Pranayama and Dealing with Tattoo Pain

     Random cool tattooed yogi [1]

First world problems, I know. What with all the world’s best doctors and scientists hard at work developing links between yoga and its effectiveness for use in treatments of REAL pathologies, it’s granted that more inspired topics are to be regulated to the backburner, and the scientific community at large can surely be forgiven for overlooking this potentially very fruitful area of research.

But such is. And we can’t all be engaged in solving life’s big problems, need some of us to engage in the little ones as well. Like ya know, dealing with tattoo pains. We all do our own part, eh?

 

Pranayama

So a quick recap on pranayama. That’s the thing you do (or try to do) during your weekly yoga classes right;

Controlled breath in. Controlled breath out. Hold for 6 counts. In… out… 

In…. out….

Stretch out your breaths, until the thoughts ease off from your mind. Your heart slows. Your muscles relax. Time unwinds, consciousness eases, softens and fades off into the background.

Going to go catch some samadhi’s. [2]

In yogic practice, breath represents (or ontologically supervenes on) prana (lifeforce). Regulation of the breath entails regulation of your lifeforce. When I stretch out my breathing, I draw out my life force. As I harmonize my breathing, I clear up my vital energies, and prepare my mind-body to transition into the next stage of heightened consciousness.

Pranayama brings about pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses and an inward turn of consciousness). Pratyahara further facilitates progression towards dharana, dhyana, and the superconscious samadhi. 

Now, I’d love as much as anyone to reach this samadhic enlightenment. But a dude’s still gotta navigate all the toil and toil and tribulations of samsara, ya know? Eventual self-actualization defo stays in the books, but I’ve a scheduled needling appointment soon, and I’d really like all the help I can get for that next marathon session coming up.

 

Pranayama and Pain Management

I think anyone who has gone for one of those hardcore Yin Yoga classes can immediately relate to the pain-management benefits of controlled breathing during a long drawn out and particularly excruciating frog, lizard or king pigeon pose. Fold deeper, keep breathing. Push deeper on each exhalation, breath into those knots and tight areas. Fold deeper. A bit more. A bit more And then the insane bastard actually comes over and pushes you balls deep into the stretch, into that white abyss of pain. Gotta love those Yin classes.

Don’t let that smile fool you. This here is the true face of pain. [3]

Going to geek out a little bit here on the physio-neurological basis for the efficacy of pranayama on pain management. For those not entirely turned on by latin gobbledygook, skip straight ahead to the next pretty picture below.

For the rest of you intellectual types; regulated breathing leverages the bidirectional affect between (para-)/sympathetic state activation and directive electric signals originating from the central nervous system (“CNS”). Conscious activation of segments of the overall (para-)/sympathetic response (i.e. the slow, deep breathing part of an overall relaxed state) in turn triggers the unconscious sensory neurons transmitting parasympathetic activation back up the CNS into the brain, who then plays catch up by transmitting further motor signals down the spine out the rest of your peripheral nervous system. Upregulation of the parasympathetic (relaxed muscles, slow breathing, steady heartbeat) state opposes the rival sympathetic state activation (fight or flight; erratic heartbeats, cold sweats, jitters, pain sensitivity, tensed up muscles). By a parallel and identical process, similar activation towards the sympathetic state can be achieved through conscious exercise of rapid forceful breathing (e.g. kapalbhati), which transmits back up to the CNS, back down to the sympathetic nervous system as so.

I picked most of this from wikipedia by the way, so I know what I’m talking about.

Now there’s a good bit of research attempting to close the final leg from (para-)/sympathetic state activation and pain sensitivity. The interface between subjective mental experiences (the feeling of pain) and neuro-physiological body states has always been a bit tricky to bridge. Observed behavioral responses and subjective reporting of pain would to be sure show some difference when obtained from a sympathetically activated individual or a para-sympathetically inclined one. It’s one thing to observe behavioral responses, and another to conclude that the pain was experienced mentally, internally as more painful; am I just overreacting, or am I really feeling more pain? 

