Staying young for a long, long time is a wonderful, blessed way to live. As women, we have so much to give as we mature, so much wisdom born of hard earned experience, and so much loving kindness to share. So let’s keep our good health and vitality and reap the profit of a life well-lived.
One of the very best ways I’ve found to stay young is to practice Kundalini yoga–which is a complete system of revitalization. Just for the fun of it and because we women love to feel relaxed and beautiful, here are some yoga exercises from my book, Yoga for Women. Enjoy, and may you feel like the radiant soul that you are!
FACIAL TENSION RELEASER:
For a deep release of facial tension, press firmly and hold each position for 3 breaths.
Using your thumbs, find the indentation directly under your cheekbones. Begin to press all along that ridge. Massage the muscle under the cheekbones from the inside area close to your nose to the outer edge where it meets your jaws.
This exercise brings flexibility to the spine, which is the true measure of youthfulness.
1. Sit on your heels with your spine straight. Place your palms on the ground just in front of the knees. Bring your neck vertebrae in line with your spine by lifting head while tucking the chin slightly in toward the neck. You will resemble one of those statues of a Buddhist temple lion.
2. Begin flexing your spine to its maximum capacity, keeping the elbows straight as you flex. Inhale and arch your spine, lifting your chest while keeping your head level.
3. Exhale as you round your spine so that your chest curves inward. Keep a constant rhythm. You may begin to sweat lightly on the forehead and spine. Continue for 2-3 minutes.
MEDITATION FOR EMOTIONAL BALANCE
Before practicing this meditation, drink a glass of pure water, preferably at room temperature. Emotions and the need for water and intricately connected. When there is an imbalance of water in the system and the kidneys are pressurized, there is a tendency toward anxiety and upset behavior.
1. Sit in Easy pose. Straighten the spine and keep the chest lifted throughout the meditation. Place your arms across your chest and lock your hands under your armpits with the palms open and against the body. The thumbs may be outside the armpits.
2. Raise your shoulders up toward your earlobes as far as possible and hold them there. Apply the neck lock by contracting back on the neck and throat. The chin is pulled in, and the cervical vertebrae are in alignment with the spine. Maintain the neck lock throughout the meditation. Close your eyes. Your breath will automatically become slow. Begin with 3 minutes of practice, gradually increasing the time to 11 minutes.
This meditation is very good for women, and is essential at times when one is worried, upset, doesn’t know what to do, or is on the verge of rage. The combination of drinking water, followed by applying pressure at the armpits with the raised shoulders and neck lock applied creates a tight lock on the entire upper area. Combined with the natural slowing of the breath rate, this locked posture forms an automatic “brake” that is applied to the brain. The brain cannot continue its previous pattern of thinking, and within a short amount of time will restore itself to balance.
When finished, take at least 5 minutes to lie down on your back with hands at the sides. Breathe deeply without forcing the breath. You may like to imagine the sound of the ocean coming up to the shore on the in-breath, and back to the sea on the out-breath. Enjoy!
Shakta Khalsa leads Kundalini Yoga for Radiant Health and Beauty.