Silent Sundays: Reminder Nuggets

Today, Silent Sunday provides an opportunity to revisit some foundational and demonstrably effective ways to attend to emotion, mind, and body. From spinal flex routines, to mighty mudras, to powerful pranayama, to essential oil elixirs, these techniques address myriad concerns and aims.

Special note: Depending on your personal need of the day, you could select one of the following techniques; or, experiment with them all to create a longer customized practice. I will offer an example of such a routine in closing.

First is an array of spinal flexes. These movements never fail to awaken the mind and body. Interestingly, although the flexions, extensions, and rotations are natural and vital for our body and nervous system, they are not typical daily movements in most contemporary cultures. But as a morning wake-up, nightly wind-down, pre-meditation warm-up, or midday attention booster, they are unparalleled.

You may do this combination seated on the floor or a chair, or even standing. Begin by inhaling to arch (extend) the spine forward; then exhale to round (flex) the spine back. Keep the hands in one place (knees or thighs, or on the hips if standing), and focus on moving the spine forward and backward through the frame of the shoulders. Continue for 1-3 minutes, giving yourself plenty of time to move from initial stiffness to fluid ease.

Then, begin Sufi Grinds. This adds side-space movement to the forward/back move: Inhale to move the spine forward and to the right; exhale as you move back, and around to the left, circling the entire torso and allowing the pelvis to move as well. Continue “grinding” clockwise for 1 minute, then reverse to circle to the left. Breathe deeply, and use the movement to massage the inner organs: This is an excellent way to aid digestion.

From here, come onto all fours: Cat/Cow essentially transposes the seated (and thus vertical) spine to a horizontal plane. Any time one shifts movement to another level or orientation, the brain receives a burst of alertness, while circulation improves and muscles are challenged. On your hands and knees, inhale to deeply arch the spine, open the chest, and look forward or slightly up; exhale to round, tuck the tail, and allow the head to hang. Continue for 1 minute: If you find a spot that feels stuck or stiff, remain in the position, breathing and wriggling into the area, and then resume the flex/extend movement.

The next infallible tool in this particular “kit” is Nadi Sodhana, or Alternate Nostril Breathing. I have found that this pranayama can resolve restlessness, anxiety, overthinking, worry, and even anger: As a balancing, centering technique, it comes to the rescue every time. 

Special note: An easy way to remember when to change fingers/nostrils in this breathing technique is to switch after each inhale. Using this method, the pattern quickly becomes second-nature. 

Sit in your favorite meditative position. Typically, one uses the right hand to guide the breath through the nose; if you are injured or unable to use the right hand, the left is fine. Simply make the necessary adjustment to the following instructions. I enjoy keeping the left hand in the lap, palm up, when practicing this pranayama. If you prefer a mudra, or to keep the palm down, feel free: You also may find that the resting hand wants to do something different each time your practice; follow your intuition and the need of the day.

Further, I tend to use the right thumb and ring finger, with the  flat space between the first and second knuckles of the index and middle fingers resting on the Third Eye. Again, though, if you are more comfortable with a different configuration, e.g., thumb and index as the “operators,” certainly do that. 

Regardless, begin by closing the right nostril with the right thumb. Inhale slowly and deeply through the left nostril; then, close the left with the ring (or index) finger, and exhale fully and steadily through the right nostril. Inhale through the right; close the right; and exhale through the left. Inhale left; close it; exhale right; inhale right; close; exhale left. Continue with this alternate-side breath for 3-7 minutes.

Now, it is mudra time. There are countless hand and finger configurations in different religions, cultures, and practices. To select even five favorites would be a true challenge for me: Instead, I offer three that find their way into my daily practice almost every time. Each is simple, soothing, and seems to open a portal for prayer and mediation. 

First is a Heart Center mudra. Almost always, I close a kriya, prayer, or meditation with some variation of hands-on-heart: The classic Prayer Mudra is a good example of such a gesture. One version that I use without thinking is to hold my gently fisted right hand with the left, and bring the package to rest on my chest.

