John Silvestri, Esq

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In Law School, early 1970s, I found my way into Yoga class.  When I started working, I brought some of what I learned into the office, and into the Courtroom.  I soon realized, "posture" in advocacy is assisted by good posture in your body.  Yoga teaches posture, among other things. 

The first thing we did in my 1970s yoga class was to sit erect, with some help from our breath.  

(1) Sit straight, feet flat on the ground, and hands flat on your quads.

(2) Consciously align your heart over pelvis and your head over heart.  Tuck the chin in a little.

(3) Close your eyes and focus between your eye brows, or focus on a point straight ahead and level to your eyes.

(4) Consciously inhale, bringing the breath into the bottom of your lungs (allow your belly to push out). Then fill the middle of your lungs (your rib cage will expand), fill the top of your lungs (your shoulders will lift slightly), and lastly, pause to notice how your breath made you taller (your spine taller).

(5) As you exhale, spend about the same amount of time exhaling as inhaling, and maintain the tallness in your spine, with your head over your heart, and your heart over your hips.  (*) Repeat these steps two more times to achieve the benefit, and either chant, or hum a melody, which is the second step, or you may continue the breathing pattern for a full minute or longer if you do not desire to chant or hum.  You can do this breathing while siting in a chair, or standing, allowing you arms to hang down your sides, or sitting in easy pose (cross legged) and using gyan mudra.
The second thing we did was to chant, sitting straight, eyes closed, with eye focus between our eye brows.  But you may substitute humming a favorite melody.  The point of this is to vibrate your body with sound, and really feel the vibration everywhere.  So, try humming for 30 seconds, and feel the vibrations in every part of your body, by moving your awareness to different parts of your body.  You may so enjoy this that you continue for another 30 seconds, or longer.

After the sitting straight, and chanting, sometimes we continued a breathing pattern, called Complete Yoga Breathing, and sometimes we did a special energetic form of breathing, that is called Breath of Fire.

Practice Note: If possible, do all exercises with your eyes closed and focused between the eyebrows.  In between exercises, a breathing exercise, or a physical exercise, we always paused for 30 seconds. During this half minute or so, we consciously observed how our body and mind felt. 

For both of these breathing exercises, start for 1 minute, work your way up to 3 minutes.  Then do a 1 minute stretching movement.  At home, build up to three minutes.

Follow the links above to learn more about Complete Yoga Breathing, and Breath of Fire, and the links below for some simple exercises you can do in a chair, or do standing up.

Spinal Flex in a chair, or The Miracle Bend standing up, are simple, gentle movements that are great for turning stiffness into looseness, and bringing you into a state of alertness, just as the breathing does. Just a little stretching with breathing is very energizing and refreshing.