Silent Sundays: Keep It Simple Conclusion–Explore and Expand

This Silent Sunday brings the final piece in the Keep It Simple series. The practice helps one wriggle free of earthly binds, and awaken the subtle energies that align with the divine Universe. Today’s routine stimulates the Second, Sixth, and Seventh chakras: Generative, intuitive, and elevating vibrations resonate first within, then out and beyond.

Turn to this routine when mundane issues overwhelm; when guidance and insight seem loathe to appear; and when you need a reminder that your eternal essence is one of Spirit, not matter.

Begin on the belly. As precisely as possible, rest the Third Eye on the floor. Seek to connect the ground to the point above the nose bridge, between the brows.

Now, slip the hands under the thighs, palms up. Use the lower arms and hands to press the legs up; let the weight of the legs rest in the palms. Breathe deeply here for about 1 minute.

Then, begin to alternate soft, rhythmic kicks of the buttocks with the heels. Inhale as the left heel tries to kick the left “cheek;’ exhale as the left heel goes back down, and the right heel comes in to kick its side. Move back and forth at a steady pace, breathing and kicking rhythmically, for 30-60 seconds.

This opening move awakens the low belly, by dint of its pressure against the floor; as well as the Third Eye, due to its felt connection to the ground. By kicking the hips with the heels in a slightly elevated position, energies begin to move from the Lower Triangle of chakras toward the Upper, or chakras Five, Six, and Seven.

Next, release the legs, and bring the arms to the floor in front of you for Sphinx Pose. Press up onto the forearms for this gentle upper-spine extension. Open through the chest, and lengthen the neck. Close the eyes, and gaze pointedly up to the Third Eye. Breathe here for 1 minute.

Again, the Second Chakra, the home of creativity, nestles securely into the ground as you inhabit Sphinx. This steady, gentle pressure on the low belly subtly stimulates the generative quality; possibilities stir, ideas percolate.

Next, shift back into Baby Pose for a moment. Then, lift the hips and roll forward onto the top of the skull, as if preparing for Headstand.

Interlace the hands behind the back. Lengthen through the elbows, and lift the arms up as high away from the back as possible. On the Crown and knees now, focus the closed eyes on the Third Eye. Welcome the full “spill” of energy from the earthly Lower Triangle into the Upper Triangle centers of Higher Consciousness. Breathe steadily here for 1 minute.

Gently ease out of this Yoga Mudra variation by carefully moving back to Baby Pose.

When you are ready, rise up onto all fours. Begin to circle the pelvis—very small “hip circles”—to the right. Keep the rest of the posture still; circle only the hips in a clockwise direction. After about 30 seconds, reverse direction: Circle to the left for another 30 seconds.

Now, sit back onto the heels. With hands on the knees or thighs, begin basic spinal flexion and extension: Inhale to fully arch the spine; exhale to deeply round the spine. Inhale, open the front body; exhale to open the back. As you breathe and move, use your mind’s eye to help the breath travel up and down the full length of the spine: Inhale, breath moves up; exhale, it flows back down. Continue for 2 minutes.

Then, sit quietly for a moment. When you feel ready, begin to tap the center of the forehead with all four fingers of both hands: index fingers near hairline, pinkies at Third Eye point. Tap rapidly, and start to move the tapping up to the Crown; up and over the skull; and down the back center line of the head. 

At the base of the skull, let the left fingers move left along the base, or occipital, line; the right fingers tap their way to the right.

Repeat the process for about 1 minute, or roughly 10-12 rounds of tapping. Inhale to begin tapping the forehead, and up and over the Crown; exhale down the back of the head and along the base line. 

Finally, sit in your preferred seated position for meditation. Place the left hand on the low belly: thumb tip rests on navel, palms settles naturally on soft belly.

Extend the right arm straight up from the shoulder; palm faces left. Begin to waft—bend and straighten—the wrist; move softly, slowly, mellifluously, like a willow branch in a gentle breeze. Closed eyes gaze to the Third Eye. Breathe fully and deeply through the nose.

Continue for 5-7 minutes. Feel free to rest the elevated arm as needed; then, after a short break, resume the position and movement. 

As you meditate within your breath and movement, the portals of exploration and expansion are fully open. Welcome, channel, and abide these energies; allow them to move you from earthly concerns to a peaceful respite within and without.

Happy Sunday…

Silent Sundays: Homestead Series Part 1: Intuition and Practicality

Today’s Silent Sunday introduces a series of practices designed to hone in on your natural instincts and comfort zones: your “Homestead.” 

