eye, as you turn the head: Inhale to the left, and exhale to the right. Continue for 1 minute.
Now, if you like, add the mantra “Sat Nam” to the head movement: Sat (“suht”) as the head turns to the left; Nam (“nahm”) as it goes right. Sat Nam signifies that “Truth is my identity”: further, that one’s identity is inextricable from the Divine. Thus, Sat Nam underscores that each of us is eternally connected to the Divine, Creative force; we, as humans here on Earth, embody this Universal energy, and thus can communicate from, with, and through it.
If you feel that you need a break from the head movement, simply sit with the mudra, and chant the mantra silently, in a whisper, or aloud. Regardless, continue for 3-5 minutes. Then, feel free to settle into svasana for a bit before you embark on a creative adventure.