Following the Exhale
A Tibetan practice, called the Shambhala Warrior meditation, invites the meditator to follow an exhalation to the edge of the universe. It's a powerful, expansive practice – one of many relaxation and centering techniques that focus on the exhale. Here are a couple more I've been using lately in my personal practice and with Thursday night's group.
Chakra Opening and Clearing
This breath-oriented meditation mixes traditions from China and India.
With each inhalation, we focus on drawing energy into what QiGong masters call the lower dan tien – the primary energy center of the body, located just behind and below the navel. With each exhalation, we send forth this energy to open, clear and balance the seven chakras – the energy collection and distribution centers of the body described in ancient Hindu texts.
In practice, as we inhale, we visualize light moving into the lower dan tien through the navel. As we exhale, we send the light to each chakra, inviting the chakra to open like a flower bud blossoming. I recommend devoting three or four exhalations to each energy center, in the following sequence:
1. The root chakra at the base of the torso.
2. The sacral chakra in the lower belly.
3. The third chakra in the solar plexus.
4. The heart chakra in the center of the chest.
5. The throat chakra in the center of the throat.
6. The third eye behind the center of the forehead.
7. The crown chakra at the top of the head.
In my recent practice, the chakra opening meditation served as a warm-up to the following meditation.
Journey to the Center
Inhale light into the heart (or perhaps into the crown), then exhale down the body into the center of being. Let your intuition guide you there. For me, it feels like the center is somewhere in the belly and, at the same time, beyond the belly – as if the belly is a gateway to a larger space.
This is a place of deep quiet, where the center of each being meets the center of all being – a place of profound rest and re-creation, repair and restoration, renewal and re-orientation. I believe it's our origin and our destination - a wonderful place to hang out for a while.
I call it home.