What is IT you wonder? Well, first and foremost, IT is self-care. IT means I fill my vessel first so I have enough for others. Like when you are on the plane, and they tell moms and dads – if something goes wrong - put your oxygen masks on first then help your kids. You can't help your children if you are unconscious.
Like that. That IT.
And self-care means, for me, daily pranayama. Now, i've gotten myself into quite a fix recently. Some pretty major imbalance mentally and emotionally – insomnia, anxiety attacks, lots of tears, an embarrassing amount of anger.
A holy-shit-use-the-tools-you-teach-to-help-others-to-help-yourself type of awakening.
Ok, so I'm a late bloomer, but here you have it. That is my real.
I know what to do; I just need to do it.
Now I'm going to get all teachery on your tush.
Meditation is daily maintenance and cleansing of the mind. My mind got muddled with to-do lists and responsibilities and life. My unhealthy patterns and tendencies got the best of me because I did not maintain my mind. I let everything else come before this practice and I suffered for it (my husband would also say he suffered for it, but he can write his own blog).
Meditation is a state more than an action. The action needed to cultivate the state of meditation is concentration. I use mantra to concentrate my mind. The mantra I use is Sat Nam. I inhale the sound of Sat and exhale the sound Nam. Sat Nam means True Identity. This mantra has been with me for 15 years. A mantra is anything that is uplifting to you. It doesn't have to be in Sanskrit or Gurmukhi
to be effective. It just has to resonate with you. That is all.
Now concentration is hard. Super. Freaking. Hard. And when in a state of imbalance (um most of us, most of the time) is downright impossible. This is where a pranayama practice becomes super useful.
Pranayama is breath control. Plain and simple. The breath can breath us (thank you autonomic nervous system) or we can breath our breath (thank you consciousness). When we breath our breath consciously and with control – the body begins to heal itself. You can heal and balance your psyche with pranayama.
I was suffering from anxiety and anger – sometimes even rolled up into one delicious explosion of a panic attack (ie, adult temper tantrum). I'd like to explain my practice and why it works. This particular practice is quickly effective. I do it for 20 minutes every night before I go to sleep. If 20 miutes seems daunting, start with 5 and build up. Just start.
This pranayama practice is Nadi Suddhi - alternative nostril breath. Beginning with the left side pacifies the nervous system. This breath is great for alleviating anxiety, depression, emotional PMS and issues with anger and over reacting.