Water is a great teacher.
It shows us how to move through
the world with grace, ease,
determination and humility.
The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga by Swami Vishnu Devananda
Integral Yoga Hatha by Sri Swami Satchidananda Bhagavad Gita / Translated by Steven Mitchell (contemporary, simple)
Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope
Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice On and Off the Mat by Richard Faulds
Sayings of Swami Kripalu: Inspiring Quotes from a Contemporary Yoga Master Edited by Richard Faulds
Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture practice by Mark Singleton
The Bhagavad Gita by Winthrop Sargeant
Journey of the Heart by John Welwood
Alchemy of Abundance by Rick Jarow
Siddhartha: An Indian Tale by Hermann Hesse
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling by Stephen Cope
Energy Awareness Meditations (CD) by Jonathan Foust
A Touch of Grace: Bamboo Flute Meditations (CD) by Jonathan Foust
Ram Dass Fierce Grace (DVD)
These simple techniques can be used in the comfort of your own home to reduce stress and anxiety, soothe the nervous system and calm the mind.
Check out this article by Ray Long Deep Breathing: How the Diaphragm Works.
(3-PART YOGIC BREATH, COMPLETE YOGIC BREATH)
- INSTRUCTIONS -
Sit with straight spine and relax your abdomen.
Place your palms on your belly and breathe into the lower lungs feeling your belly expand into your palms. Repeat several times.
Shift your palms to the sides of your rib cage, and breathe into your rib cage, expanding it in every direction, front, sides and back. Repeat several times.
Place your fingertips on the upper chest just below your collar bones. Breathe into the upper part of your chest and feel your hands lifting. Repeat several times.
Combine all three in-breaths to make an inhalation.
Exhale completely, gently contracting the abdomen to squeeze out residual air.
Repeat this cycle several times, placing your hands on the belly, ribs or upper chest. Focus on filling and emptying your lungs completely.
Rest your hands in your lap and continue this breathing pattern for several minutes.
This technique is safe for anyone and can be practiced at any time of the day or night. It is very soothing to the mind. Practicing at bedtime makes it easier to fall asleep. It releases tension in chest and abdomen and provides a complete exchange of air in the lungs. Slow, deep breathing requires attention and focuses the mind inward. This increased inward focus makes all yoga practices more effective because we can observe their subtle effects on the body and mind.
(OCEAN BREATH, VICTORIOUS BREATH)
- INSTRUCTIONS -
Sit straight and relax your abdomen.
Imagine sitting in front of a mirror and imagine you want to fog the mirror with your breath through the mouth as you exhale.
Close your mouth and fog the imaginary mirror through the nose; keep the sound in the throat as best as you can.
Gently contract the back of your throat to make a steady, soft, low pitched hissing sound like the sound you hear in a sea shell. Do this on both the inhalation and exhalation and keep your mouth closed.
Explore how loudly you can make the sound, but do not strain. Focus all of your attention on the sound and let it become more steady and similar intensity on both, the inhales and the exhales.
Release and sit quietly to feel the effects.
Ujjayi is translated as to be victorious over or to conquer and refers to Ujjayi’s power to still or conquer the mind. The mind is pulled from thoughts and external distractions creating introversion. At first, your mind may linger on thoughts about the past or plan for the future. After several rounds of breaths the sound begins to interfere with thinking and the thoughts will gradually subside. Ujjayi Pranayama is safe for anyone and can be practiced at any time of day or night. It is considered a warm up pranayama to prepare the body and mind for more vigorous pranayamas like Kapalabhati (Skull Polishing Breath) or to generate a meditative state of focused awareness when combined with Nadi Shodana (Alternate Nostril Breath).