Welcome home to yourself. To this moment. To this brand new cycle of the year. Welcome home.
I’ve been working with the theme of welcoming myself home. Home to more freedom, more stability, more ease, as we begin this calendar year.
As we collectively initiate a new cycle of the solar calendar and as we prepare for the Lunar New Year (another fresh start) on February 10th, we have the opportunity to bring ourselves back to this very moment.
Of course, this is always true, but there’s something special about shared demarcations like a calendar year that bring all of us fresh hope of new beginnings.
I’m currently undertaking the preparatory work for a 108-hour Restorative Yoga Teacher Training with one of my favorite teachers, Jillian Pransky.
I love all yoga but I’m really enamored with the so-gentle practices that come from the restorative yoga tradition.
One of the foundations of the training is establishing a “welcoming space” which allows for more relaxation. This relaxation, in turn, encourages each of us to truly show up, to be seen.
My experiences in healthcare have (unfortunately) been largely unwelcoming. They’ve invited contraction rather than comfort. This has caused all sorts of unwelcome side effects at various points of my own healing journey.
But one of the benefits of witnessing this contraction in myself was being super clear about the environment I wanted to create in my acupuncture practice in order to help others heal.
One of the tenants of my approach as an acupuncturist (and a yoga teacher) is that people need to feel welcomed in order to recover their wellbeing and health.
Hopefully, even from the very earliest point of contact with me–my website (the colors, the actual text, the photos)--my clients feel welcomed and warm.
I fairly continuously take extra care in befriending and regulating my own nervous system so that clients can feel comfortable unburdening their hearts.
Each and every time I leave the acupuncture room to allow clients some space, I ask each time, “Do you feel safe if I leave you for ten minutes?”. I check-in every single time, even if it’s someone I’ve seen dozens or hundreds of times. I truly want everyone to feel welcomed and at ease.
I never assume that people feel safe or comfortable. I always observe, and I often ask others how I can help them feel more relaxed.
I understand that many of us may not have an inherent or internal sense of safety, but I do my best to create the conditions that help people to relax and be real.
As a New Year’s gift, I’m offering you this exercise, available in guided video format, or with the written instructions below.
This exercise will help you begin to access your breath and welcome yourself home to a sense of greater comfort, stability and ease.
Anchor Breathing (Adapted from Jillian Pransky’s “Elevator Breath” from her book Deep Listening, which I highly recommend):
Sit quietly in a stable, comfortable seat. Sit up on the edge of a blanket or the front edge of a pillow if your knees are above your hips or if your low back is rounded back behind you. Sitting with your back against a wall can feel comforting.
Begin to turn to your breath. Feel the breath moving in and out and notice where in your torso the breath is most present for you.
Continue breathing. On every inhale feel the breath moving in down and wide, and as you exhale feel the breath moving up and out.
Bring your attention to your heart. As you inhale, feel the breath move up the front of the chest all the way up to the crown of the head. As you exhale, feel the breath moving down to the bottom of the heart. Repeat this loop 5-15 times.
The next time you exhale down the back of the head to the bottom of the heart, exhale again down the back of the heart to the low belly. Inhale from the low belly up the front of the body to the bottom of the heart. Repeat this loop 5-15 times.
The next time you exhale down the bottom of the heart to the low belly, exhale again from the low belly all the way down to the pelvic floor, to your seat. Inhale from your seat up the front of the body to the low belly. Repeat this loop 5-15 times.
Keeping your attention on your breath, scan your torso and feel where, in this moment, your energy is centered. Whichever loop you find your center point in, repeat that loop 2-3 times. (For example, if you find your center point in your loop from the bottom of the heart to the low belly, repeat that loop 2-3 times.) After repeating that loop 2-3 times, then repeat the loop beneath it 2-3 times until you reach your lowest loop from low belly to your seat. (If your center of gravity was already in your low belly, just stay there, repeating that loop.)
Allow your energy and your breath to drop down your torso until you feel your energy anchored lower in your body.
We spend most of our time in our heads, this exercise allows us to drop into the heart space then to drop even lower to our center of gravity, our seat of wisdom and intuition, our low belly and pelvis where our sense of stability and our gut instincts lie. Allowing the attention to drop gradually down (like an elevator headed towards the basement level) can feel scary but it allows us to center more with our subconscious desires, and to bring those desires into the light with the illumination of our hearts.
May each of us learn to work within the dark, to tolerate discomfort and to become clear about our deepest wishes.
If you’ve been feeling not at home, not integrated within your physical body, acupuncture can help you heal. Reach out to me to learn more about how this amazing system of medicine can help you synchronize with yourself!
Into the Light!