Stand in front of a full body mirror. Close the eyes. This is a yoga pose called “Tadasana,” which means to calmly stand tall, feet shoulder-width apart, arms by the sides and fingers long by the thighs. Go inside the mind and let all thoughts go. Focus inward on inhaling/exhaling deeply, keeping the eyes gently closed. When the mind and body are relaxed, take several more breaths and slowly open the eyes. Observe and study your reflection in the mirror.
Look deeply into your mirrored image. The first calmness, self-inventory step is to make an objective assessment of your facial expression that greets all those you meet. Do your lips turn down on the edges? Are you quenching your forehead together into deep lines? Are your eyes frowning? Do you think you are reflecting a positive image of how you see yourself? Can you reframe your thinking to change your expression i.e. gradually working to release frown lines engrained in the forehead and uplifting the edges of your lips into a smile? Can you maintain the smile? Observe how the energy changes.
According to research, “When you smile, your brain is aware of the activity and actually keeps track of it. The more you smile, the more effective you are at breaking the brain’s tendency to think negatively. If you smile, you rewire the brain to make positive patterns more often” (Fast Company, Penn State University, Vivian Giang, Jan 28, 2015).
The mind creates positive or negative energy to define our reality and path. If we focus on creating positive energy and calm thoughts, eventually, negative energy can be dissolved.
Now, let’s move from the mirror to the floor as a way to change negative energy into positive anatomical transformation. As the Nike shoe commercial says, “Just do it!”
Begin re-imaging in the core of the body with abdominal twists. As we execute this simple yoga posture, the abdominal muscle gain strength and tightness. With a lateral twist of the spine, backaches, lumbago and pain in the hip joints gradually release. (Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar, 1976). In yoga, we do the best we can without making negative judgments, as we are on a journey to rekindle/reshape the mind/body.
Twists are important in a yoga practice. Begin in a seated posture with crossed legs and knees outward. Sit evenly on both sitting bones. Lengthen the spine and take a deep breath through the nose. Let go of all worldly thoughts and come into a state of serenity. Slowing extend one leg, keeping the spine straight and cross it over the other thigh with a bent knee. Twist the body around the bent knee and rest the elbow on one side. Hold the posture. Yoga is slow moving to coax the body gradually into different postures.
When the spine is lengthened, the abdominal muscles become more powerful and shoulder movement easier. When this posture is practiced regularly, the spine releases stored energy and becomes increasingly flexible. The result is greater mobility in walking, running and just plain sitting without crushing the nerves. The result is that we feel better.
The Yoga “Calmness Self Inventory” is the first step in creating beautiful thoughts and actions. Smile and spread joy!