Nevertheless, I’ll just throw out here the bits we wanted to hear; the experimental controlled trigger of pain and its association with activation of the sympathetic nervous system. [4] Pranayama and its promising use in patients with pain related pathologies. [5]

Tattoo Pain Chart [6]

But anywho, some personal n=1 experience has informed me that that long, deep breathing REALLY helps during the particularly wee sensitive bits in the ink session; Nice long slow breaths in the green. Some REALLY HEAVY DEEP BREATHS as we move on to the red. Take a 5 minute breather to help clear your mind, then that existential dread again and that moment of panic right as the needle homes into your skin…!!!!!!!…!!…haaaaaa…… Oohh yer fluffin beautie.

Granted there are probably even more niche areas for controlled breath applications out there. Like getting a covid/flu jab. Like when going for a foot massage. Or going to the dentist. Don’t know anything about those, I’m trying to write for the everyman here.

Calm mind through long slow breaths. Reversal of cause and effect. A real wonder of science, that pranayama.

 

Takeaways

– Slow, controlled breathing makes me less of a fidgety beech during tattoo sessions. 

– There’s a bit of science backing the idea that pranayama can help with pain (or at least its management)

– Bit of pranayama would probably help with my spiritual side too, enlightenment and all.

 

Will end off with a bit of #inkspiration, because dayum, some of these pins look mighty fine. 

 

One day, I too will be able to be like that. [7]

 

[1]: https://thetattooedbuddha.com/2016/09/04/the-tattooed-yoga-project-building-community-through-art/ 

[2]: https://www.indiadivine.org/prana-and-pranayama/ 

[3]: https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/how-to-do-frog-pose

[4]: Neuroanatomy, Parasympathetic Nervous System, Jacob Tindle; Prasanna Tadi.[2020]

[5]: Yoga: Can It Be Integrated with Treatment of Neuropathic Pain, Telles S. · Sayal N. · Nacht C. · Chopra A. · Patel K. · Wnuk A. · Dalvi P. · Bhatia K. · Miranpuri G. · Anand A. [2017]

[6]: https://www.facebook.com/rxtattoomd/posts/tattoo-pain-chart/453490595301962/ 

[7]: https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1617350

 

How pranayama is helping COVID-19 sufferers

Pranayama is the practice of breath regulation. The benefits of a regular pranayama practice have long been recognized within the yoga community, and with the on-set of the COVID-19 pandemic, pranayama is increasingly being discussed as a vital tool for treating ailments brought on by the novel coronavirus.   

The mysteries of ‘Long COVID’

While COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory illness, the virus has been found to potentially affect long-term nearly all organ systems and the nervous system.  A study published by the UK Office for National Statistics found that roughly one out of seven people who tested positive for COVID-19 experienced symptoms for a period lasting longer than 12 weeks.

Common symptoms in long COVID sufferers include fatigue and shortness of breath, but some also report heart palpitations –a sign that the body’s “autonomic nervous system” is out of balance. This is the body’s control system that critically regulates heart and breathing rate and triggers the “fight-or-flight response” when being confronted with a perceived threat. Carrying out seemingly mundane tasks –like loading the washing machine or sitting up in bed –have been reported as setting heart rates racing.

Prescribing Breath-work

An article published by The Atlantic earlier this year documents the observations and success of a team of researchers and doctors at Mount Sinai in the U.S. with prescribing breath-work for treating these symptoms. Notably, in formulating their course of treatment, the team remarked –

“long-COVID patients were breathing shallowly through their mouths and into their upper chest. By contrast, a proper breath happens in the nose and goes deep into the diaphragm; it stimulates the vagus nerve along the way, helping regulate heart rate and the nervous system.” 

This prompted the realization that in treating long-COVID patients –

the diaphragm and the nervous system had to be coached back to normal function before further reconditioning could start.”

Within just a week of starting patients on the breath-work course, all patients within the program were reporting positive improvement.

As discussed in the article, the Mount Sinai team’s theories about why the breath-work ultimately was so helpful touches upon many of the widely-discussed benefits of pranayama. In particular, they noted  –

  1. Breath-work allows patients to consciously control their heart rate;
  2. In helping to regulate stress, breath-work may benefit the immune system;
  3. Proper breathing is crucial to the lymphatic system, which plays a key role in eliminating toxins and waste.

