We have hundreds of nerves streaming from our spine into all parts of our body. You can see this very clearly laid out in the Bodies exhibit. According to ancient yogic texts, The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, we have thousands of energy channels (nadis) threading through our bodies in a similar way. However you think about it, getting in tune with your inner landscape is a way to learn more about yourself.
The central channel of them all, the Sushumna, has been described to me many times and in many different ways. Visualizing this energy channel as a Golden Red Thread located within my spinal column makes the most sense to me. A few moments of sensing each part of your spine (tail, lumbar, thoracic, cervical and skull) may help to put you in touch with your Sushumna, if not its location.
I wanted to work on this subtle anatomical energy line because an awareness of the Sushumna may help to alignment the head. Feeling the point of termination at the crown of the head prepares us for headstand and keeps us from being led around by our eyes (which are sometimes bigger than our stomachs). Also since the crown chakra is associated with bliss, feeling the top of our heads might make us happier. The other termination point is said to be at the back of our head. Now we can understand what our teachers meant when they said that they have ‘eyes at the back of their heads’.
To initiate the movements of this warm up: follow the leader – the crown of your head. This warm up includes some challenges for the hips. Modify as necessary for yourself. Use props, go at your own pace and do what is best for your circumstances.
1. Sitting On Your Heels (Vajrasana): – If this position is difficult for your knees or ankles use padding to support yourself. Or your can choose another position.
Touch the very top, center of your head.
2. Forward Bend: Leading with this personal point at the crown of your head, bow forward keeping your buttocks grounded on your heels as much as possible.
3. Side Bend:
Making a ¼ circle from the front to the right, trace the crown of your head to your right side. Place your right hand on the floor to support and unfold your left arm overhead, for a side bend to the right.
4. Stand Up On Shins:
Push down on your right hand to lift up to stand on your shins. Right arm up, and left arm down along side your body.
5. Side Bend:
Leading with the crown side bend left, right arm overhead.
6. Stand On Shins, Hands On Waist:
Return to center, both hands on waist
7. Step Right Foot Forward:
Step right foot forward as you continue to shine through your Sushumna.
8. Deep Lunge, Circling Arms:
Bend your right knee more into a deep lunge while circling your arms front, up, back and down.
9. Simple Twist Right (Bharadvajasana): Come back onto your shins, using your arms as necessary. Place your hips on the floor to the right of your feet and twist towards the right.
10. Mini Boat:
Bring both shins together to the front with your knees bent. Lift your lower legs parallel to the floor if possible, pressing your hands into the floor for support. As you get more warmed up, you can straighten your legs and keep your hands off the floor.
12. Return to Sit on Your Heels (Vajrasana): Repeat left side.