As a fundamental hand position during pranayama or meditation, I enjoy placing the left hand in the right, both palms up with the thumb tips touching. Simply rest the hands in the lap or at the base of the belly.

And, of course, Gyan Mudra is a traditional and oft-seen and -used gesture. This classic configuration touches the thumb tip to index finger tip: One may also curl the index fully underneath the thumb, or partially, to about the level of the first knuckle. Gyan mudra is used to enhance communication and to invoke divine wisdom. 

More often than not, I use a different finger as a one-finger mudra. If needing patience and discernment, I’ll touch middle finger to the thumb tip. Or, to energize any thought, movement, or goal of a particular practice, use the ring finger and thumb. To align with subtle and Universal energies, touch pinky to thumb tip. These are all fundamental, powerful mudras; as such, they form the basis of more complex configurations. Use your kinesthetic and intuitive abilities to feel your way toward one that suits you at any given moment.

Finally, a frequently overlooked adjunct to any practice, and a highly therapeutic modality any time: essential oil blending. As with mudras, I find it difficult to choose “favorites,” as I use the oils for specific purposes: However, I do use the following oils most often, either in combination with others, or as their own elixir. Regardless, a carrier oil that harmonizes with your skin is also an important part of creating an oil mix.

Most often, I use jojoba oil as a base. I may blend it with Vitamin E oil, and/or almond oil. Others swear by avocado, apricot, or even olive oil; my skin and nose, however, prefer the more neutral carriers.

As for go-to essential oils: peppermint, lavender, geranium, and vetiver are among my personal staples. In different combinations, I may add eucalyptus or thyme; bergamot, orange, or neroli; or deeper, “woodier,” oils, e.g., patchouli. When selecting oils, sniff them as you would when choosing a fragrance: If it is unappealing, trust that your body will not respond easily to your desired therapeutic goal. If an oil “sparks” or “perks” your nose, it likely will serve as an excellent mood or energy boost. Conversely, an oil whose scent immediately soothes or quiets you will be an excellent start for a grounding blend or sleep aid.

To close, the following is an example of how one might combine the above power-players into a full practice. Begin by anointing yourself with an oil or blend: If you want a more meditative session, try lavender alone, or in combination with vetiver or frankincense. If you need energy or stimulation, peppermint or sweet orange oil are wonderful choices. Regardless, dab your selection onto the soles of the feet, wrists, and temples.

Then, spend a few minutes warming up the spine. If you prefer only the seated spinal flexes, or alternatively, only Cat/Cow, that is fine. Be sure, though, that you move deeply and long enough to expel stiffness from the muscles and distractions from the mind. A thorough stimulation of the spine will aid the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, which in turn will enhance concentration and meditation.

With the body prepared, settle in for several minutes of Alternate Nostril Breathing. When you have finished, sit quietly with a selected mudra. Keep the eyes closed, gazing to the Third Eye, and allow the vibrations from movement, breath, and the imbuing oils to settle. If you like, you may further integrate the energies with a few minutes in Svasana.

Happy Sunday…

Purpose–An Afterword (with Mudra Meditation)

In the previous Silent Sunday piece (“In Pursuit of Purpose”), I discussed the idea of Purpose, versus purpose. In sum, Big P Purpose alludes to one’s destined role with regard to the whole of a lifetime; little p purpose can—and usually does—arise multiple times, in different guises, throughout ones life (e.g., as a job, goal, or relationship).

Since that time, I have found myself reconsidering and expanding some of my initial thoughts. First, I began to wonder: What if Big and little p are not distinct, nor mutually exclusive? What if the accrual of circumstantial purposes all along are the route to—or even the manifestation of—Purpose?

Alongside these queries, I also thought about the concept of a Calling, i.e, “being called” to/from the place of Knowing. I thought of young people who arrive in this world with great gifts or talents: Were they called before arrival, or is it up to them to heed the call, and thus move through this earth-life as a vehicle to display their gift?