Considering for example the pranayama practice of Anulom Vilom (alternate nostril breathing), it is documented as improving lung function, increasing oxygen saturation levels, reducing sympathetic activity and correspondingly stress and anxiety.

While we all hope not to be in the situation where we must use breath-work for rehabilitation from an illness, these findings are a positive reminder of the power of controlling our breath and its healing effects on the body.

Pranayama Sama Vritti

Sama Vritti Pranayama

The meaning of pranayama : ‘Pranayama’ literally means ‘to expand prana’ (vital force). In the 49th Sutra of Sadhanapada of Patanjala Yogasutra, the great Rishi Patanjali has defined Pranayama as a process in which respiration is interrupted and Prana, that is, the vital force is controlled and regulated. According to some, Prana mean air. But this is a wrong and misleading interpretation. Prana means something more than air. Prana, in  fact, is the vital power which is the force motivating every element of the earth and which is the origin of the force of thought. There is a deep affinity between Prana and mental force, between mental force and intellect, between intellect and soul, and between soul and God. Thus, the purpose of Pranayama is to inspire, motivate, regulate and balance the vital force (Prana) pervading in the body. This is the reason why Pranayama is considered one of the efficacious means of attaining Yoga.

The importance of Pranayama: Much importance has been attached to Pranayama in Yogashastras. According to Vyasabhashya, there is no ‘tapa’ (penance), greater than Pranayama. It cleanses the body and knowledge is manifested. Manu says, ‘Just as gold and other metals melted in fire become so pure so also the sense organs of the body get rid of impurities by Pranayama.’ Pranayama is the fourth and very important stage of Ashtanga Yoga shown by Patanjali. Yoga without Pranayama is not Yoga at all. That is why Pranayama is called the soul of Yoga. Bathing is necessary for purifying the body. Similarly, Pranayama is essential for purifying the mind.

What is Sama Vritti Pranayama?

Sama Vritti is one of the basic breathing techniques in yoga and this kind of breathing helps calm your autonomic nervous system. It means equal breath or box breathing. Sama mean “equal” and vritti mean “mental fluctuations’’. It is a ratio breathing technique that uses a set length of equal inhalations, exhalations and breath retentions.

Simple steps to start the breath cycle:

  • Inhale for a count of 4
  • Hold the breath in for a count of 4
  • Exhale for a count of 4

 Benefits of Pranayama

  • It helps strengthen the muscles used in breathing, increases the lung capacity, improve circulation in the body and stimulate the inner organs. Also, help exhaling excess carbon dioxide can prevent us from getting “Hypercapnia”.
  • Sending more oxygen to the brain helps to improve mental clarity, focus, concentration.
  • It helps let go of negative thoughts and emotions. By focusing on our breath activates the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing the fight OR flight response and producing a sense of calmness.
  • Focusing on the breath draws our attention inwards, which increases our inner peace and stillness making it easier to concentrate and meditate.

I would like to share a life experience, my friend and I was practising Sama Vritti. She shared that after the 4th cycle, she could smell garlic as she exhale and subsequently it get stronger. Conclusion, we should try to avoid rajasic foods that over stimulate the body and mind.

 

 

Nadi Shodana

The Nerves Calming Effect

To rest my eyes from staring too much on the screens during work, sometimes I like to look around and peculiarly, I would pick up one or two random facts in the room, for example, different breathing patterns. In a same room, some people breathe fast and shallow even though they are not working out, some people has less belly movement when breathing, and some create noises. I guess there are many reasons causing the differences, such as their body types, respiratory systems and living environments, or the effect of certain diseases or trainings. 

Breathing is vital because the oxygen we breathe in keep us alive, we use the oxygen to create energy. One person uses about 550 litres of oxygen per day and the tiny capillaries, the smallest type of blood vessel in our body transport the oxygen to the 50 trillion cells in our body. Over the century, human understand the importance of the oxygen in our body and developed many techniques, practices or exercises to educate the generations on how to take the full advantage of the air, and one of it is pranayama in Yoga. 

