There is a series of eight sequential movements in qigong called “eight pieces of brocade” or “eight silken movements” that has been around for hundreds of years. Individual movements of the Brocades are intended to cleanse and stimulate the body’s various meridians. It is recommended that you practice the Brocades every day to restore health and enhance it.
One of my lovely yoga students, who also practices qigong, asked me if there is a similar sequence of asanas in yoga that could be practiced every day to support our health. The most famous sequence of poses that immediately comes to mind is Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar, that has been around for a long time. One practical disadvantage that I see in Surya Namaskar is that it requires you to put your hands on the floor, which is not convenient in some settings, and certain pose transitions can be challenging for some students.
Individual yoga traditions and yoga teachers might have their own sequences that they practice and teach regularly. And today I wanted to introduce to you a series of six movements that I have developed to move the energy throughout the body following the Five Vayus model.
In yoga, we use the Pancha Vayu Model (Five Vayus Model) extensively to understand and address physiological imbalances. This model represents the movement of nourishment throughout our systems. It recognizes that for the body to be alive and healthy, you need to take nourishment in (in the form of food, water, sensory information and experiences), then you need to process it somehow, distribute and absorb the nutrients, eliminate waste, and, as a result, heal, grow and evolve. Multiple organ systems are involved in each aspect of this process. When a particular direction of energy movement becomes weak or stifled, it can lead to malfunctioning of our physiological systems.
Therefore, it is essential to move our energy in all five directions regularly to make sure that all Vayus are flowing properly. And this is exactly what we do in the short standing practice below. This practice is inspired by the Brocades and is meant to support balanced physiological functioning. You can do this practice anywhere, anytime, whenever your energy feels stagnant. For this practice, you do not need a yoga mat or much floor space.
Since the main goal of this practice is to direct your energy, it is essential to maintain deep breathing throughout and make sure that every movement is guided by your breath. As you do your movements, try to envision the direction of a particular energy flow in your mind AND try to embody it, as well. This would make your practice much more effective. Please give it a try and let me know how it feels!
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