Or, what of folks whose gifts go unattended or squelched by circumstance or lack of guidance? Does that mean that their Purpose goes unfulfilled, or does it mean that their Purpose is to unleash and exalt their talent?

With this continued pondering, I circled back around to my own distinction between purpose and Purpose. Could it be that little-p is a necessary, inherent subset of Big P? Could it be that similar activities and vocations (e.g., in my case, movement and bodywork) are the manifestations of one unifying, umbrella theme?

Perhaps, then, each of us already and always are heeding our Purpose, even if we do not recognize it as such. If Purpose is the through-line of Destiny, then each breath, thought, and action motors along that trajectory: The fervent desire to identify Purpose thus signals its existence within us; the urgency to locate and uphold it is a beacon toward its conscious discovery. 

To direct that light and to feel aligned with one’s individual Purpose may be the task of Life, the universal Purpose of humankind. For some, the means of connection is mental or spiritual; for others, the doing—dharma—is the way. 

Regardless of how one pursues the acquaintance of Purpose, discernment and patience will be powerful companions in the quest. And if one has met and become connected with Purpose, the qualities of awareness and intuition ease into the equation: In order to maintain the sense of Knowing Purpose, one must remain attentive and adaptable. Purpose may change its guise, but its essence will remain. It is to that eternal seed that one must offer consistent and nurturing attention.

MUDRA MEDITATION

As a technique to summon and discern Purpose, I have created a mudra practice to harmonize with Purpose-related vibrations from the divine and the Universe. Rooted in the classic hand gestures of Shunya and Bhudi mudras, the meditation is comprised of three parts: traditional mudras; moving mudras; and pointedly placed mudras.

To begin, sit in your favorite position for meditation. Place the hands on the knees, resting them on their pinky-side edges: Palms thus face each other. Use the thumbs to hold down the middle fingers into the palms. With closed eyes gazing to the Third Eye, breathe normally, but consciously; ensure that each inhale and exhale are fulfilled. Enter into this opening portion with the intent to shift from ego and earthly aims, to a state of welcoming and accepting that which is meant for you. Continue for about 5 minutes.

Next, turn the hands to rest palms up on the knees. Release the mudra to create another: Touch the thumb tips to the pinky fingertips. In this gesture of openness to that which the Universe has to communicate, we align our intuition with divine wisdom. Breathe here for another 5 minutes.

With patience, discernment, and intuition activated, instinctively select one of the previous mudras. It may well be that you choose the middle finger gesture on one hand, with the pinky mudra on the other: Whatever combination resonates with your current energy vibration is the optimal selection.

Now, with the palms up and holding whichever mudra(s) feel right to you, begin circling the hands and forearms: The upper arms rest in by the body. Treat the movement as a round, i.e., the right side begins its outward (clockwise) circle; about 1/3-halfway through that circle, the left side kicks in (also moving outward, or counter-clockwise). Moving in this way will begin to create a sense of a Figure 8 moving through your magnetic field. Continue fluidly for 3 minutes.

Finally, bring the hands in front of the Heart Center, palms facing each other. Bring the tips of both thumbs, both pinkies, and both middle fingers together: All 6 tips are connected with each other. Extend the index and ring fingers as straight upward as possible. This mudra aims to invoke and energize divine guidance (via the “antennas” of the first and third fingers), and to channel it into your heightened and awaiting intuitive power. Breathe steadily and deeply here for 5 minutes. When finished, place the hands, palms down, on the knees, and allow the energies of the practice to consolidate and settle: Remain here for as long as you like.

Silent Sundays: Water, Water, Everywhere

When my best friend’s daughter was very young, she wrote a story that featured a character based on me: “Starly Robinson, the Water Droplet.”  Little did the child know that she had pinpointed my elemental and astrological essence. My sign is Cancer, a water sign; and I do tend toward “watery” traits—physical fluidity, emotional sensitivity, intuitiveness, etc. Additionally, I gravitate toward Nature’s water, and swimming soothes my soul. 

