How can we take a step back to take time to reflect inward in this increasingly distracted and hurried world? Create a personal yoga practice, when you are alone with an inner reflection you are able to tap into your own creativity, intuition, purpose and what truly makes you happy. The world we live in is noisy, take time to be quite and reflect inward even if all you can take is fifteen minutes for your personal care.
1. Sit in Swastikasana - Auspicious Pose to chant "OM" three times. Interestingly enough Paranva, OM or AUM the sound when chanted vibrates at the same frequency found through out nature. OM literally is the basic sound of the earth or it is even thought of as the sound of the universe. By chanting OM and at the beginning of your practice you are symbolically as well as physically tuning into nature and by chanting OM there is an effect on the body, the vibration slows down your nervous system and actually calms the mind. Another reason we chant OM at the beginning and end of the practice is to define a transition from daily life declaring this is a time for yourself.
2. Adho Mukha Vrksasana - Upward Facing Tree Pose practice holding for one minute, set a timer. Start with Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Facing Dog Pose, spread your fingers and bring more weight into the pads of the fingertips and the knuckles of your hands. Step one leg up about halfway and lift the other leg high in the air. Use the wall and kick up on an exhale breath. Once you are up continue to breathe through your nose and draw your legs into each other, have the extension of the legs reach your feet, spread your toes, reach your toes mounds away from you and the outer edges of your feet back towards your outer hips, continuing to roll the thighs from out to in. Keep your arms straight and strong, rotate the triceps towards your nose and grip the floor with your fingertips. Be sure to practice kicking up with both legs.
3. The king of all the poses, Sirsasana - Headstand, practice holding for one minute, set a timer. Press well the outer hands, wrists, center forearm bones and inner elbows, very little weight on the crown of the head. Have the extension of the legs reach and go through your feet. Reach up from the inner legs to the inner ankles, puff your inner heels, spread your toes, reach your toe mounds away from you and have the outer edges of your feet reach towards your outer hips. Move your shoulders towards the elbows continue to press well through the outer hands, wrists, center forearm bones, inner elbows, broaden the collar bones and draw the shoulder blades into the back body, keep your mid-buttocks in and use the legs to lift you up.
4. The Queen Mother of all the poses, Salamba Sarvangasana - Shoulder Stand, hold for as long or even longer than you held Sirsasana, Headstand. Move the shoulders towards the elbows, press well the outer arm and elbows down and use your legs to lift up. Be sure your thighs are moving from out to in, draw your mid-buttocks in and lift up. Have the extension of the legs reach and go through your feet. Reach up from the inner legs to the inner ankles, puff your inner heels, spread your toes, reach your toe mounds away from you and have the outer edges of your feet reach towards your outer hips.
5. Urdhva Dhanurasana - Upward Facing Bow Pose. Be sure your abdomen is relaxed and breathe. Move your top buttock flesh towards the hamstrings/ heels, draw your triceps towards your nose and the shoulder blades into the back body. Keep your feet parallel to each other as best you can and press well your inner heels and big toe mounds, lift up from the hips and the armpits. Straight arms, press into the the palms of the hands but also bring weight into the knuckles and fingertips.
6. Practice Savasana - Corpse Pose for a minimum of one minute, set a timer. The practice flushes the nervous system with a host of new neuromuscular information and Savasana gives the nervous system a chance to integrate and absorb all of the benefits. Just as we distinguish a moment with the seated meditation at the beginning of the practice signifying the start, Savasana at the end is also a moment distinguishing between the end of the practice and now going forward with your day and daily life. Once you come up from Savasana be sure to reflect back to your intention created at the beginning of the practice and then lastly seal the practice chanting "Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shantih".