Save Your Breath

Pranayama-The practice of breath control

If it’s true what yogis say “You only have so many breaths in each lifetime” then isn’t it worth paying attention to each inhalation and exhalation for maximum effect?

How do you consciously control your breaths?

Once you explore the wonder of something that seems to happen without any effort on our part you start to wonder if there isn’t more you can bring within your control.

We use breathing exercises for so many things: 

Just breath(calm from stressful situation)

Don’t hold your breath (release tension) or hold your breath(stop hiccups, absorb intentions)

Deep breaths (build up oxygen levels)

Count your breaths ( to help with sleep, to meditate, to focus)

These are just a few reminders of how we already use our most basic instincts to help us daily.

I have been reading about the Fourth Cakra-Anahata and the practice of pranayama. I hadn’t, in the past, got very specific about the process when meditating with breath control. In the book, Kundalini Yoga For The West, Swami Radha talks about the “Triple Process”: the inhalation, suspension and exhalation. The practice is recommended to awaken the dormancy of the Kundalini energy. You are encouraged to contemplate that you only have so many breaths in a lifetime. Using those breaths on emotional outbursts or trivial endeavors could shorten your lifespan.

So next time you become aware of your breath stop and contemplate the value it has. It’s not like you can stop and save your breath for another time or opportunity. I realize I can, however, gain control over the maximum benefits of each inhalation and exhalation. Take advantage in the pauses between each to absorb the positive energy and release back into the cosmos an excess I may have stored up.

Namaste

 

Emotional Opposites

How many times have you said “I don’t want to know?”

As my ongoing practice develops, I have started to explore the connections between what I am feeling in my body, my state of mind and current energy level. I work on my illusions and what to do about their existence within me.  I have learned a ton about myself through dream yoga. I learn even more through the exploration of the relationship of my subconscious messages being manifested through a feeling of anxiety, gut health and awareness of intentions. 

That’s a lot Vanessa, how do you expect us to understand all that? Lol, well let me try and explain what I mean. I have attachment to certain emotions. I am acutely aware of them entering my realm of feelings. I also observed the effect they are having on me at any given moment. Something happens or someone contacts me with a request or message, it triggers a  feeling and I find myself reverting back to a conditioned response. That response is based on the past and if examined it more closely it has no bearing on the present or future. It’s not logical nor probably true. The old me would have stayed on the concrete stairs (my dream where I just plod up and down the stairs) in a state of mindless self pity, depression, martyrdom or blissful avoidance. 

The new me? I have skills and tools that can help me to navigate the response to the request or message (“red slide response”see my dream post on taking the red path of working with obstacles to push forward). 

In the book, Kundalini-Yoga For The West by Swami Sivananda Radha, there is an exercise in chapter 6. The chapter is working through the Third Cakra-Manipura. This Cakra deals with the root of emotions( among other things). I am sure you have heard of “gut instinct” or “ I have a bad feeling about this”? Have you ever considered that your emotions are getting in the way of seeing situations for what they really are? The saying “I don’t want to know” has become a way for me to cope or coast through many obstacles in life. I can genuinely avoid accountability by saying “I didn’t know”. 

The chapter talks about how to examine your emotions that “cloud” your judgement on what is real or what is imagined. What you are afraid of versus what you choose not to see clearly or validate that which frightens you. Sometimes fear is good. It can keep you alive in certain situations and yet, sometimes it keeps you in a state of emotional paralysis without moving forward.

The exercise in chapter six talks about making a list of your common emotional responses to experiences. Once you have a list, think about the opposite emotion to each.

Here is an example- critical with the opposite being acceptance or frustration with the opposite of satisfied. 

Now you have a couple of examples: how would you change the negative narrative into something positive?

Critical and acceptance- Feedback is neither good nor bad. The source of truth about myself comes from within. All life is precious and deserves compassion. 

Frustration and satisfied- Understanding comes from reflection and a sense of knowing. Knowing leads to satisfaction.

The above is only one of the many exercises in the chapter and the book. It has helped me work through my conditioned responses. Once you open the window to this kind of sight all of the sudden all sorts of doors appear that previously were invisible options. It has taken years to build up these walls. I know they won’t come down just because I can see they exist. I do know, however, that nothing is permanent. Desire, awareness, determination and persistence are part of my being. My emotions that once clouded my judgement or view of what is real versus what is imagined don’t need to define how I move forward now. I have caught on to this scam that was created in my mind and now I have a choice to say “ I don’t know” or to take action based on a desire to understand.

Namaste