While these tendencies contribute to my overall ability to flow with Life, an imbalance in the system can result in decidedly challenging moods and outlooks. Recently, however, I have been wrangling with the clear and disconcerting result of surgery: edema. This fluid retention is the Water element run amok: The appearance and sensation of the swelling are yet another challenge for my psyche and physiology. 

Today’s practice hones in on Water and its inherent quality of flow. Whether you wish to address bloating or edema (or the opposite: dryness in the body); or a feeling of “stuckness” or disconnection (or, conversely, over-sensitivity), the following routine will help to restore balance to the emotional and physical fluid systems. Included will be the use of qigong, mudra, sound, pranayama and visualization. Below is the recording I used during the meditation:

The initial movement, based on Bear Swing in qigong, may be done standing or seated (floor or chair): If using a chair, be sure that it is armless. Moving from the waist,  arms hanging loosely, gently twist to the right; without a break, swing through center to the left. The arms will respond naturally to the weight shift and momentum: Allow them to flap lightly against the body, front and back, as you swing.

This move eases the lower back into a more supple state. Because the Bladder meridian flows through the entire back body, attention to the back is crucial when working with Water.

Special note: If twisting is contraindicated for you, you may proceed to the next move. Or, as I do, move slowly and gingerly: Hip replacement surgery precautions advise against twisting; however, I find that this gentle, flowing move releases tension and aids digestion. Be mindful of your stance, and keep the hips facing forward and still.

Next, attend more fully to the back. Remain in your chosen position (or change, if you need to): Begin an exaggerated, slow version of spinal flex; let the arms flow with the movement. Inhale to softly arch the entire spine as the arms drift behind you, palms facing forward; exhale to completely round the spine, drop the head, and float the arms forward, backs fo the hands moving toward each other at hip level. Continue for 1 minute.

Now, if you are not already seated, come to the floor (or bed or couch). Extend the legs straight in front of you. For this subtle, yet strong move, I have combined two physical therapy moves for post-hip replacement surgery, with the knowledge that one of them is a kundalini move for detoxification. The two movements—heel pumps (also the detox exercise) and thigh presses—help to move fluid from the feet and ankles; and stretch the hamstrings while activating the quadriceps, respectively.

First, with long legs in front, alternately flex and point the feet (“heel pumps”). The ankles will quickly respond, even if full of fluid. After 10-20 pumps, pause: Inhale, then exhale and engage the thighs by pressing the backs of the knees down into the ground. Hole the empty breath and muscle activation for 3 counts. Then release to repeat up to 10 times.

Now put both pieces together: Inhale to point the feet (simultaneously); exhale to flex the foot and press the backs of the knees down, pausing for 3 counts. Repeat 10 times.

The preceding warm-up prepares the Bladder and Kidney meridians—the Water element—to receive the benefits of the following meditation. To prepare, build an elevated support for your feet and legs; allow the lift to be about 1 foot high, and be sure to have some bolstering behind the knees.

Next, turn on the provided sound source. Settle into a supine position, legs and feet elevated, the sound resonating around you. On both hands, create Varun Mudra; it is a variation of Budhi Mudra. Whereas Budhi Mudra touches the pinky and thumb tips; Varun Mudra, holds the pinky down with the thumb. Budhi addresses low water levels in the body (and the corresponding psychological traits); Varun tends to fluid retention and “watery” characteristics.

Thus, with Varun Mudra engaged (pinky held into palm with thumb on each hand), rest pinky sides of the hands on their respective groin (the crevice where the belly meets the leg when lying down). Set the scene for the meditative visualization by conjuring a shade of black or blue (Water’s associated colors). With mudra placed, begin Ujjayi breathing: in and out through the nose with an open throat (tongue dropped down from roof of mouth); the breath’s sound should be steady and audible. As you breathe in, paint your selected color around your entire body; as you exhale, allow it to imbue within. Continue for 2 or 3 minutes

Now that you are swathed and immersed in a sea of blue (or black), focus on the area of your body where fluid has collected: Inhale to connect with spot; exhale to visualize the lowering level and drainage of the fluid. Be sure to continue deep, complete Ujjayi breath for another 2-3 minutes. 

Then, allow the breath to seek its natural rhythm. Breathe into the blueness, still holding the mudra. At some point, when it feels right to you, release the mudra and place the arms and hands on the ground, palms up, for Svasana. Maintain the elevated supports, and allow the breath to resume its natural flow. Remain here through the end of the musical sound.

Happy Sunday… 

Silent Sundays: Anna and the Watched Pot (Or: How to Hang On–Day 5)

As alluded to in yesterday’s Day 4 of the pre-surgery “How to Hang On” series, the tension of time comprises a large part of the waiting game. One can learn to master the perceived pace of earthly time, however: When the distinction between Time and time becomes clear, the need to rush or slow time-with-a-little-t abates.

In regard to the title of today’s writing, two very of-this-world references set the mental scene for my thoughts. “Anna” is the housemaid, Anna, of Downton Abbey. In one of the first scenes of the first episode of the first season, Anna is shown being woken at a pre-dawn hour to begin her likely 18-hour day. As she struggles to rouse herself, she says, “Just once, I’d like to wake up natural [sic]…”

And the Watched Pot is familiar to most: In waiting for the water to be ready, one keeps a keen eye on the vessel. And seemingly, the harder we watch, the longer we wait. Both Anna and the Watched Pot point to how a strict adherence to and abiding of human time disrupts our innate sense of ease. In order to move closer to that elusive calm requires a move toward Time.

Big-T Time is the domain of the Universe. When one talks about the miracles and mysteries of “timing,” it would be perhaps more apt to write, “Timing.” For it is within the unseen but decidedly discernible Timing of the Universe that Life unfolds. The human construct of time as we perceive it on a daily basis—calendars and clocks, schedules and events—is that which causes anxiety: When one is able to detach from that sense of forward progression, calm prevails.

One might ask, “What about night and day? The sun and the moon and the body’s connection to circadian rhythms?” As most of us have experienced, the body can adapt to altered sleep patterns, day or night; perhaps work, perhaps insomnia, or perhaps a new baby or puppy contributes the need for adjustment. But any of these are factors of earthbound circumstances. The Universe’s Time never alters.

These thoughts became fodder for “How to Hang On” last week: I had been told that I would have a “yes” or “no” about surgery on Tuesday, at the latest. Of course, I had hoped to hear sooner: As the days slowed, and no answer arrived, I began to adjust my expectations. I finally let go of an early decision, and looked ahead to that Tuesday.

Then Tuesday came and went. Two conversations with the scheduling nurse yielded little help. Cut to Wednesday, and then Thursday, with yet more phone calls. As the end of Thursday afternoon descended, I suddenly gave up: not hope, but the need to have an answer. I realized that no amount of phoning or nagging or worrying or stewing would change the unfolding of the situation. I gave myself over to that which would always be: I would know, I would be scheduled, and I would have a new hip when Time decreed it so.

With that one inner adjustment, my anxiety fell away. I had told myself that I would call again on Friday morning, which I did: However, I had no expectations; I was merely fulfilling a promise to myself. I had relinquished to Time, so emotions and future-thinking had become irrelevant.

After the Friday morning call to the surgeon’s secretary, I heard back within an hour. I had been given a date for surgery—exactly 4 weeks away.

Almost immediately, I began to worry about the state of my hips, and if I would still be walking in 4 weeks, never mind one or two. But then, almost as quickly, I remembered the feeling of ease and detachment that had come with the release of control over little-t-time: I consciously shifted into “one day at a time” here on planet Earth; and into “just breathe” into the Time of the Universe.

As humans whose lives function in terms of (or: “are entrapped by”) hours and dates, it is necessary to remain mostly in accordance with these constructs. Yet, we recognize the need for “down time”: The phrase is telling—earthly time yields to our innate sense of what feels easing and inspiring. We place time “down,” so that we may explore and inhabit another dimension of what it means to move through life: When time yields to Time, life yields to Life.

