Yoga’s gift to us is the way we can embody, here and now, an experience of bliss and unity. It reminds us that our way to joy happens within the body, a magnificent and multidimensional vehicle that connects us with all things.
In our busy days and agitated world, it can be easy to lose our sense of ground. Agitation can tend to draw us up and out of our bodies, out of the present moment. So this month’s YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine practice offers a simple way to reconnect with your body and the Earth, so that you can enjoy the grace of being here, alive, breathing and connected in this moment.
One day I was sitting at a meditation retreat just behind a friend of mine who would be the first to admit she tends to get agitated and space out, especially when tired or overwhelmed. But this time, I saw her ground so deeply that I had to whisper to her in amazement, “What are you doing?!” Having already learned the centering practice I share below, she told me that she was just trying to do the same energy movement while sitting still. The effect was very noticeable, and I was delighted to discover that it was my friend’s practice of YEM that had guided her to center herself so effectively.
So once you learn this centering practice and experience it as a physical process, see how you can begin to apply it on a subtle level at any time—riding the subway, sitting in a challenging meeting with your boss, watching your child scream in a temper tantrum—and see if you start to feel more peace, ease and clarity in the moment.
Stand with your feet about a meter apart, bending your knees in a horse rider stance, so that you tilt your tailbone slightly forward, opening up your root energy center to the Earth.
Sense your breath in your belly. Inhale, belly rises, and exhale, belly rests back.
Allow the sense of the crown of your head to float towards the ceiling, as the feet root into the ground. As you inhale, visualize or sense that you draw life-force energy down your spine, through the central channel. As you exhale, allow that life-force to rise back up through your spine, to the crown of your head. Inhale, down. Exhale, up.
Keep your mind focused on the breath, the sense of your spine being like a tube. Allow yourself to feel rooted, open, receptive and inspired.
Now, sense or visualize that you are gathering earth energy up towards the perineum, between the genitals and the anus, at the very base of the spine.
Draw it up through the spinal column, your central channel of energy.
Sense or visualize that this energy is travelling up your spine, towards a point between the shoulderblades, at which point the energy splits in two, and travels down each arm to activate your palms. Let your palms turn open.
Now, as though you are holding a big beach ball of energy, scoop that ball of energy up and bring it in towards the crown of your head, so that you bathe your body in Earth energy.
Turn the palms of your hands downward and bring them down, in front of your face, as though you are pressing the energy down the central channel in your spine towards your center of gravity just below the navel.
When your hands reach the level of your navel, stop.
Let your hips move out behind you, as though you were going to sit down. Your hands move forward, turning your palms towards your belly, holding that ball of energy and beaming it into your center of gravity.
Bring your hands towards the belly as your hips move forward again, so that you seal the energy into your center. Your hands move up slightly, around the waist, fingertips forward.
Then, with your hands alongside your body, straighten out your arms and legs, sealing the energy in towards the feet.
Take a few moments here, standing, to integrate the experience before you conclude your practice.
Parvati is an award-winning musician (I Am Light, Electro Yog, Yoga In The Nightclub), yogini (YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine), author (Aonani of Avalon, 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; parvati.org.