I am working on another guided meditation for you all today and prior to that I wanted to touch on some of the positive effects of the yogic breathing practices.
Things like stress, lifestyle, diet, environment and lockdown all place a toll on our immune system.
By practising pranayama we are bringing positive life force into our bodies. Helping us to stay calm, soothe the nervous system and strengthen our immune system. Prana means life force, vitality, energy. Yama means expansion, length, prolongation.
‘Pranayama is the way to control the vital life force.’ The Spirit of Yoga by Cat de Rham & Michele Gill.
The following simple practice is called ‘Squaring off the Breath’. Apparently used by US Navy Seal Divers to help them stay calm and not panic if stuck under the water.
You can sit or lie for this practice. If you want to add another layer – place your hands on the hip creases as though you were putting your hands in your pockets. This is Jin Shin Jyutsu hand position 15. It means wash your heart with laughter. When the heart is burdened we can release the groin in order to clear/wash the burdens away. Freeing the heart to joy and laughter. It is a deeply calming position – one I often use to help me sleep.
Once you are settled comfortably – bring your awareness to your breath. Breathing in through the nose and out through the nose. Move your awareness to the navel and notice the in breath and the out breath at this point. As you breathe in the navel rises and as you breathe out the navel falls.
Just by observing your breath it will start to slow down. Now take 4 counts to breathe in. Hold the breath in for 4 counts. Take 4 counts to breathe out. Hold the breath out for 4 counts.
Repeat as many rounds as you wish. I would aim to do at least 9 rounds and then stay for awhile just observing the body and enjoying the stillness.
“The whirlpools of the mind can be drilled by the breath” Patanjali