In Sanskrit, pranayama is the combination of 2 words, prana (vital energy) and ayama (expansion), literally, we shall learn how to expand the flow of the energy in our body. Pranayama is the teaching of using different breathing techniques to manifest the prana of the air into every cells of our body, and to train our breathing pattern within the realm of our conscious awareness.

One way to train our breathing pattern and to have a good control of it is to practice nadi shodana, a nerves calming breathing technique. Nadi shodana enable us to learn in getting control of our breathing by elongating the length of inhalation, exhalation and retention of the breath. And by elongating the length of the breathing, we slowly maximise the use of our lung capacity, which in turns able to provide healthier amount of oxygen to all the cells in our body.   

To practice nadi shodana, sit comfortably, spine straight and body weight distributed equally on the hips and legs. Eyes close, body relax and take a few smooth, even breaths. 

Take a last smooth and even breath and exhale completely. Gently close the right nostril with right thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Inhale deeply for about 6 seconds.

As soon as the inhalation is completed, gently close the other nostril with the ring finger. Retain the breath for for about 12 seconds, or up to 24 seconds.

Keep the left nostril close and release the right thumb, begin exhaling through right nostril. Exhale slowly for about 12 seconds.  

After the exhalation and still on the right nostril, inhale deeply for about 6 seconds. Subsequently, block both nostrils and retain the breath for about 12 seconds and exhale through the left nostril for about 12 seconds.

Continue the breathing cycles for 10 minutes and finish the pranayama practice with three resting breaths through both nostrils and feel the calming effect.

The advantage of practicing nadi shodana is to help calming the nerves, or the astral energy tubes (nadis), as well as to reduce the soreness of the muscles.

My favorite Pranayama – Bhramari !

My favorite Pranayama – Bhramari !

If you would have been someone who is interested in fitness, you would have realized by now that between physical and mental fitness, the mental fitness takes the highest priority. Now a days our lives are so busy, that while we have managed to concentrate on the physical fitness there is no time to take care of our mental fitness. Thats where Yoga balances things as it is all about connecting your body with your mind. Yoga gives priority to the mental fitness and this starts with something referred as PRANAYAMA.

Pranayama is a path towards increasing the vital energy which is required for basic functioning of our body – referred to as Prana. Without Prana the human body will perish. This Prana is the energy which keeps us going mentally and physically. And, ayama means lengthen or gain control. With this – as the name suggest Pranayama is about gaining control of the energy through regulation of the breath.

Before I joined Yoga, my understanding was that breath is a common phenomenon and it is the basic capability of the human body to breath and in turn send the required prana to all parts of the body. However, when I joined my Yoga classes and started learning more about Yoga & Pranayama, I realized that there are many techniques of regulated breathing which is being used to gain energy. This Prana when reaches to our Nadis and chakras it keeps the human being healthy from inside and outside. In our busy lives, sometime not paying attention to our breath might lead to blockages resulting into irregular flow of our prana to chakra and Nadia which becomes cause of worries, tension and other mental and physical problems.

There are many types of pranayama, however we will talk here about my favourite –  Bhramari.

Bhramari name is derived from an India Black Bee which visits different flowers and makes a humming sound. This Pranayama technique can be practiced at any quiet corner. The natural calming effect of the humming sound calms down the nerves around the forehead and brain.

How do we do it:

  • Find a quiet place around – it can be at home, office or any other place
  • Sit on a comfortable position with both eyes closed and bring a smile on your face
  • Place your thumb on the cartilage which exists near your ear
  • Take a long breath and start making a high-pitched bee like sound, repeat this for 11-16 times

Benefits

  • Long breath taken during Bhramhari reaches every cell of your brain which takes away your anxiousness and frustrations
  • This also helps to cure insomnia or sleeping issues
  • It helps to increase memory and concentration power
  • It improves hearing capacity
  • This exercise when done calms down your mind instantly if you are going through agitation or frustration
  • This helps for curing of Migraine and Epilepsy

Pranayama – What is it and How does it work?

We all know that Pranayama is a breathing practice and it has various benefits like increase energy, decrease stress, improve mental clarity and improve physical health. It is also identified as the fastest way to make you calm down.

But how does it work? We need to understand what prana is first.

