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Today, we’ll build on the foundational practices we’ve done thus far to enjoy robust breathing, a free mind, and a bird’s-eye view with a light heart. By turning upside down to open the throat and neck, we’re prepping for a full integration of the meditation practice.
Supported Headstand, prep
From Down Dog, lower your elbows to the floor and interlace your hands. Tuck in your bottom pinky and place the crown of your head on the floor, forearms hugging your head. Lift your knees, root your forearms, and relax your shoulders as you walk your feet closer to your elbows. Magnetize your shoulder blades toward one another and lengthen the line from your pelvis to your crown. Breathe deeply for 3 to 5 breaths. Come into full Headstand if you like. Lower into Child’s Pose and rest for a few breaths.
Find a comfortable seat and place your right hand on the left side of your head, extending your left fingertips onto the floor next to you. Take 3 breaths here, and then switch sides.
See also Elena Brower’s Inner-Power Practice
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
Move your left hand to your left thigh, with thumb and index fingers touching. Bring your right hand up near your face, palm facing you. You’ll use the thumb of your right hand to gently close your right nostril, and the index or ring finger of your right hand to close your left nostril. To start, close your right nostril and gently and fully inhale through the left nostril; then close your left nostril and exhale through the right. Inhale through your right nostril, and then close your right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. Repeat for 3 to 5 minutes. This practice balances the right and left hemispheres of your brain, with the potential to even out mood swings and ease addictive tendencies, headaches, and anxiety. It also helps you stay receptive to your highest self and sit in your simplest form of awareness.
Find a comfortable seat. (If you had a favorite meditation position from the previous 4 days, opt for that.) Now, before you meditate, whisper the Adi Mantra: Ong namo gurudev namo. This sacred Kundalini mantra calls upon the highest source of all teachings—it’s our time to invoke and honor the teachers who’ve brought us wisdom, as well as the wisdom that’s come to us through our family, soulmates, friends, and work. Stay here for 5, 10, or 20 minutes.
Elena Brower is the author of Art of Attention, a renowned yoga workbook, now translated into five languages. Studying and teaching since 1998, she’s respected globally for her distinct blend of alignment and attention in her teaching of yoga and meditation. Her audio meditation coursework, Cultivating Spiritual Intelligence, is beloved for its accessibility and relevance, and her yoga teaching is influenced by several traditions including Katonah Yoga, Kundalini and ParaYoga. Elena is also the founder of Teach.yoga, a global website for teachers, and her second book, Practice You, will be published in 2018 by Sounds True. Practices with Elena can be found on YogaGlo.com.