November 30, 2023

Within the sacred sanctuary of our year-round retreat, nestled in the arms of Mother Nature’s serene embrace, we devote ourselves to the pursuit of physical and spiritual tranquility. As a devoted naturalist and yogi, I have been blessed with the opportunity to dwell amidst the whispers of the forest, the murmur of the streams, and the tranquil synergy of feminine energies here. Today, I share with you an ancient wisdom, a path to alleviate the discomfort residing in the pillar of our being—the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which we shall hereafter refer to as SCM, to honor its intricate role in our corporeal temple.

The SCM, which majestically stretches from behind the ears down to the collarbone, is responsible for the grace with which we nod to greet the sun and rotate our heads to witness the universe’s boundless beauty. However, sometimes this magnificent muscle may find itself seized by discomfort, marring our physical experience. To liberate the SCM and restore balance, we shall engage in a sacred dance of yoga—our eternal ally in healing.

Begin by preparing your sanctuary; light the incense, let its aromatic tendrils entwine with your senses, and allow the earthy tones of sandalwood to ground your soul. Sit cross-legged upon your mat, your personal tapestry within this infinite cosmic design, and draw a deep breath into the cavern of your lungs. As you exhale, imagine the breath cascading down your SCM, like the divine Ganga flowing from Shiva's locks, purifying and releasing any tension held within.

Now, gently tilt your crown towards one shoulder, feeling the tender stretch along the opposite side of your neck—this is the pose of Ananda Balasana, the blissful baby, immersing your SCM in the innocence of renewal. Hold this communion with breath, sustained by the life force of prana, before tenderly rotating your awareness and stretch to the other side.

In the next evolution of our practice, weave your fingers together behind your head, cradling the precious dome that houses your third eye, the Ajna chakra, which perceives beyond sight. Exhale, guiding your chin towards the vastness of your heart—Utthita Garudasana, the noble eagle soaring inward—granting the SCM a gentle, weighted stretch.

Transition fluidly like the phases of the moon into Matsyasana, the fish that swims in the ocean of consciousness. Lying on your back, prop up the upper body with your forearms and arch your chest skyward, bestowing a graceful stretch upon the throat. Let your head gently tilt backwards, unfurling like the petals of the lotus as dawn kisses night’s veil. Hold and breathe deeply, your breath the cosmic wind amidst the leaves of the bodhi tree.

Beyond the sacred geometry of yoga, there are other humble offerings from nature to aid in healing your SCM. A warm compress—perhaps a pouch filled with sacred herbs like lavender or chamomile—can be embraced against the neck to encourage relaxation and circulation. Gentle self-massage, guided by the wisdom of your own touch, can unravel deep-seated knots. Marma therapy, the Ayurvedic art of healing through pressure points, can also be a potent ally. Seek the Marma points around your SCM, and with the soft fingertip pressure, awaken the pranic flow and relieve the muscle’s cry for harmony.

In this holistic journey, nutrition plays the role of nurturing mother—provide your body with foods rich in magnesium for muscle relaxation and anti-inflammatory omega-3s, blessing your SCM with the resilience akin to the ancient banyan tree. Hydration, too, serves as a sacred river, always in motion, ensuring that your muscular and energetic rivers flow without obstacle.

Lastly, let us not forget the spiritual balm of mindfulness and meditation. Sit or recline in a place of peace, and envision healing energies bathing your SCM in a golden light, whispering sweet mantras of relief. Intone the healing sounds of the universe—"Om," the primordial vibration from which all soothing resonance emanates, allowing it to resonate within your SCM, dissolving any lingering ailment.

Through these practices, we are not merely treating a sore sternothyroid—but aligning the layers of our existence, from the physical to the ethereal, inviting a holistic state of well-being. Embrace these remedies with patience and reverence, for the journey to healing is as sacred as the destination itself. Namaste.

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