Intuition typically guides my decision-making, creative sparks, and interpersonal interactions. It is my home base from which to deal with all things earthbound, and through which I communicate most effectively with God and the Universe. I began to wonder about the “homesteads” of others: What energetic quality or mental attribute functions as their reliable, familiar, and most powerful ally? When uprooted by circumstance or emotion, what inner sensibility draws them “home?” What is their “stead,” their core of stability?

The series thus opens with a practice inspired by intuition. To fly solo with intuition, however, can leave one without an energetic anchor or point of reference: Intuition needs its Root companion.

And just as the Third Eye is balanced and empowered by the First Chakra, the inverse is true: Those who operate mostly in accordance with earthly energies and mores may be grounded and stable. Without the insight and energetic supply of the Sixth Chakra, however, they can become overly concerned with material wealth and ambition—the survival instinct run amok.

Consequently, today’s routine establishes a communication and support system between intuition and practicality. The Third Eye and Root Chakra are activated, connected, and harmonized.

We begin with simple, incremental spinal flexes and chest openers. This warm-up also is useful as a meditation and/or pranayama preparatory practice: The stimulation of the flow of cerebrospinal fluid promotes focus and clarity; and the lung-opening provides the optimal environment for breath work.

Seated in your favorite aligned posture, either on a chair or on the floor, close the eyes: Turn your inner gaze upward to focus strongly on the Third Eye. Place both hands on the lower belly, one over the other. As you inhale, tilt the pelvis forward and down; exhale to gently tip it back and up. The movement will create a discernible, yet small arching and rounding in the lower spine. Continue for 1 minute.

Now, as you continue to rock the pelvis forward and back, arching and rounding, include more of the spine. Move the hands to the knees; this grip will help you move the spinal flex into the thoracic spine, thus including the ribcage. Deepen and lengthen the breath as you do so; continue for another minute.

Next, bring the hands to the shoulders: fingers in front, thumbs behind. Inhale as you draw the bottom tips of the shoulder blades toward each other; exhale as you round the upper back and try to touch the elbows together in front of you. Keep the upper arms parallel to the ground as you inhale to stretch the chest wall; exhale to spread the upper back. Continue for 1 minute.

Then, prepare to fire up the energetic reservoirs of the First and Sixth chakras. Place the hands next to the hips (on the chair or the floor). Inhale to press down into the hands and lift your bottom up a few inches; squeeze Root Lock (Mula Bandha) as you do so. 

Special note: This pranic “lock” is achieved in much the same way as a Kegel exercise. Here, though, squeeze the anus, sex organs, and navel point simultaneously.

Use the squeezing action as a pump to push Root energy up through the entire chakra system. With your mind’s eye, guide the collected energy up the spine and into the Third Eye throughout the long inhalation through the nose. Upon a powerful burst of an exhale through the open mouth, drop your tush back down with an assertive, but safe jolt. Repeat a total of 12 times.

Now that you have both isolated and connected the Root and Third Eye, you will ensure their harmonious partnership. Come to standing, feet comfortably apart. Bend the knees slightly to come into a moderate squatting position. Place the arms into Genie gesture: both arms bent at the elbows at chest level, one forearm resting atop the other.

Then, inhale to stand up straight, opening the arms to the sides at 60 degrees, as if opening the Heart Center to the Universe. Exhale back down into the squat with Genie Arms. If you like, add a silent, whispered, or fully vocalized mantra: Sat Nam, Wahe Guru [sut nahm, wah-hay goo-roo]. Begin grounded and centered with “Sat Nam;” rise up, tall and open-hearted with “Wahe Guru.” Complete 26 squat-to-stand moves with corresponding arms and optional mantra.

Finally, return to seated. With the thumb tips and pinky tips touching on each hand, close the eyes.The mudra enhances intuitive communication: Use its energy to imbue and balance the Root upon inhale; visualize the breath flowing into the First Chakra.

Then, shift the fingers to Rudra Mudra: thumb tips touch their respective first and third fingertips. As you configure this gesture, exhale with the gaze turning intently up to the Third Eye. This mudra will help you use intuition for practical, as well as spiritual purpose and benefit.

Move back and forth between the mudras and closed-eye focal points. Inhale with pinky and thumb tips, mind on the Root Chakra; exhale with Rudra Mudra, gazing into the the Third Eye. Continue for 3-5 minutes. Then, settle into Svasana for as long as you like.

Happy Sunday…

Still to Come in the Homestead Series: Part 2—“Create and Express;” and Part 3—“Solar-Powered and Heart-Centered”