Prana is the universal life force, which is the energy that distinguishes the living from the dead. It is the energy (chi) that going through our body via the energy channels (Nadis) and stored in our energy centers (chakras). Hence, prana is very important to the living body.

Surprisingly, there are different sources to get prana.

  1. Food – We can increase the prana intake from the Vegetables and fresh food. As mentioned earlier, prana only exists in the livings. Therefore, there is less or nearly no prana from the stale food and meat.
  2. Sleep – We always feel tired before sleeping and more energetic after waking up. Sleeping help us to increase the prana in our bodies.
  3. State of mind – When you feel tired you normally has no energy to do anything, but you are more energetic when you are in a good, bright or positive state of mind
  4. Breath – It is the most direct and instant source for us to get prana.

Breathing is the most direct and instant way to increase the prana in our bodies, but it is not just breath control. It is more about how we focusing on the breath, regulating the breath to increase the prana.

Since ancient times, Yogis already knew the power of prana and have been constantly developing breathing techniques to increase and maintain the prana, which is Pranayama.

Yogis believe there is a link between our emotions and breath. For every emotion, there’s a particular rhythm in the breath. For example, when you are calm and relaxed your breath is nice and easy and long but when you are angry, your breath is normally short and shallow. Because we cannot control our emotions directly, what we are doing through pranayama is we are controlling our breath and that is going to control our emotions.

So what are the benefits of pranayama?

  1. Calm mind
  2. Reduces worries and anxiety
  3. Improves focus and attention
  4. Boosts immune system
  5. Energizes body and mind
  6. Slow down the aging process

These are the general benefits of pranayamas, and there are other specific benefits we can get through practicing specific pranayams. Some examples are:

  1. Bhramri: Calms mind down
  2. Kapal Bhati: Detoxifying body and clearing energy channels
  3. Bhastrika: Instance Energy
  4. Nadi Shodan: Instance Focus
  5. Anulom Vilom: Instance Focus

Most importantly, it helps to delay the aging process!!

Kapalabhati Pranayama

Kapalabhati Pranayama

Kapalabhati Pranayama is one of the pranayamas that I have adopted in my daily routine since the start of YTT. Its the first thing I do when I get out of bed. In my experience, I feel that it has helped me greatly in digestion and ability to expel negative thoughts in my head, thus, making me largely more productive daily. 

Kapala means “skull” and bhati means “shining”. Kapalabathi is known as a method to cleanse the overall body system so much that when practised regularly, the face will shine radiantly with good health, hence, its terms Shining Skull. This pranayama involves passive inhalation and active forceful exhalations through the nose, using abdominal muscles.

 

How to practise Kapalabathi:

  1. Come to comfortable seated position such as Padmasana (lotus) or Sukhasana.
  2. Place your hands on your knees with palms facing the sky.
  3. Take a few deep breaths to prepare for Kapalabathi.
  4. At the end of the last inhalation, contract the abdominal muscles quickly. This will forcefully push air out of the lungs, making it an active forceful exhalation.
  5. Relax the abdominal muscle, and this will naturally result in passive inhalation.
  6. Repeat this by contracting and “pumping” your abdominal muscles quickly. Passive inhalation will follow. This is considered one pump.
  7. After 20-30 pumps, end on the exhalation. This is considered one round.
  8. Take a few deep breaths after 1 round. Repeat this for 2 more rounds.

 

Physical Benefits:

  • Aids digestion
  • Strengthens and increases the capacity of the lungs 
  • Strengthen abdominal muscles
  • Stimulates blood circulation

 

Mental Benefits:

  • Balances oxytocin
  • Improves concentration and memory

 

Spiritual Benefits:

  • Removing any blocks in nadis
  • Activates chakras in your body
  • Regulates the flow of prana 

 

Important things to take note of:

  • It is best to practise this with no food intake.
  • Women who are pregnant or on moon cycle should NOT practise this.
  • People with major illnesses such as cancer or high blood pressure should also NOT practise this.

Breathe yogis…there is so much more you can breathe!

