We’ve all had times in our life when we feel scattered and drained. Perhaps you are so busy with a project at work that you find yourself burning the candle at both ends to keep up with your deadlines. Or it might be that you’re in a new relationship, and are so consumed by your new significant other that you no longer make time for yourself and end up getting burnt out on your new partner. When we expend more energy than we take in, our health and well-being are negatively impacted. By making time for yoga practice and meditation, we can restore balance in our lives, and counteract the negative impact of expending too much energy. But how can we find time for meditation and yoga when we are already so busy?
There is one meditation tool that is with us at all times, no matter where we are. Our breath! Breath meditation is a wonderful tool to rebuild and recharge yourself, and you don’t need any special tools to use it. When we practice conscious breathing techniques, what the yogis call pranayama, we are able to harness prana. Prana is the energy of life, and it comes to us through the air. By regulating our breathing, we can enhance our absorption of prana and enhance our energy. Pranayama can involve working with the speed of the breath, the depth of the breath, and suspending the flow of the breath. You can learn more about the benefits of pranayama and how to work with the breath in Praana Praanee Praanayam, or Light on Pranayama.
In the I Am A Woman yoga manual you’ll find “Meditation to Totally Recharge You.” Yogi Bhajan taught that this meditation “is an antidote to depression. It builds a new system, gives you the capacity and caliber to deal with life, and gives you a direct relationship with your pranic body.” What is the pranic body? The pranic body holds our prana, and circulates it. When our pranic body is strong, our physical health is maintained. But if our pranic body is weak, we can experience illness. Practicing the “Meditation to Totally Recharge You” will help you to replenish your energy, and go through life with a greater sense of health and well-being.
To practice “Meditation to Totally Recharge You” sit in Easy pose, or if you are at work you can sit with your feet flat on the floor and a straight spine. Hold a light neck lock.
Hold your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Make a fist with your right hand, and point your thumb straight up (like you’re giving a “thumbs up”). Wrap your left hand and fingers around your right fist, with the base of the palms touching. Hold the left thumb straight up – your two thumbs will be touching along the sides.
Hold your gaze on your thumbs. Inhale for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, and then hold the breath out for 15 seconds. Holding the breath out stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which temporarily lowers the blood pressure and signals relaxation.
You can start practicing this meditation for 3-5 minutes, and gradually work your way up to 11 minutes. With time you can also work your way up to suspending the breath out for 1 minute. This is a wonderful meditation to practice when you don’t have a lot of time, and the benefits are significant. Try it out and see for yourself!