Follow Along: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W7oUZ8EVbI
The goal of switching your fingers is that it returns your attention to the present. The way the mind works is that it has a thought, which leads to further thoughts. Every time a thought is fed, it starts to beget another thought, and eventually, your thoughts start to breed, which leads to an infestation in your mind. This leads to anxiety.
Thoughts have a certain amount of energy and momentum. If you feed the thought, the momentum is conserved and the thoughts lead to anxiety when they become overwhelming.
When we meditate, the momentum of our thoughts still persists, but when you have to return your attention to the present, then you stop paying attention to the thoughts and consequently, you stop feeding them. Even if a thought pops up, you can return to the practice and the thought will drift away.
The longer you do the practice, the fewer thoughts are going to pop up. The goal of this process is to enter a “no-mind” state, which is consciousness without mental activity. The more you let your thoughts go, the more you are going to enter a state of consciousness where there is no thinking. In that state, all you are is pure awareness, and that is the goal.
Start with 3-5 minutes per day for 3 weeks. You can gradually increase it as you feel comfortable.
You can set a timer to do this, but you can also keep doing it until you are done doing it. You will know when you are done doing it — remember, that is okay, and don’t be judgemental about yourself. Simply focus on doing it.
Remember to breathe in through the same nostril you exhaled from.
If you have a deviated septum, this meditation is not recommended.
Kapalbhati is a sequence of forceful exhalations followed by a series of passive inhalations.
Follow Along: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86sYinrLuPA
The Stillness After the Practice
The space after the practice is the whole point. It is not just the breaths themself. After you are done with the thirty breaths, sit with the way you feel. Some people might feel relaxed or focused and others might experience constriction or tightness. Both of those are fine — the idea is to sit with the way that you feel. If you feel tightness or constriction, breathe deep into the area of constriction. As you take a deep breath in, feel the vertebra in your neck and spine expanding.
This meditation is particularly useful for anxiety. An anxious mind is a mind full of energy — it wants to go as fast as possible. What Kapalbhati (bellow’s breath) does is meet your mind at the speed that it is at, and then gently slows it down. Forcing the anxious mind to slow down is not effective. If you run with the anxiety for a little bit, and then start to slow down, the mind will slow down as well. It is similar to a dog that is really excited. If you try to make it sit still, it will not work. But if you run with it for a bit, and then slow down and stop, it will slow down as well.
Follow Along: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lOTZRpOvxY
People think that meditation is only about calming your mind, but actually its about experiencing wonderful and amazing things. It’s about feeling sensations that you would not feel otherwise. It is about cultivating inner experience.
If sensations come out in meditation, let them come out. That is how it heals you. When stuff gets suppressed, it comes out in maladaptive ways. Sometimes when things are buried, then they start to come out in meditation.
Follow Along: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1955CTVDc_o
Do this meditation for a week, every day, and see where within your body you see a temperature change. Pick a spot and see what you can feel. Do not let your mind get in the way.
Follow Along: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5qgaKHMw1I
If you feel dizzy, take breaks between your breath.
Yes. If you practice breathing then you will train yourself to breathe less from the chest and more from the abdomen. You can train yourself to breathe deeper and slower.
If CO2 levels being too low lead to dizziness, does CO2 levels being too high do the same?
Absolutely not. Spiritual experiences during meditation are believed to be due to toxic levels of CO2 in the brain. If you meditate on a regular basis, your body acclimatizes to low levels of Oxygen and high levels of CO2 and a very low respiratory rate.
When your CO2 is elevated, your brain tells you to breathe more, so you can breathe off that CO2. But when you meditate, your brain acclimatizes to the high level of CO2 and starts to recruit other mechanisms that do not require rapid breathing. When you meditate on a regular basis, you begin to have a very low respiratory rate, but it does not damage you.
The other thing that is really fascinating is how meditation prevents heart attacks. When your heart is starved for oxygen, it sends signals to create collateral circulation. When your arteries get clogged, the amount of space through which blood can travel to nourish your heart slows down. As you get a blocked artery, your heart begins to become starved for oxygen. Then it does two things.
It sends signals to dilate the arteries, which facilitates more flow. The other thing that it does is that it sends signals to create more blood vessels — angiogenesis. When you meditate for prolonged periods of time, your oxygen levels start to go lower (but not in a damaging way) and it sends signals to your heart to create collateral circulation. So if you meditate regularly and you develop a blocked artery, then the damage from that artery will be significantly less because your body has created alternate paths of circulation.
The tricky thing in meditation is that the way that you enter the no-mind state in meditation is by having no expectations. The first time you meditate, you do not know what to expect, and that is when you can sit fully with the experience. Once you sit with an experience, then that creates an expectation to have that experience again, which makes it hard to meditate. The most difficult spiritual experience to have in meditation is the second one, not the first one. This is the most common challenge in meditation.
Recognize that for some time it is going to be harder to get that meditation going again. When you have thoughts such as “oh, this is not working”, just return to the technique. Return to the breath. Ignore whether it is working. If it is working, that’s fine, if it is not working, that’s fine too. Focus on the technique. That is what got you there in the first place, and it is what will get you there again.
Follow Along: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2RhXCugEW4
Here is the order for reference. At each step, add one body part, hold for a few seconds and relax.
Shanmukhi Mudra is sanskrit for “Sealing of the Six Gates”. The purpose of this Mudra or gesture is to close off your awareness outside of you body and concentrate your awareness inside.
Bhramari Pranayama is sanskrit for “Bee's Breath.” As a bee flies from flower to flower, so does the mind. The purpose of this Pranayama or breathing technique is to prevent your mind from wandering and getting distracted during meditation.
All one has to do is buzz or hum like a bee after every breath.
As a beginner in meditation, we often feel discouraged because of our improper technique or lack of “effects.” We avoid meditating to avoid this feeling of failure/uselessness. You meditate until that feeling goes away. “The more you do this practice, the more that “you are incapable” feeling melts away”
Follow Along: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VaHh9EUcfE
There is someone that lives your life filled with fear, anxiety, and stress. Then there is a person in meditation who is listening, that is not the person that lives your life, and that does not have your problems in your life.
There is a person or place within you that is free from the hardship of life. So when you are dealing with the hardship of life, ask yourself what would the listener do. Ask yourself why life is hard?
Life is hard because your problems are present all the time. The listener would just do what they need to do because they do not care. The future and the past paralyzes you. Yet the listener is focused on the present. So be more like the listener and just do it.
Follow Along: https://youtu.be/yWLCto4p_yM?t=567
Another technique you can do is: Ujjayi Pranayama, aka Darth Vader breathing technique in our community.