SHOP WHAT'S NEW
Meditate To Regulate
by KiraGrace Warrior Isabelle Casey
I think it’s fair to say that we are living in very unpredictable times and experiencing an election year is only adding to it. Everyone is passionate about their perspectives which is a good thing as we are fortunate to live in a country where freedom of speech is part of our fabric. That said, because of these liberties, there has been a huge divide in opinions, causing separation in our communities, work and personal relationships, and even within our families.
I don’t have a television on purpose. Years ago I was not only over the cost of having cable and not watching most of what was broadcasted, but I also observed that the majority of what was on the tv fell into one of these categories: violence, self-deprecation, and gossip. This being a political year, it’s even worse with the programming all geared towards swaying our opinions, resulting in more anger, angst, and mistrust among each other. All negative and resulting in time wasted. I noticed the toll it was taking on me as I would get fired up with news headlines, exploitation of genders and race, and the constant marketing for some new something that would ensure my life would be better. So… I turned it off for good at home, and turned off the constant energy-sucking that goes along with it. What I gained back was more time. More time for myself; more time for my interests; and more time to do nothing!
One of the things I have implemented in my life for many years now is a pranayama (breath) and meditation practice. It is something that, especially through turbulent times, I can lean on for comfort and grounding. I remember who I am as it gets me back ‘home’ to myself. I understand that the world is never going to stop growing and testing each of us. Having a meditation practice serves as an anchor, rooting oneself in a firm foundation that offers clarity. I see that I am not the things around me. I see that people are not really their actions. The world is ever-changing and adapting. Meditation is the key to understanding all of this.
I share with you a pranayama and meditation practice to help you stay grounded amidst change, utilizing breath awareness and introspection that lends to a calm, meditative state.
The two techniques that I will offer here are Anuloma Viloma - ‘Up and Down’ - and Prana Shuddhi to ‘purify’ the pranic flow in the body. These can be practiced separately or together for a deeper experience. The practice only requires a minimum of 5 minutes and is quite simple to learn.
- Begin by establishing a comfortable and steady seat. Sit on a folded blanket, yoga bolster [cushion], and if you have trouble sitting upright, sit against a wall or in a chair. Place your hands collected on your lap or on your knees, palms open facing up or down.
- Close your eyes and observe your current breath state.
- Begin to even out your breath by counting out your inhalation and exhalation cycle. For example, it takes you 3 seconds to inhale and 3 seconds to exhale. You can extend your breath counts a little longer as long as you don’t experience any straining to do so.
- Once you establish this pattern, then experience 3 to 5 rounds of this. This is called, ‘Sama Vrttti.’ even ratio breathing. It is an excellent breath to establish calm alone, or a great intro to most breathing practices to help set the tone.
- [Eyes still closed] Become aware of your nostrils as you breath. Feel the air travel in and out of your left nostril for about a minute, though you are still breathing out of your right nostril as well. This may require some imagination, envisioning that the entire breath is flowing only through this side.
- Repeat this through the right nostril for a minute or so, as well.
- Next, begin to mentally control the breath through each nostril. Start with the left nostril- mentally watching as you inhale up the left side, briefly pausing, exhaling down the right side.
- Repeat by beginning the next round on the right side. Inhale up the right side and exhale down the left side. This concludes one full round. Complete 4 full rounds.
- Continue to alternate breathing through both sides, mentally observing the breath.
- When complete, return back to your natural breath rhythm. Observe the difference in how you feel and the mental clarity of your mind.
Isabelle Casey is a full-time traveling yoga and meditation instructor offering classes, workshops, teacher trainings, and retreats. She also serves the yoga community as an editor and owner of yoga community blog and event website, My Yoga Scene. She is honored to hold ambassadorships for Asha Patel Designs, RADRoller, and as a KiraGrace Warrior. She spends her free time outside hiking, running and mountain-biking with her hubby and fur-children, experimenting in the kitchen, and is a committed life-long student of yoga and meditation. Currently, she is preparing for the next big chapter in her life - motherhood. For more information, please visit isabellecasey.com. Social media: @isabelle_casey
All photography by Thu Tran- 2T Photo http://www.2tphoto.com/