November 30, 2023

In the verdant embrace of our year-round sanctuary, where women gather like sacred blossoms in the garden of serenity, we often speak of the body as a temple and each muscle as a devout monk in meditation. Among these devoted is the hyoglossus, a humble servant of speech and sustenance, nestled in the cave of the mouth. When soreness befalls this guardian of the tongue, it beckons for an elixir born of the ancient yogic wisdom and the nurturing bosom of Mother Nature.

The hyoglossus, while small, can carry the burden of our unspoken words and swallowed emotions. In such times, the path to relief begins with the breath – the prana, the life force. To cultivate healing, we must initiate a sacred dance through asanas that awaken and stretch this muscle, like the unfolding petals of the lotus at dawn.

Commence this journey by grounding the spirit. Sit comfortably, cross-legged upon the earth, the sitz bones rooted as deeply as the age-old banyan tree. Let the hands rest on the knees, palms open to receive the universe’s infinite energy. Breathe in deeply, inviting prana to swirl through your body, cleansing and rejuvenating each cell.

Now, with the mind's eye turned inward, bring attention to the mouth. Practice Simhasana, the Lion Pose, to release the tension in the hyoglossus. On an inhalation, open your eyes wide, stretch the tongue out and down towards the chin, while letting out a powerful, healing ‘HA’ exhalation. As the breath roars out like the sacred syllable 'Om', envision the flame of discomfort being extinguished. Let this asana be your mantra, repeated as needed, setting the rhythm for your soul’s serene melody.

Further, Jivha Bandha or Tongue Lock may be employed. With breath retained, fold the tongue back onto itself, pressing it against the soft palate. Hold this gesture of internal focus until the need for air, as gentle as a whispering wind, draws it back to normal posture. The hyoglossus, in this moment of stillness, is given reprieve.

Yet, remedies extend beyond the mat. In your sanctuary, you may fashion a healing poultice from the ashram’s herb garden. Blend turmeric, famed for its anti-inflammatory properties, with a touch of warm ghee – this golden nectar born from the cow, which is revered as sacred and nurturing in our philosophy. Apply this healing paste to the external throat area, ushering in a warm embrace that penetrates deeper with each breath.

Sip on warm teas of ginger and honey, nature's sweet balm, which meanders through the throat, softly caressing the hyoglossus. The ginger, fiery and strong, rekindles the agni, the digestive fire, purifying and enveloping your being in its protective warmth.

One must not overlook the power of vibration – chant the deep, resonant sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet. Each letter is a key that unlocks different energy centers within. This mindful utterance massages the hyoglossus with the vibration of your own healing voice, a lullaby to soothe the strained muscle.

In this sacred retreat, your fellow seekers and I walk alongside you, guiding your journey toward healing with wisdom as enduring as the Himalayas. As you immerse in these ancient practices, remember the infinite potential for renewal that lies within. Embrace the path to balance and harmony with each conscious breath, and witness the transformation of your hyoglossus from a weary traveler to a vibrant pilgrim on the eternal path of yogic bliss.

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