Last week in our yoga classes we spent time with San Mukhi Mudra, the six gates lock. “Mudra” means gesture. The six gates lock essentially blocks our six senses, including our sixth sense of perception and intuition. This Mudra is said to be relaxing, comforting, quietening, rejuvenating and helps to establish peace and tranquillity. This technique is a lock to help draw your mind away from the distractions of the busy world outside, and inwards to a source of peace. It will help you slow down and relax.
How to do it; (read this through first!)
Lay in savasana, or take a comfortable seated position.
Open your hands
Turn the palms to your face, thumbs towards your ears
Gently place the thumbs over the ears to block out the sense of hearing.
Close your eyes and place your index fingers and middle fingers onto the closed eyelids.
The forth ring fingers will be placed on the nose to block the sense of smell in a moment. Don’t block it yet as you will need to take a deep breath. The fourth fingers rest on the part of the nose, where the fleshy part meets the bony part.
The little fingers rest on the lips.
Know that you don’t need to close your nose if it is uncomfortable.
If you are happy to close the nose then take a deep breath. Hold the breath.
Then close the eyes, squeeze the nose, plug the ears, and relax.
When you need to breathe you can either release the nose and breathe in through the nose or mouth, take a breath and then apply the lock again.
To start with take three holds of the breath before returning to the natural breath.
If you’re comfortable take a few more. Release the hands to your sides and notice how you feel.
Has it made you feel comfort and quieter? Have a go. Some people love it and some people aren't so keen. Let me know what you think.
Last week we focused on twists in our vinyasa flow classes.
Yoga twists are postures that involve moving the shoulder girdle in the opposite direction to the hips. Some twists open the spine and chest; other twists compress the abdomen.
Benefits of Yoga Twists
Twists have many benefits including:
Maintaining normal spinal rotation - We can become stiff without movement, so twists help to keep your spine mobile.
Twists help us to release stress - Some twists open the chest and shoulders releasing stored tension.
Helps us to create space in the chest and lungs - If we twist the spine and open the chest we can breathe more deeply and easily, and if we can breathe more deeply and easily then the body can function normally.
Some twists that compress the abdomen help the body to detox. A twist to the internal organs helps to squeeze out impurities, and then as we release the twist new blood enters so that nutrients and oxygen flow to the organs.
Twists can also improve digestive function - Essentially some twists compress your digestive organs. And again when you release there is a rush of fresh blood to those organs, increasing blood flow and function.
When you practice yoga today try adding a twist. Here are some ideas: