Intuition. Your gut. Instinct—whatever you choose to call it, we all possess an inner-guidance system that knows what is best for us, what path we should take, decisions we should make. Your body knows your deeper purpose from one moment to the next. But just how in tune with your inner knowing are you?
Your inner intelligence is always offering clues. Learn to hear them with these seven movements.
Move #1: Sensing Heartbeat and Breath
To invite introspection and inner listening.
- Stand tall with your feet under your hips.
- Rest your right hand on your heart.
- Turn your left palm open and touch your thumb and index finger together.
- Inhale into your rib cage. Pause at the top and exhale all the way out. Pause at the bottom.
- Repeat, feel your heart beating in those moments of pause. Count how many heartbeats per inhale and exhale.
Move #2: Assisted Soft Lateral Neck Stretch
To release tension from shoulder to ear.
- Stand with your feet parallel to one another, about hip width.
- Brace your core and level your head on your neck.
- Open your right hand out to your side, palm facing up.
- Tilt your head to the left and bring your left hand onto your right side of your head.
- Gently pull your left ear toward your left shoulder as you reach your right arm away.
- Inhale and exhale here for a few rounds, dropping your right shoulder away.
- Release and repeat on the opposite side.
Move #3: Chest Opener at the Wall
To stretch pectorals and soft tissues around the clavicle.
- Stand a few inches away facing a wall.
- Reach your right arm up at a diagonal and place your right hand on the wall.
- Tent your left finger tips and place them on the wall out beside your left shoulder, elbow at shoulder height.
- Rotate your body to the left, rotating your feet to face left, until you feel a stretch in your right pec (front of the chest).
- Pause here, firming your legs, glutes and abdomen, as you push your right hand and left fingertips into the wall.
- Rotate your neck to look over your left shoulder. Inhale and exhale here.
- Rotate back toward the wall and switch sides.
Move #4: Short Warrior 1 With Upper-Arm Stretch
To lengthen the entire side seam of fascia.
- Stand with your feet together, knees slightly bent.
- Step your right foot back and angle your right foot forward.
- With your front knee bent and stacked over your right heel, turn your hips so they are evenly pressing forward.
- Press your back heel down, reach both arms forward and flex both elbows to place your right hand on your upper back and your left hand on your right elbow.
- As you press your heel back, push your elbow up. Firm everything in to hold this shape. Inhale and exhale here.
- Release by leaning forward, reaching your arms forward and stepping up to center. Repeat on the opposite side.
Move #5: Straddle Twist With Long Spine
For whole-body revolution.
- Step into a wide straddle with your feet parallel.
- Bring your hands to your hips.
- If your hamstrings feel tight here, bend your knees slightly.
- Keep your spine long as you fold forward from your hips.
- Bring you left fingertips to tent on the floor under your chest—if that’s too far, use a block, book or chair for support.
- Rotate to open your chest as you bring your right arm up to the sky.
- Straighten your right leg. Inhale here.
- Push your tailbone back and your chest forward to keep a long spine throughout the movement.
- As you exhale, bend your right knee and rotate around to bring your right fingertips to tent on the floor and open to your left, left arm to the sky. Straighten your right leg.
- Inhale here, and as you exhale, come back to center. Place both hands on your hips, press your chest forward and push up to stand.
Move #6: Single-Leg Knee-to-Chest Balance
Internalize your attention to find balance.
- Stand with your feet together. Ground through your left foot and come onto your right toes.
- Bring your right knee up to hip height. Maintain a tall spine.
- Reach around your right knee to hold and gaze forward. You also can hold under your right thigh if that’s more comfortable.
- Draw your knee up as you drill your right heel down and stay connected with your inner experience as your body wobbles and finds balance.
- Set your foot down and repeat on the opposite side.
Move #7: Quiet Seat With Jnana Mudra
Engendering the posture and attitude of meditation will unify your inner intelligence with the outer world and set the stage for wise words and skillful action.
- Sit comfortably in a chair, on a cushion or blanket, or with your back against the wall.
- Bring your thumb and forefingers to touch on each hand and rest your hands on your knees.
- Close your eyes lightly, and notice with your ears and your skin what is going on around you.
- Shift your attention to listening within. Feel the movement of your breath; feel the beat of your heart.
- Take a few breaths to listen in. Open your eyes.
Photo and video credit: Mark Kuroda, kurodastudios.com