Summer is winding down, but the seemingly endless days and activities can affect the body in mysterious ways. Before fall kicks into gear, it's time to come to terms with this season and prepare for the next.
In the world of yoga, the element of summer is fire. Fire can consume us, leaving us feeling hurt and weak.
Each element has a sound and an exercise to help us move the energy of that season. For summer, the Energy Medicine yoga movement called Bringing Down the Flame draws the energy from around and outside of us, into the spinal column, or Sushumna.
Bringing Down the Flame. Stand straight up in tadasana, with your hands on the front of your thighs. Take a deep inhale and exhale, making the sound haaa. Feel a grounding energy building in your hands and going down your legs into the earth.
Inhale, and circle your hands overhead, bringing them together so that all your fingers and the thumbs are touching. Exhale with the haaa sound and bring your thumbs down to the top of your head. Think about pouring the fire down into your spinal column, the core of the nervous system, as well as the energetic core of the body.
Start back down
Release your hands from the crown of your head and circle them around again while you inhale.
Exhale with the sound haaa and bring your fingers and thumbs together, this time with your thumbs touching the middle of your forehead.
And then back up
Again, release your hands and circle them around, exhaling with the haaa and bringing your thumbs above your heart.
Inhale, circle your arms again, and bring your thumbs to your naval. Exhale with the haaa sound, keeping your thumbs there, and tent your fingers so the edges of your pinkies are resting on the pubic bone. Inhale, exhale with the haaa sound, and flatten your hands onto your low belly, keeping your index fingers and thumbs connected.
Finish the pose
Inhale, and smooth your hands down the inside of your legs, then down and off the insides of the feet, shaking them off in front of you. Then exhale with the haaa sound, drawing your hands up the insides of your legs. From your groin, trace out at the hips, move up the outside of your body to your armpits, and come back down your sides, buzzing the spleen-meridian points.
Rest your hands on your thighs and continue to exhale the haaa sound a couple of times.
Ahhhh. Hopefully you feel calmer and more centered.
Adapted from “Energy Medicine Yoga: Amplify the Healing Power of your Yoga Practice” (Sounds True, October 2014)
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