Using Meditation to Deal with Stress

It’s been a long while since I recorded and posted some new videos, so I have been thinking about other people in our community who would have something to share. As a result of this I spoke to Gurucharan Singh who agreed to let me record some videos with him on different topics related to meditation, yoga, and Sikhi. I’ll be posting these videos in the coming weeks as I have time to edit them.

Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, Ph.D., is a yogi, psychotherapist, teacher and writer, and a recognized expert in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. He is also the founder and the Director of Training of KRI (Kundalini Research Institute).

 In this video Gurucharan Singh talks about the effects of stress on our mind and body and gives a Kundalini Yoga excercise and meditation to help you deal with this stress.

Download: Video / AudioComplete writeup of the meditation in this video 

In Kundalini Yoga, we use conscious breathing as a tool for balancing mental and emotional states and for increasing vitality in the body. Each breath brings oxygen and life and provides the opportunity to connect consciously to the moment. By breathing slow, deep breaths, we can release tension, bring stillness to the mind, and calm the body physically. Other breathing techniques use a faster, more energized breath (such as "Breath of Fire") to increase energy in the body, bring focus, and build the inner heat of detoxification in the body. Each breath exercise in Kundalini Yoga has a specific purpose and approach to better the health of the body and mind.

Breath of Fire – for Energy, Focus, and Vitality

Breath of Fire is a rapid, rhythmic, and continuous breath that sounds like powerful sniffing. The breath is forcefully exhaled by rapidly contracting the diaphragm and pulling the navel point toward the spine. The inhale occurs naturally as the diaphragm relaxes and air flows effortlessly back in without a sharp intake or effort. The inhale and exhale are equal length and usually occur 2 to 3 times per second. This breath is great as "pick-me-up" if you are feeling lethargic or unfocused. It can be done throughout your day- for 30 seconds to 3 minutes- if you need to increase your energy.

How to do it:

  • Take a deep breath in, through your nose, and feel your stomach relaxing outward. Exhale, through your nose, as you pull the stomach back in.
  • Inhale again. As you exhale out this time, pull the solar plexus (the area above the navel) back toward the spine with a pumping motion. The exhaled air should leave the nose in a forceful sniff.
  • Immediately relax the solar plexus and let the air come back in with a sniff.
  • There should be no pause between the inhalation and exhalation. Continue the pumping motion with the sniffing breath.
  • In the beginning, it may be easier to simply concentrate on the exhale as you pull in on the solar pelxus and let the inhale come naturally as you relax the solar plexus.
  • At no time should the breath of fire be practiced beyond your current level of comfort. If at any point you begin to feel strain, breathlessness, or pain, stop the attempt at breath of fire and relax the breath.
  • If often takes practice and time to become familiar with this breath and, when familiar, there is a sense of joyful rythm and boundless energy. 

Read More about Breath of Fire and Breathing Techniques

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