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I Took a Sound Bath And It Changed the Way I Meditate

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A couple years ago, I heard ABC News anchor Dan Harris speak at Chicago Ideas Week. He told all of us in the audience how mindfulness meditation changed his life. He was a self-proclaimed "fidgety skeptic" who had an on-air panic attack, then discovered meditation and became a happier, more focused person. I was sold.

Full Wheel Pose, Shoulder Opening Variation

Lie on back with knees bent and feet on the ground, hip-width apart. Bend elbows and place hands on either side of head, shoulder-width apart with fingers pointing toward shoulders. Pressing into feet and hands equally, lift hips and lengthen arms. Keep pressing into feet through the big toes and reach chest away from feet. To deepen the pose, walk your feet closer to your hands, keeping them parallel to one another. Straighten your arms and press into your big toes to reach your chest beyond your wrists. Breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths.

Photo: Jon Anderson

Fully Bound King Dancer Pose

Begin standing at the front of your mat holding a strap. Transfer your weight into your left foot, and, keeping your knees closed, bend your right knee and loop the strap around the top of your right foot. Feel all four corners of your left foot rooting into the ground. Soften through your left knee and breathe. Next, hold the strap in your right hand and, giving yourself slack in the strap, bend your right elbow behind your head and start to lightly press your right foot into the strap, opening the shoulder. Bend your left elbow over and behind your head as well, and grab the strap with that hand. Breathe here. Crawl your hands slowly down the strap toward your foot, one hand at a time, breathing each hand movement along the way. Take hold of the foot with your hands and lightly press your foot up into your hands and away. Drop strap if you like. Breathe here for at least 3 deep breaths, and then come out of the pose as slowly as you came in and repeat on the other side.

Photo: Jon Anderson

Fully Bound King Pigeon

From down dog, sweep right shin forward, toward the front of the mat, but not as parallel to the front of the mat as you would in a forward-bending pigeon. Keep left leg long behind you, toes untucked. Bend left knee, take hold of the left foot, and place foot in crook of left elbow. Reach right arm to the ceiling, bend right elbow, and reach right hand back to clasp left hand. Breathe here. Next, take a strap, loop it around back foot with enough slack to face torso forward, bringing upper arms on either side of head with forearms parallel to the ceiling and hands holding the strap. Slowly, start to crawl hands as close to back foot as they want to get. Stay here, or when possible, take hold of the back foot with both hands and release the strap. Breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths. Come out of the pose very slowly. Repeat on the other side.

Photo: Jon Anderson

Full Split

Begin in low lunge with your right foot forward. Release your left knee to the ground. Walk your hands back as you reach your hips back toward your left heel and lengthen your right leg to runner's lunge. Fingertips can be tented on the ground or your hands can be on blocks. Breathe here, then slide your right heel forward as far as it feels comfortable. Eventually, your hips will release squarely to the ground. Once steady, reach arms over head with hands in Venus Mudra: clasped with pointer fingers reaching up. Stay in this position for at least 3 deep breaths, then slowly come out of the pose. Repeat on the left.

Photo: Jon Anderson