Tuesday, September 15, 2009

You do not Have to be a Pretzel to Practice Mindfulness

Sometimes yoga gets a bad wrap. Because of its often hour to two hour time consumption and somewhat complex poses, many people are somewhat intimidated by yoga. I used to be one of them.

Several years ago, one of my colleagues suggested I take Pantajali's yoga. After taking me 4 class sessions to even pronounce the name ("Pa - tohn - ja - lees"), I discovered it was really a no brainer. Literally a no brainer.

I did NOT have to curl up into a contorted pretzel, do a downward dog, or Kapotasna - the King Pigeon Pose. In fact, I just sat in a chair and simply brought my awareness to my breath.

Pantajali's yoga calls us to follow the eight "limbs" or steps, often seen in Ashatanga Yoga, where the breath and the eight poses are synchronized. Pantalali's yoga focuses completely on the breath because I imagine, if you do not have the breath, the eight poses will not be effective.

The breath is huge. While it is so simple, why do some of us have trouble with adherence to breath awareness?

I maintain that if we can do the breath work even 8 minutes a day, our awareness in this mere gesture will create synchronicity throughout our day. Our interpersonal relationships will be far more meaningful and purposeful, and we will experience daily reward.

You do not have to pack up the yoga mat and head to the gym; you can find a quiet spot right in your home or yard.

Starting today for 15 days, until October 1st, join me in trying the 8 minute breath awareness. We'll check back on the 1st of October to chronicle the changes and new insights that might have revealed themselves.

If you notice that you have resistance in any areas simply, and without judgment, bring your awareness back to your breath. Here's what you do:

1) Sit in a chair with a supportive back. Make sure your feet are completely flat on the floor.
2) Sitting with erect posture, lay your unfolded arms and hands gently on your lap or the arms of the chair. (Underside of the arms may be turned upward if you wish.)
3) Begin with three inhale/exhales and let out resistance and distraction. We are going to distract ourselves with nothingness :)
4) With continuous breathing in through the nose AND OUT through the nose, begin to imagine your breath at the top or crown of your head. Picture your breath going smoothly and freely through the top of your head.
5) After 1 minute, imagine your breath at your eye level and with the continuous nose only breathing, picture the breath fluidly moving across through the eye region.
6) After a minute, guide your breath to the mouth area, and follow the same process.
7) After a minute go to the neck or throat area.
8) Allow you breath, after 1 minute, to travel to the heart area.
9) After 1 minute, allow your breath to rest in the Solar Plexus
10) 1 minute later, the abdominal area
11) Lastly, allow your breath awareness to go to the genitals and anus.

8 Minutes to a seamless and interconnected day; let’s try it.

1 comment:

  1. Did This for the first time today. I am going to try and take your challenge to do this for 15 days consecutively. I like the fact that it doesn't require a lot of time...but it is a little start to meditation practice every day.

    I have this page bookmarked on my blog.
    I will be back tomorrow.