“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” ―Thich Nhat Hạnh, Stepping into Freedom: Rules of Monastic Practice for Novices Yogic breathing is a fundamental practice in the study of yoga. As one of the limbs of Patanjali’s eight-limbed path, yogic breathing, or pranayama, is defined as the [...]
When he first attended the Energy Intensive at Kripalu seven years ago, David Ellner was living the life he’d thought he always wanted. As the CFO of a $400-million entertainment corporation, he had money, power, prestige, and an impressive title. “I thought those were the goals,” he recalls. “I was working 60-hour weeks, and when [...]
On Monday, December 16, 2012—exactly two days after the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary—I stood outside the doors of Pittsfield High School (PHS) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. As I waited for the receptionist to buzz me in, I wondered what to expect in my high school yoga class that morning. I was still reeling. My niece [...]
It’s a simple fact, one that I often resist. If I want my life to change for the better, then I have to change. To expect more peace, joy, and love to enter my life without any shifts on my part is kind of like expecting that my meals are somehow going to taste different [...]
The following heart-based meditation comes from the Institute of HeartMath, in Boulder Creek, California, and is a wonderful technique to redirect the mind and replace negative emotions with positive ones.
First, get your body in a comfortable, relaxed position and focus on breathing slowly and rhythmically, so that the length of your inhalations and exhalations are about the same. Find a breath rate that feels sustainable for you. Next, bring your awareness to the center of your chest and imagine your breath flowing in and out of your heart center. As you continue to breathe in and out of your heart, remember a time when you felt a positive emotion such as gratitude, joy, or love.
Think about being with loved ones, a beloved pet, appreciation for the good things in your life. This associative memory generates a positive emotion. If you can’t recall such a memory, then simply imagine a positive feeling moving in and out of your heart as you breathe. If your mind wanders, gently return to the positive feeling, allowing the sensations of gratitude, love, or joy to flow with your breath. Continue to circulate this heartfelt feeling for a few breaths, or even for a few minutes. Then pause to notice the effects of the practice.
Goddess Pose, or Deviasana, represents the feminine force that created the universe. Hara is a Japanese martial arts term meaning “center of being,” and it refers to the stomach, or solar plexus, where the body’s vital healing energy is generated. Goddess Pose, in combination with breathing from the hara, is a powerful way to revitalize and renew the body, mind, and spirit. When the body’s hara is clear and open, vital energy can freely move down through the pelvis and legs and into the earth for grounding. However, fear, pain, and anxiety can cause this energy to become blocked. Goddess pose with hara breathing opens up the hips and chest so that power, strength, and energy can circulate freely.
Ready to try it out? Here’s how: