People come to yoga for different reasons and by different roads.
Some seek a way to relieve stress, some seek a strenuous workout, and some seek spiritual exploration.
Whatever brought you to yoga isn’t as important as the benefits of yoga, which keep you coming back for more.
I have been practicing for twenty years now can attest to the fact that there have been many days in which, had I not had a yoga practice to lean on, I would have lost it.
You know what I mean? When you reach your “last straw”, whatever that might mean to you, yoga is the one thing that has served as my life-saver.
Because yoga has taught me 2 very important things to preserve peace of mind:
- Deep Breathing
- The Breath – how we breath shapes how we feel. When we take long deep breaths, we are calmer and better able to focus. When we take short shallow breaths, we are more nervous, anxious and distracted. When we hold our breath, we suppress feelings.
The best thing we can do for ourselves is to learn to breathe deeply. Just this one thing calms the mind and helps you become present. So the next time you are in a meeting and you feel yourself getting antsy, take a moment to deepen and slow down your breath.
Here’s a tool you can use – Inhale to a count of 4. Hold the breath to a count of 4. Exhale to a count of 4. Hold the breath out to a count of 4.
Do this for at least 3 minutes and you will see a noticeable difference in how you are feeling.
- Mantra – The practice of focusing your mind on a word or sound. Many people think that when you do yoga or meditate the goal is to quiet the mind. But quieting the mind completely is impossible. The real goal is to focus the mind on something. The use of mantra helps to focus the mind, ridding it of all the clutter that is crowding your head with anxiety.
Here are a few of my favorite mantras. They’re short and simple, which I like because it means that I am more likely to use them.
1. Sat Nam (My name is truth) Sat Nam is a mantra we use in Kundalini Yoga. When you want to calm your mind, begin to slow your breathing down as much as you can (or use the 4-count breath described above). Then on the inhale say the word Sat (pronounced S-U-T) either silently or aloud and then on the exhale say the word Nam (pronounced N-A-H-M). Inhale Sat. Exhale Nam. Inhale Sat. Exhale Nam.
I promise you, in 3 minutes time you will feel calmer.
2. Wahe Guru. This mantra cannot be directly translated but the interpretation I like best is, “Wow! God is Amazing!” Wahe Guru can be spoken the same way we use Sat Nam, by inhaling Wahe (pronounced WAH-HEY) and exhaling Guru.
3. Humee Hum Brahm Hum (We are we and we are God) I love this mantra!
Inhale and whisper the words “Humee Hum Brahm Hum” and as you exhale, whisper the words again. This mantra feels like humming and when repeated for as little as 3 minutes, you will notice subtle vibrations humming through your body. It leaves you feeling tranquil and uplifted.
Whenever you find that your mind is spinning out of control, take a breath and introduce a mantra to focus your thoughts and steady the mind. If your mind is so hectic that silently repeating the mantra isn’t doing anything, then say them out loud in a low voice until you feel your thoughts calming down. Mantras are also excellent to repeat when you are having a tough time falling asleep.
There are many other wonderful tools that yoga offers but these two are my go-toes because I can use them anywhere and at any time. You can’t necessarily break into yoga poses standing in line at the bank or when you are serving jury duty. But you can breathe and repeat mantras anywhere.
Try it! See what it does for you.
Share your thoughts and comments below.
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© 2018 Tamara Jefferies.