We do it every day, every moment of every hour in a day, and usually with very little thought devoted to it. Breathing. Inhaling and exhaling. Simple and autonomous, and yet so much more. B. K. S. Iyengar wrote that prāna is “breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy, or strength.” Prānāyāma is essentially the science of breathing. Body and mind, breath and mind, are inextricably linked together. When we work with our breath, we directly affect and influence the physiology of the body. Steady, even inhalations and exhalations help balance and regulate the nervous system. Longer exhalations shift the body in to the parasympathetic nervous system, which is calming and soothing to the body (think slowing down of the heartbeat).
As the body calms, desire diminishes and the mind settles. This is why in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, prānāyāma is described as a precursor to concentration. Concentration is one of the core precepts of meditation. With a calm mind, meditation becomes effortless instead of a struggle. Then we can begin the work of sifting through the layers of “stuff”–thoughts, feelings, memories, emotions, boredom, the endless play of life–until we reach Source.
Beginning this week and continuing through the year, we will be learning and practicing a series of prānāyāma techniques as an integral part of our meditation practice. Join me every Friday, 1:30-2:00pm, Breath & Meditation, Breathe Los Gatos. http://breathelosgatos.com
“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.” -Albert Einstein
There is a Sanskrit saying, “Manana trayate iti mantra.” Translated, this means mantra is that which saves you from repetitiveness such as worries, fears, habits of thought, the groove your mind slips in to over and over again. The word mantra itself, in Sanskrit, can be broken down to ‘man’, which means mind, and ‘tra’, which means to free from. Mantra = tool to free the mind. Mantra are “sound vibrations that permeate every cell of your being and allow your mind to dissolve and repose.”* Mantras when spoken aloud, in essence, are energetic sound formulas. As we repeat the mantra, our energy levels shift, our nervous system slows down, the mind becomes less agitated, less stirred up.
Some mantra chants, such as OM (AUM) contain the essential, root, sound of the Universe. When chanted, OM vibrates at the frequency of 432 Hz, which is the same vibrational frequency found throughout everything in nature! Other mantras are considered “seed” (bija) sounds, and are often used to help clear energy blocks associated with chakras (energy centers) in the body.
This month we will be exploring spoken and silent mantra repetition as part of our meditation practice. See you on the cushion!
Fridays, 1:30-2:00pm Breathe & Meditation @ Breathe Los Gatos
What if we tapped in to and expressed our love for the people in our lives every day–not just on Valentine’s Day? How different would we feel? How different would our loved ones feel? This week we will gently explore our Anahata (heart) Chakra (energy center), through sound using bija mantra (one-syllable seed sounds). When we work with the heart center we increase our capacity for allowing love to be the center of our lives, we learn to love ourselves, and we learn to forgive. See you on the cushion!
This Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, 1:30-2:00 pm, Breathe Los Gatos.
I read somewhere once, “an expectation is a resentment under construction.” That resonated for me deeply. You can never be disappointed if you never have an expectation that something (a person, an event, or experience) will be a certain way. The same thing can be applied to our meditation practice. It isn’t always going to be easy, or restful, or comfortable, or any other way you want it to be. A meditation session will reflect whatever it is in your life that could use attention. Now, sometimes it IS restful or joyful. Enjoy those moments! And, let go of the expectation that it will always be that way. Rather simply sit, practice, and discover what happens.
See you on the cushion, today at 1:30 pm, Breathe Los Gatos!
Tis the season for giving! Beyond the material, may we also give our precious time, love, and presence to all who surround us. Over the next three weeks, we will explore the Metta Sutta, Buddha’s teaching on Universal Loving-Kindness, through the Metta Meditation.
May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.
See you on the cushion! Friday’s, 1:30-200 pm, at Breathe Los Gatos.
New research has demonstrated positive changes at a cellular level in breast cancer survivors who practiced meditation and mindfulness techniques. Results, like those found in this study, are positive news for all of us! Follow the link: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6101130
Join me this Friday at Breathe Los Gatos, 1:30-2:00 pm, for a guided meditation. Depending on the day and our state of mind, just getting to the cushion can be a challenge. This week’s session should make it easier! We will begin with a series of simple poses to help loosen the body, alternate nostril breathing to help balance our energy, and finish with a guided meditation to keep our minds focused.
This coming Friday’s (Oct 31st) Breath & Meditation Class at Breathe Los Gatos is cancelled. I will be back on the cushion with you November 7th. Along with Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing), we will explore and expand in a guided meditation.
I am very excited (and yes, a little nervous) to teach my first Breath and Meditation class tomorrow at Breathe Los Gatos. I very much look forward to sharing some of my favorite meditation techniques from breath awareness to mantra over the coming weeks. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, and has a proven track record of benefits ranging from increased feelings of peace and calm, reducing anxiety and stress, improved focus, more creativity, and more compassion. See you on the cushion!
Fridays, 1:30-2:00 pm, Breathe Los Gatos