It is with that thought that I suggest a practice for this Silent Sunday. Most of us have an activity, be it sedate or invigorating, that allows us to enter what is commonly known as the Zone, or Flow. In that realm is an excellent example of what it feels like to be in Time. Any need or desire to check the clock or calendar disappears: What matters is the felt state of balance and calm that imbues our body, mind, and spirit.

To that end, perhaps use this Silent Sunday to investigate your preferred activity with an awareness of time versus Time. If you would rather give yourself over to a specific meditation, I offer the following:

Unencumbered, intuitively move into a seated or lying down position. (“Unencumbered” refers to a practice without music or sounding, without candle or incense, all of which have an end point: This would inherently suggest an affiliation with time, instead of the infiniteness of Time.) Unlike most meditations, this practice suggests that any barrage of thoughts not be tamed: no need to “watch them,” no need to shift back to the breath. Instead, let whatever tension or distraction arises to fully rule your body and mind.

When you no longer feel that you can sustain this state (or you no longer want to), shift your position: If you were lying on your back or front, switch to front or back, respectively; or, move into seated. If you had been sitting crossed-leg, extend the legs out or sit on the heels; or, lie down. Be aware that as you shift away from the allowance of dis-ease, you are moving into a state of conscious release: of tension and of time.

However you are stationed, take your closed eyes to the Third Eye: Fully engage with the point as the portal to the spiritual realm, where divine Time of the Universe circulates endlessly. For a few deep, steady breaths, use each exhale to methodically ease and open through first the soles of the feel; then the backs of the knees; then the genitals; then the palms of the hands; the elbows and armpits; the jaws and ears; and finally, through the crown of the head. 

Now, without a thought of time or endpoint, enter Svasana. Simply stay and rest until Time stirs you.

Happy Sunday…

Silent Sundays: Use the Mind to Assuage the Body

This Silent Sunday finds me… unfound. Ungrounded. Or rather, so very grounded that lift-off seems unattainable. Yet, I am simultaneously intrigued by the nature of creativity, fortitude, and focus: When these qualities go astray, the written word—or painted scene, or sounded tone, or choreographed sequence—plays an elusive game. How best to stir the imagination? How best to sift through the mountains of buried ideas, and unearth one to contemplate and express?

The latter scenario most likely underlies this morning’s perplexing, vexing paralysis of mind. Over the course of the previous week, I had several conversations and communications with trusted friends, first and foremost of whom is my sister. With vulnerability and honesty and intuited emotion on both sides, so very many thoughts came to light. With regard to my current physical challenges and a solution that is proving to be as elusive as today’s errant creative muscle, we discussed everything from karma, to physical patterns, to the need to be positive and forward-looking while fully inhabiting uncomfortable—even excruciatingly painful—life challenges.

These are the thoughts that prevailed last week, and that have been looming nearer and larger over the past several months. It as if they always were meant to be part of my life cycle: I however, had no say over their appearance; God and the Universe revealed them in accordance with divine Time.

And certainly, I am conscious of my earlier word choice: “paralysis of mind.” As my body struggles with each and every step, with each and every position, with each and every task (who knew that standing to brush teeth or chop vegetables, or to rise from sitting could engender such dread?!), an all-too-close sense of what a paralyzed body would be like begins to color the edges of my experience. Yet, in keeping with my overall Life view, these thoughts needs to be corralled and tamed. If, indeed, this personal challenge is part of my karmic task in this lifetime, then I must be acutely aware of the thoughts I think: Their energy will foster the approach and direction I take.

So, with that in mind—and body—I wend my way toward today’s practice. While my muscles and lungs and overall resilient vitality crave big, open movement, that space must instead be found within. And, as the mind channels that which God and the Universe decree, those declarations will manifest in body, as well. In essence, it is the rebound action of what yoga flow and posture aim to accomplish: Typically, one uses the vehicle of body to clear the mind and delve into spirit. Now, in reverse, this Silent Sunday digs deep within, in order to free the body from its unanswered call for movement. With that freedom comes acceptance and renewed determination to abide challenge.

