Tap into your connection with the universe to discover endless possibility with this practice designed by Sarah Platt-Finger, co-founder of ISHTA Yoga in New York City and Deepak Chopra’s yoga teacher. The physical poses and purifying breathing technique can dissolve stress and align you physically and mentally, leaving you open to experiencing higher consciousness, or a sense of inspiration, awe, pure joy, peace, liberation, love, and hope. As you practice, visualize electromagnetic energy moving through you with each breath. Be mindful of your mind-body connection and how it allows you to feel open, expansive, and at one with everything around you. In each pose, reflect on how you, at your root, are consciousness. Remind yourself:
Use this breath to purify your body and mind and find inspiration.
Take a comfortable seat—one that allows you to lengthen your spine. On your inhalations, either softly say out loud or internally recite the mantra so, also pronounced sah (the sound of pure energy and awareness, and of inspiration). Feel your spine grow long, the top of your head lift, and your side ribs expand. Visualize a line of energy running from the top of your head to the base of your spine; this is the internal cosmic superhighway (also called the brahma nadi) that connects your higher consciousness and higher chakras, or energy centers, to your lower consciousness and lower chakras. On your exhalations, resonate the mantra hum (the sound of transformation). Pull the low belly in and distribute that awareness into each cell of your body. You can use this technique any time you need inspiration—at the grocery store, sitting in traffic—or on its own as a meditation. For now, take 3–5 minutes to focus on so hum breath, then practice it in each of the following poses, clearing the primary energy channel along your spine and making room for awareness.
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This pose opens your front body and uplifts you. Our front bodies relate to our volition, movement into the future, and connection to the outside world. Opening the heart helps us acknowledge our connection to all things.
From seated, come to all fours and step your right foot between your hands. Inhale to lift your torso and stack your shoulders over your hips, extending your arms alongside your ears. Make sure your right knee doesn’t move past your right ankle. Support your lower back and maintain that clear line of energy along your spine by engaging your abdominal muscles. You can think of brahma nadi as a straw. As soon as you add a kink, the flow of water, or prana (life force), is blocked. Stay mindful of your back ribs, too, keeping them lifted. Your back body represents the past and internal awareness. So as you open your heart, find balance between front and back, future and past. Stay here for 5–8 so hum breaths, then switch sides.
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This pose opens the backs of your legs, which represent your unconscious mind and stuck feelings and patterns. When we harbor stuck emotions, it’s hard to feel connected. Poses that stretch the backs of the legs help us release things to which we may not be inherently aware we’re clinging. Once they’re released, we experience ourselves in a more holistic way and connect to universal intelligence and awareness.
Come back to all fours and spread your fingers wide, rooting thumbs and forefingers into the earth. Press your hips up and back, finding space in your torso and reconnecting to the line of energy along your spine. Lower your heels, without losing length in your spine. Hold for 8–10 so hum breaths.
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This standing pose frees your breath by opening the intercostal muscles between your ribs that expand and contract with your lungs as you breathe. The breath is the vehicle for prana, which enlivens us and connects the mind and body.
Come to standing. Feel rooted to the earth through your feet. Inhale to extend your arms up and bring your palms together overhead. Engage your lower-abdominal muscles to support your low back, and keep your shoulders relaxed. As you inhale, lift through the top of your head. Stay grounded as you lift, so that you can expand without moving outside your physical experience. Exhale to sidebend to your right. Take 5 so hum breaths here before inhaling back to center and exhaling to the other side. Take 5 more so hum breaths.
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Triangle Pose is another posture that helps you stay grounded while connecting to the sky and beyond—to what is vast and unbound.
Step your legs 2–3 feet apart; turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot in slightly. Inhale to extend your arms out to your sides. Exhale and reach to the right, lengthening your spine before placing your right hand on the floor or a block under your right shoulder. Reach your left hand skyward. Remain mindful of that subtle line of energy from the top of your head to the base of your spine. Take 8–10 so hum breaths here. Inhale to come up, pivot your feet, and practice the pose on the other side for the same number of breaths. When you’re done, find Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
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Opening your chest energetically relates to unblocking your heart charkra—a bridge that connects matter and spirit. When we balance the heart chakra, we understand the inherent connection between people and all things. We can see ourselves in others.
Bow Pose allows you to further open your front body and heart. Lie prone on your mat, bend your knees, and reach for your feet or ankles. On an inhalation, lift your torso and head and press your feet up toward the sky, helping you to lift your chest higher. Hold here for 5 so hum breaths.
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This pose emphasizes connecting to your back body, which also represents your ability to be introspective. Practicing Baddha Konasana will bring a sense of quiet and calm, preparing you for your final resting pose or meditation. Now is when transformation truly happens—when we start to connect to a subtler realm. Helping you fuel those feelings of tranquility is the hip-opening element of this pose. The hips are the seat of the second chakra, which energetically relates to water, creativity, and emotions.
Take a comfortable seat and bring the soles of your feet together as close to your groins as possible. Inhale to lengthen your spine; exhale to slowly fold forward over your feet. Be mindful of maintaining the line of energy that runs from the top of your head to the base of your spine. Take 8–10 so hum breaths, lengthening with each inhale and trying to relax with each exhale
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Connecting with the universe is ultimately about deep surrender. As you lie here, notice the thoughts that drift through your head. If we are bound by thoughts of where we think we should be or how we should have been, we won’t be able to feel our authentic selves. To access pure awareness, or our true essence, we have to let go of all of these thoughts.
From Bound Angle, lie back on a bolster or rolled blanket. Add extra support under your head and knees if it helps you relax. You want to feel your joints as soft and spacious. Turn your palms up and close your eyes. Stay in this pose for as long as you need to feel calm.
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Sarah Platt-Finger is the co-founder of ISHTA Yoga and the private yoga teacher of Deepak Chopra. She teaches trainings, workshops, and retreats internationally with her husband, ISHTA Yoga co-founder Alan Finger. Platt-Finger is also on the board of directors for Exhale to Inhale, a nonprofit organization that teaches yoga to survivors of domestic violence. Her daughter, Satya, inspires her every day to live a life based on love and unbound potential.