alternate nostril breathing

September equinox 2010 meditative yoga

Yoga means union. Hatha yoga prepares for meditation with position, breath, and flowing transitions. On this day we are practicing meditation not only sitting, but in everything we do, in walking, standing, eating, exercising, and taking positions. When learning new ways of being, let the focus be on mindfulness, with technique secondary. Expend only as much thought as necessary to the task of the moment.

This is your yoga. You start with strengths and weaknesses. Ability and blocks. Your yoga path to wholeness is unique. Respect it. Your way might vary from the teacher or anyone else present. I'll show you my way; you find and go your way.

Note modifications for ongoing retreats. Less verbal direction encourages individuals to tune into and find their own ways. With many people, we do not sit or use yoga pads. Most poses are completed when standing.

Three stages in each pose

  1. First is to envision the pose and how you intend to manifest it: the steps and the goal.
  2. Second is to do it, to take the position.
  3. Third is to attain the benefit and concentrate. You identify and release any tensions that aren't required for the pose. You let go and give it up, relaxing so that the pose seems to hold itself, a moment or more out of time. With each breath out you could find yourself stretching, bending, reaching a little farther into the pose. Mind clears. With each breath in you gain strength and transcend the process.

When ending, even if you lose your balance, see if you can return to the starting position (or the next position) slowly, mindfully, with grace and poise.

List of poses

Flex after meditating and do heel stretch to prepare for yoga. Standing up, move left foot back behind the right foot. Lean forward, reaching hands to floor, bending knees as necessary. Keeping heels on floor, bend until you feel strong stretch from heel up calf to knee. Hold. Release. Rock back and forth, alternately stretching each leg. Slowly move to repeat with right leg back, left forward.

    Seated

  1. Roll neck digitally in eight angles clockwise. Keep looking and facing forward. Bend neck forward, hold, and return to center. Repeat the eight bend/holds using the Hunab Ku on link handout as a guide to the angles (or imagine at and between the hours of 12, 3, 6, 9, and back to 12). When finished, pause before repeating bend/hold in seamless analog slow motion, rotating counterclockwise. Allow time to feel the stretch of each angle, the pain of tension and possible relief at letting go. Yet maintain meditation, observing effort and effects, being both completely there and not-there.
  2. Standing

  3. Stand. Center skull well over spine. Hang by a single thread from the top of your head. Balancing hips over feet, bones hold the upright position. Much muscle tension can be released. Straighten legs, soften with slightly bent knees. Arms straighened down, soften with slightly bent elbows, slightly lifting, slightly opening hands. Remember qigong standing. Add the dynamic center concept. If pushed from any direction, you won't jerk. In other words you are always ready for potential movement and never really stop. You are poised in motion equally ready for any change.
  4. Align with a line of force from nadir at center of earth to zenith overhead. Picture a shoe box around each foot. From within, focus awareness on the corners of each simultaneously: upper left, upper right, lower right, lower left. I learned this as an Alexander technique, where head leads. From center, hara, perform counterclockwise rotation of entire column. Feel in each foot, then knees, hips, navel, heart, top of head. When smooth, raise hands for three more rotations. Pause and rotate clockwise. Your hands move in a circle; this is your halo. Feel energy flowing down the column.
  5. Shimmy tingle shake it up, trying to keep every part in motion. Start as wild, big and loud as can be.Shake your marrow, eye sockets, and brain. Gradually refine motions to fine vibes, yet everything still shimmer simmering. Finish in stillness, stop.
  6. Balance in Tree or Eagle or toe stand.
  7. Twist, wrapping hands and arms around your body, first to left and then to right. Continue slapping body. "Wake Up!" Finally, move slowly to hold the farthest twist in meditation.
  8. Bend sideways from waist, extending right arm down to right side, raising left arm up over head, keeping all movement in the sideways plane, neither forward nor back. After a few breaths, slowly return left arm down to side as body straightens up. Repeat to the left side.
  9. Seated

  10. Chant AouM. MuoA. Repeat three times.
  11. Tense and release. Starting with feet, curl toes, bend arches, contract calf muscles, and continue holding each part of your body firm on up: knees, thighs, hips, abs, back, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands clenched. Contract your neck and especially squeeze your face, eyes, mouth together. Then gradually let go from the inside out.
  12. Rotate foot from ankle with right leg raised. Reverse direction. Repeat rotations with left leg raised. Raise both legs and rotate both feet clockwise five times and counterclockwise five times.
  13. Breath with alternate nostrils. Raise right hand to forehead placing index and center fingers between eyebrows over inner eye. Little and ring fingers press on left nostril, closing it as with right nostril breathe out, pause, breathe in and hold. Release left nostril fingers as press thumb to right nostril, closing it as with left nostril breathe out, pause, and breathe in. Hold and repeat the alternations as long as need be. Can visualize the movement of breath or the breathing process as an infinity sign (see graphic at top of page). Breathe out from top left to bottom right. Follow right arc up breathing in. Hold. Breathe out from top right to bottom left. Follow left arc up breathing in. Hold. Repeat. This infinity sign can be around your nostrils or in your overall aura. Seeing this practice might help stay on track.
  14. Standing

  15. Aura gong. Down ... up pop.
  16. Reach hands in back of waist, thumbs down, fingers touching middle of backbone. Keeping lower body erect, from hips bend forward with back arched, head up.
  17. Let arms fall, dangle until hanging loosely, feeling gravity before slowly returning to standing position.
  18. Grounding

  19. Sit down on ground, bending legs in front, ankles together, moving knees apart until soles of feet meet in prayer position. Bend knees to move feet toward your body as far as is comfortable. Keeping torso erect, reach hands to encircle feet. Let thighs and calves release, allowing knees to float down. If desired, raise and lower knees moving legs as wings of a butterfly. Hold, rest, meditate.
  20. Child moves arms back and down to the floor, while drawing knees together, pushing head forward to kneel. Point toes backward, rounding back and bending head near the floor, seat cushioned between heels of feet. Melt into the the ground. Go into hibernation like a tree frog, motionless. After awhile move hands alongside body to stretch arms out on the floor straight beyond your head. Stretch. Meditate.
  21. Lion raises up head resting paws near knees on the ground. Feel your energy at the tip of your tail come surging up your spine and neck emerging in your lion's roar. Mouth opens in grimace. Eyes bulge open. Tongue extends as far as possible. Hold the roar, then gradually calm down, relaxing. Repeat roar three times.
  22. Raise up on knees, clasping hands straight-armed in back. Lift hands. Arch back.
  23. Release and arc hands forward and up to prayer position above. Lean back and hold. Forward and hold.
  24. Corpse pose lying down on your back, arms and legs resting comfortably on floor. Become as if dead, releasing any tension or grip you can feel. I'll lead a gradually tense and release of body parts from toe to scalp; freeze up solid and thaw to melting. Remain fully relaxed for the rest of the session. When done, remember the funniest thing from the whole day and have a good laugh. On arising, share with others if you wish.
  25. Jump up with a push from hands on the floor or turn to side and stand slowly.

changing seasons

See also Season and 12 solstices and equinoxes. Back to September equinox 2010 schedule.

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