Why is breathing so important for the body? Life begins and ends with breathing. About 5 minutes without breathing and we are dead. All cells in the body need oxygen to live. Oxygen is necessary for the cell’s energy supply, to ensure its metabolism. Low levels of oxygen will have a direct impact on the functioning of the cell. Breathing is also vital to remove waste products during exhalation, such as CO2 from cellular respiration.

Breathing impacts all the major body’s systems:

  • cardiovascular system: slow, deep breaths will cause the heart rate to slow; inhalation is linked to vasoconstriction and exhalation to vasodilation; blood homeostasis (pH / pO2 and pCO2 to avoid acidosis)
  • nervous system: breathing volumes and rate will either activate or relax the body; the brain consumes a lot of oxygen (20%) and optimal breathing will support intellectual activities and concentration
  • endocrine system: the variation in blood parameters (pO2, pCO2, pH) modulated by breathing will regulate the hormonal activity aimed at restoring homeostasis. For example, a deep inhale and a full exhalation will decrease the production of noradrenaline and if this is done over a few hours, the cortisol level will also decrease.
  • muscular system: as mentioned above breathing is fundamental for metabolism and energy supply (aerobic). A well oxygenated muscle will increase its power and tone. A good exhalation will eliminate the CO2 produced by muscle activity.
  • digestive system: the mechanical movement of the diaphragm during inhalation and exhalation massages digestive organs and stimulates peristalsis so that digestion and transit are improved.
  • immune system: Shortness of breath increases, over time, the level of cortisol which kills lymphocytes (key cells of our immune system).

Breathing is an “automatic” function governed by the autonomic nervous system, but consciously, we can control our breath e.g. modify the amplitude, the frequency, choose to breathe through the nose or the mouth.

When we discussed about the respiratory system during the Yoga Teacher Training and I went on checking the various pulmonary volumes, I was quite amazed at what I discovered. Our lungs have a volume of around 5 L. But the “automatic” breathing, also called “tidal volume”, is only of 0.5 L, so only 10% of our lung capacity! By consciously inhaling fully we can add another 1.5 to 2.5 L (also called “inspiratory reserve volume”) so increasing the air coming in (and out) fourfold to 2L! And by consciously exhaling fully and then inhaling fully we can add an extra 1.2 to 1.5 L (also called “expiratory reserve volume”), so overall increasing the air coming in (and out) sevenfold to 3.5L! And now we use 70-75% of our lung capacity…so much more powerful! So much more oxygen we can provide to our cells, so much more toxins we can get rid of.

Unfortunately, many people don’t have optimal breathing, leading to both physical and psychological consequences. People are now advised to “learn to breathe” and many techniques have emerged for various indications such as stress management, depression, ENT ailments, nasal structure defects, snoring, concentration…Yoga, and Pranayama specifically, have a great role to play there.

Practicing pranayama is a great way to learn to control our breath and leverage its impressive power. Research shows that regular practice of pranayama significantly improves  numerous pulmonary parameters: it increases vital lung capacity, tidal volume, expiratory reserve volume, breath holding time, diffusion capacity, resting respiratory rate…And those indicators are important for both prevention and treatment of all respiratory dysfunctions and illnesses.

So, yogis, don’t forget to practice your pranayama and…breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out….

Cardiac coherence and Ujjayi breath: when old meets new

The impact of breathing on the nervous system has long been established. Increasing the inhalation volume and the respiratory rate will act on the sympathetic autonomous nervous system, which will activate the body: increased heart rate, vasoconstriction, sweating… Conversely, increasing the exhalation volume and reducing the respiratory rate will act on the parasympathetic autonomous nervous system, which will relax the body: slowed down heart rate, cell regeneration, digestion… And when the two systems are in balance, one is serene, both alert and relaxed.

Cardiac coherence is gaining traction and is now regularly used in the cardiology field. Research has shown that regular practice was regulating blood pressure and was significantly decreasing overall cardiovascular risks, the #1 killer in the world today. But what is cardiac coherence? It is a method based on respiratory techniques bringing the cardiac and respiratory systems into resonance and thus balancing our autonomous nervous system. The principles were developed in the 1990s in the United States from medical research in neuroscience and neurocardiology. The technique is simple: it consists of, 3 times a day, breathing calmly at the rate of 6 breaths per minute (inhaling for 5 seconds and exhaling over 5 seconds; rate can vary slightly for each person) for 5 minutes (“365 method”). Inhalation is abdominal through the nose and exhalation is through the mouth with pinched lips. To all yogis, does it ring a bell?

