audio meditation to anchor the mind

Welcome to Day 4 of my free 21 Day Yoga Challenge. I’ve included a 9 minute audio meditation that you can use in your practice to settle and anchor the mind. This meditation uses a pranayama (breathing practice) with a kumbhaka (a pause in breathing).

Today, the pause on the inhale will represent what you’d like to bring more of into your life, what brings you joy. During your meditation, you can set an intention around this idea. In more general terms, a pause during the inhale helps bring more prana or energy to the body. So if you are sleepy, you can use the pause on the inhale to wake you up.

By contrast, the association that we’ll use today for the pause on the exhale is the ability to surrender or let go. Set an intention for something that you are ready to let go of, such as a relationship that no longer works, a pain in the body, etc. In more general terms, a pause on the exhale is calming for the body and mind, so that’s a perfect practice to do to help you get to sleep or to relieve anxiety.

Let me know how you like this and how it works for you.

Namaste,

Suzanne

nadi shodhana – breath to balance the brain & body

Welcome to Day 21 of our 21 Day Yoga Challenge! Today I suggest that you practice a wonderful pranayama (breathing practice) called Nadi Shodhana (sounds like nad-dee show-DAH-nah). Nadi Shodhana balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain, reducing anxiety and relieving stress. It encourages a sense of calm for the body, mind and spirit.

As with any pranayama, if you start to lose your breath or feel any tension, simply release it and come back to your natural breath. Then you can decide to try it again or leave it for another day.

If you have congestion, you can clear your nostrils with a neti pot, try nadi shodhana with just the nostril that is open, or leave it for another day.

To practice – try this for just a few minutes or up to 15 minutes. Again, resting if you feel any tension. Let the breaths be shorter, nice and easy.

  • Sit in a comfortable position with spine upright.
  • Gently close your left nostril with your ring finger. Inhale through your right nostril. Then close off your right nostril (closing that off with the thumb if you are right-handed) and exhale out through the left nostril. Inhale in through the left and close off the left nostril, exhale out through the right. Over and over. Side to side.

While today is the last day of our challenge, I hope that you have learned some techniques to carry on your practice over the next two months. Our next challenge starts January 1, 2014. Mark your calendar! In the meantime, I’ll still send you plenty of asana videos, audio meditations, recipes and tips for healthy living – probably one every three or four days.

I’ll be busy over the next two months creating:

  • a cookbook with healthy recipes
  • a course on 21 days of meditation
  • a 21 day asana video course

If you are local to me, in the Washington, DC area, I’ve just added eight new yoga and Pilates classes in my new home yoga studio. Check that out here. Classes start next week. I’ll also be teaching private yoga classes. Please call for special pricing and more information: 703-626-8349.

Be well my yoga friends.

Namaste,

Suzanne

P.S. I love your questions and suggestions. Keep it coming!

Day 14: breathing into 8 parts of the body meditation – 28 Day Yoga Challenge

Most of us habitually breathe into the upper front chest. This lovely meditation incorporates using the front and back body, plus the upper and lower parts of the torso. This is one of my favorite meditations. It can significantly enhance your health by feeding prana (energy) into the organs of the body. Enjoy!

Namaste,

Suzanne