I’ve been loving my morning rituals lately. And we all know the drill… Having a positive morning routine sets you up for the day.
So one of the practices I’ve been testing out is Kundalini Meditation & breathing techniques. There’s a growing body of research that proves that meditation has a whole host of benefits. It can help people suffering form conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, eating disorders, insomnia, psychosis and many many other disorders.
Brain scans have even discovered increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex – the area associated with happiness. So it’s got to be worth trying right??
Within the Kundalini tradition, they say that breath is as important as food and water, and if we can harness the power of our breathing, we can release stress and disease from the body. So even if you’re not dealing with any specific issue, I think we can all benefit from feeling more relaxed!
And there’s a right way and a wrong way to breathe… Shallow breathing from your chest is what we’re trying to avoid. Kundalini works with deep stomache breathing, using the diagraph to push the air out and allow it to come back in fully.
There are a heap of different techniques to try out, but I wanted to share two in particular with you, that I’ve been loving. Long deep breathing and alternate nostril breathing.
I find it fascinating that different ways of using the breath have different effects in the body.
For example, the long deep breath helps to increase the flow of energy through our body, stimulate endorphins (the chemicals that fight depression), stimulate the pituitary gland (increasing intuition), pump spinal fluid to the brain giving energy and endurance, regulate the body’s pH helping your metabolic processes and it relaxes the body easing stress.
Sounds pretty good right? And it’s easy to do:
- Sit comfortably with your eyes closed (half lotus is a good pose for this)
- Stretch tall through your spine and relax your shoulders
- Feel the breath flow as you slowing inhale through your nostrils, expanding your abdomen and chest and gently lifting your upper ribs and collar bones.
- As you exhale through your nostrils, reverse the process. Relax your collar bones, empty your chest and pull your abdomen in and up as the navel pulls back toward the spine, emptying any last drop of air from the lungs.
The other one I’m loving is the alternate nostril breathing. Kundalini teaches that breathing long and deep through the left nostril activates the right side of the brain and your moon energy which is cooling calming and mind-expanding. Breathing through the right nostril activates the left side of the brain and your sun energy which is dynamic, action-orientated and mentally alert.
And this one is as easy as it sounds too.
- Sit in half lotus with your spine straight and prepare to use your right thumb and index finger to close alternate nostrils
- Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale deeply through your left nostril.
- After a full inhalation, close your left nostril with the index finger and exhale fully through your right nostril.
- Inhale deeply through your right nostril and then close it off with your thumb and exhale fully through your left nostril.
- Repeat several times.
So I’ve been practicing these techniques for the last few weeks… yes I’m very new to them... but even so. I’m loving them! One of the things that I love is that you can do these pretty much anytime. If I’m at my desk working for example, and my brain is feeling a bit slow, I just do a few rounds of the alternate nostril breathing. I feel like it centres me and wakes me up a bit.
Or whenever you think of it, we can do a few rounds of the slow deep breathing to clear out all the stale old air in our lungs, making us feel that little bit more fresh!
So far, with a pretty well daily practice, I can report having a clearer mind, and a greater sense of calm and compassion. I reckon that’s a pretty good result!
But as I said, I’m a total novice… if you’ve been practicing for a while, I’d love to know about your experiences! What does this practice bring to your life???
Let’s keep the conversation going!