When I learned about the Ujjayi breath, it felt familiar! Cardiac coherence is in fact a simplified or less “throat activation” Ujjayi breath. Indeed, in both techniques, one breathes calmly and continuously (without retention), equalizing inhale and exhale, using abdominal inhalation and some restriction on the exhalation. Ujjayi breath, though, is constricting exhalation at the throat level with mouth closed, whilst cardiac coherence is constricting exhalation at the mouth level, with lips pinched. Hence there is more throat activation in the Ujjayi breath and consequently also more building of heat.

What can we learn on Ujjayi breath from recent research on cardiac coherence? Of course, as the two methods have slight differences, one cannot strictly extrapolate research on one to the other. Nevertheless, given the level of similarly, results on one are very likely to constitute a solid proxy for the other. Firstly, both techniques target the physiological balance of the autonomous nervous system through equalization of inhalation and exhalation. The heart rate is constantly changing, with the heart modulating its activity according to internal and external stimuli. By controlling your breathing, you allow an increase in the heart variability amplitude (an important health indicator). Additionally, there is a direct heart-brain link as the heart informs the brain. And by improving your cardiac pattern, you send positive messages to the brain (less stress, a feeling of well-being). Finally, recent research on cardiac coherence has demonstrated numerous benefits on physical, mental and emotional health with short, mid- and long-term effects. Short term immediate benefits include improvement of cardiac patterns and relaxation. Medium-term benefits, after about 4 hours, include hormonal regulation (the main effect being the decrease in cortisol -stress; also increased DHEA -youth and atrial natriuretic factor- antihypertensive), regulation of neurotransmitters (dopamine – pleasure and serotonin – well-being), increased cognitive abilities (increased alpha brain waves for concentration and memory). Long-term benefits, after ten days, include significant regulation of cardiovascular risk (significant regulation of blood pressure and improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels), improved stress management and emotional balance, improved cognitive abilities, increased immunity (in particular via lower cortisol levels), improved conditions for inflammatory diseases and asthma.

Now taking a step back…yoga is a fascinating holistic practice. It encompasses thousands of years of experience and wisdom. It is almost funny to think that a modern successful technique such as cardiac coherence was just “hiding” there, in the millennial knowledge of pranayama. The potential to derive impactful techniques from yoga for the health and wellness space is endless!

Universal Law of Attraction with Kundalini Awakening

Like Karma, what goes around comes around.

The Law of Attraction works on our mental ability. It uses the power of our minds to manifest things and translate whatever we are focusing on to materialize them into reality. It could be anything such as money, job, love, health or relationship.

With the Law of Attraction, positive thoughts attract positive energy/results. And negative thoughts attract negative energy/results.

Everything we as human being have created in this world was essentially first created in our minds. All that we see are the human works in this world. First, expression was made in the mind, and then it gets manifested in the outside world. Hence, things that have done in the world be it good or horrible, all come from the human minds.

It is extremely important that we learn to create the right things in our mind in order to create what we want in our life. 

Simply put, the Law of Attraction says that you will attract into your life whatever you focus on. Whatever you give your energy and attention to will come back to you.

So, if you stay focused on the good and positive things in your life, you will automatically attract more good and positive things into your life. If you are focused upon lack and negativity, then that is what will be attracted into your life.

The entire universe is in our head. The entire energetic make-up of the human being is a self-contained experience giving apparatus with the mind as its engine. There is nothing outside of us, really. It is all a projection of the mind, which is called Maya– illusion. So this karma, these past actions are all carried with us inside our mind, like hidden files on a computer. The entire energy is shaped and coded by the karma when one show up here to have this life experience. We’re each given a distinct coding and placed in this matrix that is our own life. Your subconscious mind holds much of this programming and like a security camera it catches everything you do in this lifetime. As you can imagine, especially in our hectic modern world, the subconscious mind gets pretty filled up. It is this weight of the subconscious mind that puts resistance into your projection as you march forward toward your destiny.

