With the intake of air that fills your lungs comes the accompanying power of the force of life itself. Your breath ebbs and flows, as do day and night, the sun and the moon, the leaves on the trees, and the waves along the ocean’s body. As you befriend your breath, you learn to feel its rise and fall as an effortless expression not just of your human experience, but as a source of connection to a much greater whole.
We can find a sense of presence through our breath. The inhalation and exhalation guide us beyond the fluctuation of our passing thoughts into eternal beingness. The breath helps us become familiar with physical sensations, our emotions, and our soul purpose. As we learn to listen to and honour its rhythm, we discover that we are evolving, organic beings perfectly held within the sacred.
I call the following exercise Wave Body quite simply because it feels like a wave moves through your body when you practice it. In what becomes an effortless spinal undulation in harmony with your breath, tension melts away. The exercise is a variation on Breathing Wave, which you have already seen. This time, you will be lying on your side, rather than on your back.
There are a couple of distinct gifts in this exercise. One, the sense of ease and flow you found on your back through Breathing Wave, you now find in another plane – on your side. It is quite common to feel a sense of connection in one position, but then lose that feeling in another. This simple turn to doing the Breathing Wave on your side can help ensure that you have a well-rounded sense of the body flow and interconnection.
The other advantage is that the fetal-like side position provides an unparalleled experience for somatic release. In it, your body naturally begins to reveal the stories you carry locked in your tissue. As you breathe with awareness, they come to the surface to be let go.
Just as the fluctuating thoughts come and go, so do emotions, as they too are reflections of passing mind stuff. They are energy aggregates that arrive into your present awareness to be freed. As you release your grip on the past and the future, there is a new-found space, with infinite room for presence and possibility.
The goal of this exercise is not to “work hard” to experience a “big” somatic release. The intention is simply to connect to your breath, your body and your spine and witness whatever may arise – no agenda, simply presence. In this allowing, you create a forum within yourself for healthy unfolding and tremendous healing.
These exercise series are designed to build one exercise upon the next so you may benefits from YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine. Please do Savasana and The Breathing Wave prior to cultivate awareness of life-force energy moving through your body/being.
Find a quiet and relaxed environment where you can lie on the floor on a towel or yoga mat.
Begin with Savasana, bringing your breath awareness from the crown of your head through your body and down into your toes. Feel your whole body breathing.
Then bend your knees, feet flat on the floor, hip width apart, and practice The Breathing Wave.
Once you sense ease through your spine, roll onto your right side, resting your head on your right arm. Keep your knees bent and place your left hand along your body, or on the ground.
Inhale, feel your belly rise. Your tailbone tilts slightly down towards the floor. Your lower back slightly arches.
Exhale, your belly descends. Your tailbone tilts upwards towards the ceiling. Your lower back gently rounds.
Inhale, draw in life force through your crown, as though you have a whale spout, and down your spine, which is like a tube of breath.
Exhale, release energy up towards the crown of your head.
Allow your spine to feel massaged by the sensation or image of breath passing through it. Let it undulate, moving as it needs. Release any resistance to the movement, as well as any tendency to force or exaggerate. With practice, a wave-like flow will roll through your spine so that you feel it move absolutely effortlessly, no matter how big or small the movement may be.
Witness what arises and how you feel.
Should thoughts or emotions come, watch them pass by without getting tied up in their stories. Just as the ocean has varied waves, each breath will be unique. Your breath and this wave will guide you to where you need to be.
When you have had enough, bring your breathing back to what feels normal for you. Take a few long breaths and roll over onto your left side to repeat the exercise. If you don’t want to go to the other side, that is fine. Simply when ready, press and roll yourself up into sitting.
Parvati Devi is an award-winning musician (“I Am Light”, “Electro Yog”, “Yoga In The Nightclub”), yogini (YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine), author (“The Grace Mindset”, “Aonani of Avalon”, “The Three Supreme Secrets for Lasting Happiness”) and founder of the not-for-profit Parvati.org. All her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS). More info: parvati.tv and parvati.org.