Tonite I’ll be facilitating another Yoga Nidra experience. If you’ve never tried this yogic practice I highly recommend you find a local teacher and do it! It requires very little from you. Just lie down, breathe, and listen closely to what the teacher is saying. The practice falls under the heading of ‘pratyahara’ or sensory withdrawal and the benefits are amazing.
The respiratory system is the only system of the body that we can take control of. We can: lengthen, shorten, hold, and regulate our breathing according to our will. Or, we can completely ignore it and it will still work.
You can’t do that with your digestive system, or your nervous system, or your endocrine system. The respiratory system is completely unique in that way.
Now consider the fact that the respiratory system is intimatly connected to your heart beat, pulse, and blood pressure. Logic suggests, that if we can control our breath we can affect our heart rate. Hmmmmm.
Let’s take it another step further.
It’s a known fact that when we are feeling fear, doubt, or uncertainty we tend to hold our breath. When we are living thru times of crisis, chaos, & turbulance our breathing patterns tend to shorten. What we do not realize is that when we constrict our breath in this way, the body retains the cellular memory of the fear, the doubt, and the turbulance. Energy gets blocked and we begin to reduce our ability to feel relaxed, joyful, and happy. It just happens.
Now multiply this over time and think about just how much of your life force energy you have repressed over the course of your life. Scary, isn’t it?
Over the year’s we’re addressed this issue in our yoga classes & workshops. I’ve witnesses hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of people change their health, their outlook, and their behaviours just by practicing yoga breathing. When our intention becomes the freedom from the energetic holding patterns that prevent full aliveness.
If you’d like more information on it you might want to visit these websites……………….http://www.eupsychia.com/perspectives/defs/cell.html or http://www.breathwork.com/
What’s important to understand is that these practices benefit all of us, regardless of your personal history. Just the stress of daily living is enough for the body/mind to create these ‘holding’ patterns. So, find someone who facilitates yogic breathwork in your neighborhood and try it. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll get a good rest and leave feeling completely relaxed. The best thing that can happen is that you’ll release some of the negative results of a life’s worth of holding.
Om shanti, om.
In 2001, I had the great good fortune to meet Sylvia Boorstein, a meditation teacher from the Theravada tradition of Buddhism. I loved her at first sight. She was the epitome of The GrandMother archetype for me. Round, jolly, sparkling, and chock full of the kind of everyday wisdom that only comes from deep study and years of personal practice. I assisted her with her 5-day program at Kripalu Center and became enamoured of Metta Meditation as a spiritual practice. Every summer for the following four years I returned to Kripalu to assist, practice and learn from Sylvia all about metta and the practice of lovingkindness.
Metta Meditation is a practice that was given to the Buddah’s students whereby particular phrases are repeated over and over, as in a mantra practice. The difference is that the phrases are first oriented towards oneself, then directed towards someone else, and finally for the well being of All beings. Beginning with oneself is critically important as the following quote of Gautama Buddah suggests.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
The Hundredth Monkey
by Ken Keyes, jr. The Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years.
In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant.
An 18-month-old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too.
This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists.
Between 1952 and 1958 all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable.
Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes.
Then something startling took place. In the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes — the exact number is not known.
Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes.
Let’s further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes.
THEN IT HAPPENED!
By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them.
The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!
A most surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea —
Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes.
Thus, when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind.
Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people.
But there is a point at which if only one more person tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone!
(from the book “The Hundredth Monkey” by Ken Keyes, jr. The book is not copyrighted and the material may be reproduced in whole or in part.