I first heard of Kundalini Yoga during one of my YTT classes. It really caught my thought as how this practice enhances a person’s persona and the power to attract people. Even if the person may be an average Joe or plain Jane, he/she can have the ability to attract people to him/her. I decided to find out more. The more I read, the more it intrigues me on how it can help to make one more aware with consciousness. Most importantly, it is more than just visualization meditation.


What is Kundalini Yoga?

Kundalini Yoga is called the Yoga of Awareness. It is a dynamic, powerful tool that is designed to give you an experience of your soul. It harnesses the mental, physical, and nervous energies of the body and put them under the domain of the will, with the transformation and expansion of consciousness, the awakening and raising of Kundalini Energy up the spine through energy centers called Chakras. The activation and balancing of the chakras is accomplished by the mixing and uniting of Prana (cosmic energy) with Apana (eliminating energy) which generates pressure to force Kundalini to rise, by means of Pranayama (breathing exercises), Bhandas (body locks), in Kriyas (exercise sets), using Asanas (postures), Mudras (gestures), and Mantras (sacred sounds). It is therefore belives that Kundalini Yoga brings balance to the body, mind, and soul.


Using Kundalini Yoga to enhance the Universal Law of Attraction

Kundalini Yoga sets also use the manifestation of thoughts through Visualization, Projection and Focused Attention to attain specific effects.

Through the practice of Kundalini Yoga, an individual can unite his/her consciousness with cosmic Consciousness on a regular basis by carefully performing the exercises and meditations in specific sequence and combination. He/She soon becomes adept at perceiving the movement of energy within and outside of his/her body, and consciously begins to direct its flow to stimulate and awaken the chakras, for healing himself/herself and others, and becomes a co-creator with universal energies. (taken from Transitions to a Heart Centered World – Guru Rattana, Ph.D.)

As it was stated, Kundalini is an incredibly powerful storehouse of psychic energy, sometimes called Shakti, symbolized as a coiled, sleeping snake, resting at the base of the spine (Kundal means curl). Once awakened it uncoils and ascends through the central channel in the spinal column to the Crown Chakra (Sahasrara) at the top of the head, triggering an awakening of consciousness and a transcendent spiritual state.


Effect from practicing Kundalini Yoga

It is often described as ‘meeting you where you you’re at and taking you where you want to go’.  If you can breathe and lean in the right direction, you will benefit. It balances the glandular system and strengthens the nervous system so you feel more vibrant and alive.  It is practical and powerful. It works quickly to give you grace, balance, and most of all, the ability to remain calm, centered, and clear through life’s challenges. As you practice Kundalini Yoga you will grow. You will gain new perspectives and capacities, as well as habits that support a healthy lifestyle.

It is believed that all of us are born with the ability to make proper use of the Universal Law of Attraction. It’s one of the things humans are designed to do. A child can do it, an idiot can do it, a really bad person can do it. There’s no discrimination there.

However, using the Law of Attraction after a kundalini awakening is a bit different:

  • It allows you to utilize this Law more fully and more deliberately due to expanded consciousness
  • It gives greater speed and impact to ALL your intentions, good and bad, so the results of your choices can boomerang on you much more quickly

In summary, our bodies have seven energy centres or chakras beginning with the base of our spine and ending at the top of our head. There is latent energy coiled at the base of the spine and by practicing kundalini this energy will move upwards through each successive chakra to the crown.  Kundalini is subtle as it energizes from within to boost your inner strength and capacity.

Physical benefits may include an improvement in your vitality and overall wellbeing, stronger joints, muscles and spine and it can detoxify the entire body thereby improving the workings of your glands, organs, blood circulation, immune and nervous systems.  Other effects include an increase in your productivity and focus.  Meditation techniques enhance mental concentration, sharpen awareness as well as creating a peaceful outlook so you are better able to deal with setbacks in a more productive and neutral manner.

Enjoy the journey through Yoga which offers many ways for us to rediscover our true self, live with complete confidence and be aware of what we want to achieve when we connect deeply with our mind, body and soul.

Namaste! Have a good day ahead.