After a couple of days of irksome situations, I created today’s routine as a way to alleviate the anxiety and/or frustration that may accompany an inability to control process. The first step in the following practice is to identify the physical location and sensation of dis-ease in the body. For example, I typically experience frustration (or anger) as a red-hot tightness in or near the Heart Center: As the feeling deepens, it tends to move higher, into the Upper Triangle of chakras (e.g., throat or forehead).
With regard to this recent experience, however, the feeling had shifted: It was playing out “lower,” around the level of the Third Chakra. Interestingly, this region corresponds with this time of year’s associated organ systems: the Spleen and Stomach. Further, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, a key sign that the systems are out of balance is a tendency to worry.
Thus, this Silent Sunday actively addresses emotional and physical imbalances that one may be most prone to now, in Late Summer. The movement patterns will relieve tightness or resistance in the mind and muscles, while harmonizing the Spleen and Stomach systems. And, should you find yourself blissfully unencumbered by challenging thoughts or circumstances, you may use this practice to ensure that your energies resonate optimally with the end of this season and into the imminent Fall.
Although today’s sequence is progressive and cumulative in its effect, you may find that one or some of the moves affect you deeply (or are not appropriate for limitations you may have). In that case, you may focus on the move(s) that resonate most strongly for you. Simply increase the number of repetitions; or, alternatively, repeat the sequence of fewer moves 2 or 3 times.
Ease your way into the practice with some breathing and free-form movement. I chose the following ambient sound frequency to support this portion of the routine:
To begin, stand naturally: With eyes open or closed, inhale through the nose as you raise your arms up and overhead through the side space; exhale through the nose, slow and steady, as you bring the arms back down. Repeat this clearing movement, deepening and lengthening the breath, 6-12 times.
Then, tune into your inner rhythm. With or without the background sound, let your body move in accordance with its natural vibratory state: Emotional and physical circumstances manifest in distinct movement qualities and patterns. As you move, there is no need to question, analyze, or label the motion: Let this be a time to unlock and release inhibitive thoughts and feelings. Continue moving in this way for 3 minutes.
If you feel unmotivated to move organically, i.e., from within, you nonetheless have received information from yourself about your current state. Resistance, trepidation, or a sense of “stuckness” signals imbalance: If that is your finding, honor it. Focus on breathing with the arm raises; however, as you exhale, breathe out powerfully through the mouth. Inhale through the nose as the arms rise; exhale forcefully through the mouth as the arms float back down.
Special note: You eventually may feel inspired to move more as you breathe and clear the auric field. If that happens, heed your inner wisdom, and begin moving to the pulse of your personal vibration.
When you feel ready to end your intuitive movement, stand still, eyes closed, with hands on hips or on the lower belly. This touch helps ground the body and mind in the Lower Triangle of chakras, wherein lies a sense of security, purpose, and empowerment. The feeling of being out of control that accompanies frustration or worry can threaten these aspects of the First, Second, and Third chakras. Breathe deeply in your stance for about 1 minute.
Next, begin the first, admittedly challenging, move. From standing, inhale; then exhale as you bend the knees as much as you need to, in order to bend over and bring the hands to the ground. Breathe in fully as you walk your hands forward, bringing the body into a strong Plank. From the neutral Plank, exhale to rotate and tip the hips down toward the floor on the right; inhale to come back to center; exhale to make your Hip Drop to the left. Complete 8 sets of rotating Drops to the right and left. (One set is a Hip Drop to the right, then left.)
Special note: If the Plank with Hip Drops is not accessible to you, come into your best version of Downward Dog. There, “wag the tail”: Bend the knees, come onto the toes, and shift your hips back and forth, inhaling to the left, exhaling to the right.
From Plank, lower yourself onto the belly. Prop yourself on the forearms (elbows under shoulders, forearms extended forward on the ground, palms flat): As you inhale and turn the head to the left, chant (silently, whispered, or aloud), “Wahe Guru [wah-hay goo-roo]/“ Gently look left and right, eyes open to a soft, unfocused gaze, for 1 minute as you chant the mantra of trust in divine guidance.
Now, place one hand atop the other, and lower down to rest the forehead on the back of the top hand. Bend the knees, so that the lower legs are perpendicular to the thighs. Here, sway the lower legs from left to right, like windshield wipers: Inhale to the left, exhale right. Breathe deeply, and let your inner rhythm be pleasantly surprised and lulled by this unusual movement. Continue for 1 minute.
Next, help yourself up onto all fours. Do a few traditional Cat/Cow spinal flexes to orient your body to its new place in space. Then, from a centered all-fours position, begin to circle the hips: Focus on the rocking and rolling movement through the tips and shifts in the pelvis. Circle to the right for about 30-60 seconds, and then to the left for another 30-60 seconds.
Now, bring the circling move into the torso by rolling the rib cage like a barrel. Shift the ribs to the right, then round them up and center; then circle them over to the left, and then down through center, creating an arch in the spine. Circle to the right, up and over to the left, and down and through to the right. Keep moving, allowing the breath to find its natural correspondence with the movement, for 1 minute. Then reverse, and circle the rib cage to the left for another minute.
Finally, shift your hips back into Baby Pose, arms extended forward. If you can not quite rest the buttocks on the heels, that is okay: The stretch will still be available to you. From Baby Pose—your deepest version of the posture—walk the hands to the right, with the arms reaching away from you. This will open the intercostal muscles in the rib cage, thus freeing the Spleen from limitation or resistance. Breathe here for 5-8 deep cycles of breath. Then, walk the hands to the left, opening the right side of the rib cage. Again, take 5-8 full breaths here.
Bring your body and arms back to center, and sweep the arms down to rest by the legs, palms up. Settle as deeply into Baby Pose as possible: Use whatever props are necessary to accommodate the position. For 1 minute, eyes closed and gazing at the Third Eye, breathe in slowly and fully through the nose; exhale long and steady through rounded lips, creating a windy sound. As you breathe in this way, know that you are consolidating the effects of the movements: Worry and frustration will dissipate as the organ systems integrate the harmonious vibration of the practice.
To conclude, gently bring yourself into traditional Svasana on the back. Remain here for as long as you like.