Wednesday, March 28, 2012

  Sat Nam everyone. As the wind blows through the trees, and the clouds leave no room for the sun at my home today I am reminded of how transitory life is. Life changes, we change, people change, circumstances change. The change is happening so fast that our minds cannot keep up with it. And our minds try so hard to do just that. The result is an ever grinding sensation of the mind trying to think it’s way through the change, leaving us with no peace, no space, and no way to possibly understand what is happening, let alone how to be in balance with it. The mind tries so hard, and God Bless the mind… thank you for all you do. Yet, it is not the mind that can do the work. It is the breath. This is our ticket to freedom, our ticket to balance, our ticket for a quiet mind. If one can just quiet the mind even for a few minutes and let the breath open up, it completely blesses the whole day. Please know that I share with you my experiences. In no way have I become an expert. I was just motivated to share with you this new breath that I have been practicing because it has really been helping me.

It is called the minute breath. It is taught by Yogi Bhajan. He is my spiritual teacher, who inspired my parents to not only start practicing Kundalini Yoga, but to become Sikhs as well. So I was born into this lifestyle and because of it was blessed to find my Guru… the Shabad Guru… the Siri Guru Granth Sahib from which the words “Pavan Guru” come from. These words mean, the Guru is the Breath. How incredible is that? The Guru is so close. Guru is that which brings us from “Gu” Darkness, to “Ru” Light. Right within our breath we have the capacity to transform. The problem is that most of the time we deprive ourselves of our breath, we breathe shallow, we breathe as our mind goes from thought to thought… sometimes sporadic… sometimes holding our breath in… as if the very act of not breathing would end this whole crazy thing… which it will of course… someday. Yogi Bhajan taught that each soul is given a certain number of breaths for this life. It is predestined. Many yogis have developed the capacity to breath so deeply that it is said to contribute to their capacity to live longer. You have what you have been given… so instead of wasting your breath away with sporadic breathing… try long deep breathing! You cannot hold anger, you cannot hold depression, you cannot hold frustration when you breathe long and deep in a yogic way. It is impossible. Many of us do not wish to let go of our anger, depression, etc., and so we will never seek out such a breath. This kind of living is exciting, and oddly satisfying because it is safer to exist in what we know. But ask yourself how much do you really want to live in a state of torment, in a state of self loathing, in a state of explosive reactivity? If you would like to do this for the rest of your life, by all means…please do. If you seek change, as I do, I welcome you to try this breath.

Alright… so the minute breath. It is called the minute breath because you inhale for 20 seconds, hold the breath for 20 seconds, and exhale for 20 seconds, for a total of a minute for your entire inhalation, holding, and exhalation.

Here is the basic posture. Sit in easy pose if possible. You can also sit on a chair, as long as you have both feet on the ground and a straight spine.

Before beginning tune in.

Bring both hands to the center of the chest and close your eyes. Chant “Ong Namo, Guru Dev Namo.” This calls upon the Golden Chain, the sacred lineage of these teachings that calls upon the presence of Yogi Bhajan and his Divine Guru, Guru Ram Das to come to your aid. The mantra means “I bow to the Divine Energy within myself and within all beings, I bow to the Divine Guru within myself and within all beings.”

To Begin:

Sit with your hands in Gyan Mudra, the thumb and the index finger together.

Close the eyes and and focus your eyes at the third eye point.

Begin your breath…

Slowly, slowly inhale to stretch it out for 20 seconds. Hold the breath in for 20 seconds. Then slowly slowly exhale so that it takes 20 seconds to exhale.

I recommend doing this breath for a minimum of 11 minutes a day. You can go longer if you wish. It will create a ton of bliss.

Here is a little thing about the breath. It takes a good amount of lung strength to actually do the breath as prescribed. To be honest with you I am actually at the 12 second mark… meaning that I am taking 12 seconds for the inhale, 12 seconds for the holding, and 12 seconds for the exhalation. Someday I hope to reach the full 20 seconds. So…. start where you can.

To keep track of time I recommend finding a mantra that you can recite in your mind that equals the number of seconds.

For me, I do the following mantra:

SA, TA, NA, MA, WAHE GURU, WAHE GURU. I figured out the pace to recite it in my mind so that it takes 12 seconds.

And here’s a little secret about this breath…

You can also do it throughout your day, even if you cannot close your eyes and hold the mudra (hand posture). For example if you are waiting in line to check out at the grocery store and your feeling kind of impatient (like I was yesterday) try the breath. Instantaneously I saw life as a flow, I saw the enjoyment in having a moment to stop and connect with my Guru. It was amazing. Then when I got to the lady at the check out counter I greeted her with a smile… so much better then the alternative that would have manifested without the breath.

Alright…. so there you have it.

My apologies for any lack of clarity. Please do write in if you have any questions.

I hope you enjoy this breath as I do.


Snatam Kaur

To find out more about the teachings of Yogi Bhajan visit:

To find out more about Sikhism:

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