The Mind, Body and Breath

Meditation is a word that was not in my vocabulary until a few weeks ago when I started doing this yoga course. Call me a realist, skeptic or whatever it is, I always thought people who does meditations are fleeting from the reality that they live in, isn’t that what you do when you meditate? How wrong was I! I might still be a long way to fully experience the positive effects of a proper meditation but starting even daily pranayama has already turned me into a half-hearted realist that I am. With hundreds of emails that I received on a weekly basis, my mind is constantly overworked.  It’s often and most of the times filled with ideas, notions, thoughts running here and there like a circular motion it doesn’t stop until I close my eyes to sleep, sometimes it even sips to dreams and I often woke up feeling restless.

By practicing daily pranayama breathing we can slowly re-create new habits of pacing our mind, slowing our thoughts and focusing on what is truly important for us. Gradually our peaceful state of mind will guide us in our daily life, how we act, behave, treat others and treat ourselves.

Taking long deep breaths and just focusing solely on our inhale and exhale forces us to sift our mind to just be present and be in the now. When we take new habits of taking in new and long breaths we will also slowly pace our mind. Lita Koontz-Stuveysant a yoga teacher in Pittsburgh recently wrote an article about how yoga can help calming the mind and body. In her article she reinstated that as we often daydream we fall into having too many expectations of the future, or even the past. When we are having a good time we often worry that the happy feeling won’t last and vice versa. This high and low mood changes prevents us from focusing on the now and living live fully as it is.

As most of you have studied recently our nervous systems are divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic works in a state of “fight or flight” much like if you are being chased by a wild animal if you are ever stranded in an African dessert.  These days though, we experience this response when things just doesn’t go like the way we want to, when we are stuck in heavy traffic late into a meeting, stressed at work, or just when someone does not return our calls.  When this system is overworked we will suffer a lot of health problems, ranging from ulcers, migraines to severe cases like heart diseases.

In class we are taught to take deep long pranayama breathing which will affect our parasympathetic nervous system. Slowing the pace of our breath; affecting the blood to freely travel into our other immune systems with organs that are key to long-term survival. Our body has now time to heal from the daily stresses that accumulates. Not only are the pranayama breathing techniques contributing to a healthier mind and body but the asanas are equally important to nourish our physical bodies. 😀

Emmelyn – 200HR 

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