In last week’s Yoga Moment I promised to share a practice you can do on your yoga cushion, or ‘zafu’. Here’s a practice that will calm the body and mind, stretching the arms and back, leaving you with a profound sensation of calm.
Sitting cross-legged on your cushion allow the lower half of the body to relax. Work your way through the body from the toes to the crown of the head, asking the muscles to relax. This exercise in auto-suggestion – where we harness the immense power of the mind to influence the body – is as simple as repeating silently: “I relax my toes. I relax my feet. I relax my ankles.” etc.
When the body is fully relaxed take the attention to the lowest part of the spine, the coccyx, and lift each and every vertebra away from the one below, lengthening and elongating the spine into the sky.
On the next inhalation stretch the fingers, hands, wrists and arms down to the earth, out wide to your sides and then up above the head. Bring the palms of the hands together above the head as you pause between the inhalation and exhalation. Then bend the elbows and lower the hands to heart centre as you exhale slowly.
Once you’re happy with the co-ordination of arms and breath, lengthen the exhalation to 1.5 times the length of the inhalation. So, for example, you can breathe in for the count of four and breathe out for the count of six. Repeat ten times. Then relax and allow yourself a few minutes to dwell deeply in this profound sense of calm.
Until next week… namasté.