Five of us gathered after dark on the rooftop of a Wall Street high-rise in New York City’s financial district.
Armed with nothing but a Bluetooth speaker and a smile, Fern Olivia instructs us all to lay down our mats. The night is slightly breezy, but warm enough to practice without discomfort.
The first poses we do are unique, centered around cleansing our chakras, the seven subtle energy points in the non-physical body, according to Indian teachings. We needed to “clear ourselves” of the energy picked up from people on the street by “shaking them off.” On one side of me is a shirtless guy wearing lots of beads, on the left is a 13-year-old girl making me feel ridiculous for not being able to land a handstand.
I lower my arms to create “an aura of grace” and build a protective white light around me and look up and see the lights symbolic of the Twin Towers shooting into the clouds.
It’s an experience of yoga that likely can’t be replicated anywhere but in New York City, but the chakra cleansing exercises are easy to do at home.
Using a Kundalini breathing exercise, which is supposed to “rinse out” the digestive organs, you can nourish and flush your kidneys, cleanse your blood, and expand lung capacity, which will in turn support your thyroid.
“All our glandular systems work in synergy, so when we support our liver, spleen, kidneys, and lymphatic system, we support our thyroid,” Fern explains.
Set a timer for three minutes, and begin.
1. Find a cross-legged seat (or sit upright in a chair with feet planted on the floor), close your eyes gently and gaze at the space in between your eyebrows and slightly up. This is your third eye, where your intuition is located in the energetic body. We will focus on strengthening your intuitive awareness as you acknowledge and strengthen your inner healer.
2. Lengthen your spine as you sit up tall, feeling a long line of energy from the base of your spine up and out the crown of your head.
3. Open your left arm out to the side like a wing, parallel to the earth, with the palm of your hand facing outward. Bend your elbow so your left palm faces in towards your heart. Place your right palm facing your left palm and clasp your fingers together as you create a tension on the palms almost as if you were pulling them apart.
4. As you inhale, twist your torso to the left. Every time you twist to the left, you send circulation and blood flowing to your heart.
5. As you exhale, twist your torso to the right. Every time you twist to the right, you are detoxifying your liver.
6. As you move your torso, be sure to keep your sit bones grounded and your spine tall, so the containers around your internal organs broaden and you have room to rinse and flush your glandular system.
7. Keep your palms at the height of your throat to send energy to your thyroid as you release stagnation in your lower organs with each twist.
8. Once you hear your timer for three minutes, reach your arms straight up alongside your ears with your fingertips reaching toward the sky. Invite a deep breath to fill you up on your inhalation and before you exhale, hold and retain the breath, as you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles in and up, hug your navel to your spine, and press your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
9. Hold and retain this breath as long as you can, then open your mouth and exhale deeply, releasing any stagnation out of your body.. Repeat this two more times, then lower your arms and place your palms face down onto your thighs.
Keep your eyes closed and breathe deeply, noticing the effect of this breathwork on your physical and energetic state. Notice how you feel, notice what has shifted, what has been released.
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