A shift in posture can be enough to create a paradigm shift in mood. In fact, the act of bringing awareness to the habitual patterns that inform our posture, even in something as simple as how you are sitting as you read this, can be enough to reduce the anxiety you may be feeling at the moment or to boost your energy. This practice is inspired by my reading an advance copy of Anodea Judith, PhD’s new book, Chakra Yoga, due out in September.
Posture Change Awareness Exercise with Breath and Sound
Notice how you are sitting now. Is the chin forward? Are the shoulders rounded? Are the shoulders raised toward your ears? Now just exaggerate this a little bit. Here’s how Anodea Judith guides it:
“When you can’t go any further in the direction of doing it more, slowly begin to do it less, or “undo” what you are doing, following the body as it unravels itself from that habitual response. It’s important to move very slowly as you unravel your habitual response, and simply follow your body as it moves to a new place. Stay with it until the unraveling feels complete, and take a moment to sense this new place without moving.” (Judith, Chakra Yoga, 2015)
Now let’s include an awareness of the breath as we repeat this three more times.
- Inhale, into the habitual but exaggerated position. Now slowly exhale for 8 counts or whatever count comfortably extends your exhale without strain as you move in the opposite direction. Do this two more times on your own.
- Now let’s add sound. We’ll use the calming tones of “ay” for the heart, “ee” for the throat and “mm” for the brow point, as we flow in the opposite direction.
- Inhale into the habitual but exaggerated pose. Exhale with ay-ee-mm as you “unravel your habitual response.”
- Breathe here and, with your eyes remaining closed, sense the energy in your face, your throat, your chest. Are you aware of any other subtle changes?
- Inhale to your crown, “I am.”
- Exhale to your sits bones, “here.”
Special thanks to Anodea Judith for her inspiration.