It always surprises me how powerful it can be. It can change the way I’m feeling, it can shift me out of myself. Just squeezing my palms towards my fingers. It’s easy to do but I don’t do it too often, I forget.
The palm of our hand fits perfectly over our inner ankle. But when was the last time you put it there? Maybe we’ve lost a bit of curiosity about our own body.
Touch is always here, it’s always now. It pulls you into “Beginners Mind”—that humbling attitude that we don’t really know anything. It puts us back into the quest of discovering. We’re making our way in the dark, let’s sharpen our senses and listen attentively not only with our ears but also with our hands.
Our arms and hands are extensions of our hearts. Let’s be brave and reach out and connect to others. But first we need to tap into our center, our spiritual core. By doing this we find calm for our overheated nervous system. Grounding for our subtle energy circuits.
Bringing our senses inside, pratyahara, is an important step on the way to self-knowledge and our quest to reach our full potential. Here we’re working with touch in the same way we use when we focus on listening to our own breath in meditation practice.
Touch the top of your head.
By touching the crown of the head we bring our attention downwards, grounding ourselves. It’s easy to let the mind fly and our attention scatter, this is a good way to get it back. To come back into the body and get out of our heads. At the same time it reminds the spine to stand tall, to stack the hips and lengthen the neck. Stability, being grounded, allows us to grow tall and reach high.
Hand over heart.
A hand over the center of our chest can make us feel protected. Also as we feel our heart beating wildly we’re reminded of our own powerfulness, of our expansive inner universe, our deepest nature, our divine essence. Hearing our own little drum brings us back to marching to it. Our biology usually shows us whether we’re on our right path. Let’s not forget our greatness, our truest self, our full potential. We are safe and we are powerful beyond measure.
Hands on the kidneys.
Reset and refresh by placing the palms of the hands on the sides of the lower back. Elbows will be pointing back and maybe you’ll come into a little bit of a backbend. But don’t let yourself fall out of your center. Water energy makes us cool, fun and flexible it allows us to flow and to flush out what doesn’t serve us.
Handling the hands.
If we grab our wrist with fingers around it and squeeze it, there’s a liberating release. They hold tension from typing, texting, downward dogs and handstands. Let go. Wrists usually hold energies related to giving, grasping or clinging. By releasing them we may also be setting free our spirit of generosity.
Push out with our thumbs over our palms, all the way up to the finger tips stretching the knuckles. Rubbing the palms of the hands together brings heat. Energizing us to give, to make, to not hold back.
Hands over eyes.
Covering our eyes brings full darkness, a pure break from our eyes that are constantly toasting with so many screens and lights. Now your bringing one more of your senses inward. We live in visual overload, hypnotic messages pouncing at us from every corner. In the total darkness of the warm of our hands we find refuge, the deep muscles of our eyes relax.
Hands over ears.
As the palm covers the ears the heel and side of the hand can press a little bit into the side of the jaw. And as we gently let go we listen to the loud silence of our palms, not pure silence, more like when you put your head under water. Stretch out your lobes and move the tops of the ears. Ears are often neglected, forgotten. They’re connected to our equilibrium senses and massaging them does wonders for our balance.
Emotion is embodied. Emotions are tightly knitted in our muscles and in our joints. A simple touch brings release. It liberates deep tension and subtle blockages.
Make contact with your self, through your skin with happy healing hands. It’s simple and yet deeply transformational.
Massage is highly regulated and scientific but don’t let that make it remote and inaccessible. Thai massage, for example, is full of magic numbers and imaginary lines but it comes down to intuitiveness and practice.
These touch exercises can become mindfulness practices. Sharpen your senses and enhance your awareness. Find what works for you and do it once in a while, during your day, before yoga class or in moments of desperation. Or when overcome by strong loving and gratefulness feelings to soak them in.
Go ahead and touch yourself.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photos: Wiki Commons