Because this morning finds me obsessively desirous of the vast variety of movement that I used to enjoy (and, with an awareness of my good fortune, fully expect to regain in the future), the first step of today’s practice is a mental nod to a Buddhist tenet: Desire is the cause of suffering. This is certainly true for me and my frustrated cleaving to a desire to move freely and endlessly. Thus, the routine begins where I have so often suggested beginning previous practices: Shake and shimmy and tap and wiggle in any way, with any body part that you can. Do this without thought to time; rather, shake until your physical need to move feels sated.

Once you have responded to the body’s need (if not entirely fulfilling desire), find a comfortable position for contemplation: prone, supine, chair, bolster, crossed- or straight leg… Follow the lead of your body as best as it is able to communicate, and you are able to respond. Then, move into the posture, and leave the body behind.

Realize as you enter this state that contemplation connotes conscious focus on a specific thought, topic, idea: Some may regard this as prayer. While it may be a form of meditation, I have come to differentiate between the two. In yogic terms, meditation singularly focuses on communication with the Divine. 

Thus, to contemplate that which brings you to a practice designed to delve within means to acknowledge fears and limitations of your current state. Then, as their presence diffuses under the laser light of contemplation, you can unfurl the inner sails that will guide you into meditation.

For this phase of practice, realign yourself in an upright, seated posture: easy crossed-leg pose or sitting on the heels. If you have not already, hone in the breath: aim for complete, steady inhales and exhales through the nose. Then, using your inner eye, track the breath as the inhale travels up the front cross-section of the spine—root to Third Eye; then, follow the breath with your mind as it flow down the back of the spine upon exhale. Continue this breath visualization for 5 minutes.

Now, release the mind’s eye; refocus your closed-eye gaze on the Third Eye. Willingly empower your understanding that this Spiritual Eye point is the way in to communicate with God and the Universe. The depth of your focus and the power of your belief ultimately lead to Faith. As such, one learns that the ability to acquire, sustain, and renew Faith begins with a decision to focus and to open to possibility.

As you sit—eyes closed and upon the Third Eye, and deep, steady breath engaged— bring the hands into the lap. Loosely interlace the fingers, allowing the thumbs to cross naturally; the palms may face the low belly, or face up. Breathe in and out through the nose in this position for 5 minutes. As you sit, should you feel distracted or restless, focus on the body’s call for attention: Relax the mouth and jaw; let the tongue float in the mouth; consciously release the shoulders from their typical holding state; and drop the elbows. Once you have melted bodily tension, return to the sound of breath and the focused Third Eye gaze.

Next, release the position, and—keeping the eyes closed—shift forward onto the belly: Make fists of the hands, stack one atop the other, and rest your forehead on the stack. Find a spot where you can feel the Third Eye in contact with the top fist. In this position, begin breathing in through the nose; exhale slowly, deeply, and steadily through the gently opened mouth. Continue for 3-5 minutes.

Then, shift back into Baby Pose. Let the arms rest back on the floor, alongside the legs. Resume deep breaths in and out through the nose. Remain here for 1-3 minutes.

Now, sit up and re-enter your seated meditation posture. Let the hands rest gently on the knees, palms up. Refocus the closed-eye gaze on the Third Eye, and begin the following breath: Inhale through slightly parted lips, with the tongue curled softly toward the back of the mouth; exhale through the nose, maintaining the tongue position. Continue for 3-5 minutes.

Finally, form Gyan Mudra on each hand: thumb and index fingertips touching. Rest this mudra on the knees, palms down. With the Third Eye gaze, intact, breathe fully, in and out through the nose. Continue for up to 11 minutes. When you feel that your meditation is complete, move into Svasana if that feels right. Remain in rest for as long as you like.

Happy Sunday…