I can't believe it's been two whole weeks since my last post!! My brain and heart are both so very full from my 10-day training on yoga for cardiac and cancer patients (I'll share more about that with you on my next post).
So here we are, the final week of March, and I hope that over the past three weeks you have at least experienced a tiny glimpse into that inner light and stillness that dwell in each one of us. Maybe it was just a moment or two of that quiet place where no thoughts dwell or perhaps it felt like moments, but in reality you were there for several minutes!! Whatever you have encountered, remember it is all part of the process. It has taken many years for that busy mind to become so cluttered and restless, and it may take a bit longer for it to learn to relax.
Here is some wonderful advice from my teacher, Nischala Joy Devi on the process of meditation:
"In meditation do not struggle with trying to get all the waves calm. Make the mind be your friend, not your enemy. Remember, you and your mind are on the same side - the side of wanting to be calm and peaceful. It's the nature of the thoughts to move and toss about. Instead of fighting to control them, rise above them as if in an airplane. Get distance from them and look down and see how small and undifferentiated everything looks. Or, if you wish, dive down deep. Like a scuba diver, go below the waves and turbulence to the silence, calmness, and beauty. Go deep within."
This week's goal:
20 minutes of seated meditation
This week's Mantra:
Sat Chit Ananda
(s-ah-t ch-it A-nan-da)
Try saying the first two words - sat chit - on your inhale, then exhale - Ananda
I am all Truth, I am all Knowledge, I am BLISS
Existence, Consciousness, Bliss
Joy is my highest consciousness
As the length of your meditation increases, the distractions from the body and mind may quite well increase as well. I highly recommend a light yoga asana practice - even just a few 1/2 sun salutations and a stretch or two to prepare the body for sitting. To further quite the mind I recommend about 5 minutes of pranayama (breathing). This can be a simple 3-part breath or a practice such as alternate nostril breathing or humming bee breath.
Instructions for 3-part breath:
Instructions for Alternate Nostril Breath:
Sit comfortably and close your right nostril with your right thumb. Gently inhale through the left nostril. Then lift your thumb, close the left nostril with your ring finger, and exhale through the right. Reverse the pattern, inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left. Repeat.
Instructions for Humming Bee Breath:
To practice Brahmari Pranayama, sit comfortably, with the back tall and shoulders relaxed. Start by taking a few natural breaths, and close your eyes (as long as closing them doesn't produce more anxiety). Then, keeping the lips lightly sealed, inhale through the nostrils. Exhaling, make the sound of the letter M, essentially a humming sound. Sustain the sound until you need to inhale. Then repeat: Inhale through the nose, then hum like a buzzing bee as you exhale. Continue by inhaling as needed and exhaling with this sound for several minutes. You can practice as long as it feels good.
The longer you sustain the humming exhalation, the more relaxing the Bee Breath is likely to be—but forcing the breath beyond your capacity can have the reverse effect, causing even more stress. So don't force yourself to maintain any particular speed. Inhale whenever necessary, and let the buzzing sound last as long as it is comfortable. Finally, spend a few breaths sitting quietly and noticing whether there are any changes in your breath or mood.
Have a wonderful, peaceful week!
Mary Baker - ERYT-500 yoga teacher, adventure lover, fitness junkie, doughnut snob, whiskey & wine sipper