Here you will find a collection of yoga exercises that may be of special relevance as we grow older.
NOTE: These details are all from Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.
Always consult a medical practitioner before beginning a yoga practice – check that there are no contraindications especially if you are on prescription medication. Otherwise, proceed gently always listening to your body and allowing yourself time to relax afterwards – it is recommended to relax for 11 minutes every day in shivasana, lying flat on your back : “let go and let God” , to integrate the effects of your yoga practice.
Location, location, location..
Can you find a quiet private place to be by yourself or with a companion meditator, where you won’t be interrupted ?
Allow yourself ten to twenty minutes for your meditation but starting out with a structured meditation such as the ones below, aim for just three.
I find that using a timer is better than setting an alarm as that might startle you and ruin the relaxation effect.
Sit down on a comfortable chair, on a yoga mat, or a cushion. If you have a sheep skin, that is great to sit upon one the ground. Try to relax every muscle in your body from bottom to top.
Adopt a calm, passive attitude – a neutral mind such that you don’t judge yourself or others.
After you finish, sit quietly for a few minutes, breath and set an intention to carry this deeply relaxed and meditative attitude with you into your day ahead.
“But I have too many thoughts – It’s too hard to still the mind”
Dharma Singh Khalsa M.D who has prescribed these meditations to his patients gives the answer that really these pesky thoughts are really one of the most important aspects of meditation – they represent a release of energy from the subconscious mind, to the conscious mind. Each time it happens, let it just be and accept it without judging yourself. As you simply accept the thoughts and let them be – Space begins to emerge in your consciousness : and healing can begin.
For Kundalini Yoga
Starting out… always remember to “tune in”
Sitting with a straight spine, either in a chair or in “easy pose” sitting cross legged on the ground, if you find that easy enough. Sit with your hands together as if you are praying in “prayer pose” : in this mudra (hand position) there is a balance of energy polarities – the right hand gives energy and the left hand receives, and so the circuit is completed. Breath deeply to still the mind and go within with your eyes closed. Gently roll the eyes up as if you are attempting to look out of a little window in the centre of your forehead – this helps to relax the brain and brings an inner focus. Directing the gaze physically also has an impact upon the optic nerve which runs from the eyes to the center of the brain. During meditation and other activities in your yoga practice, different eye positions cause the optic nerve to apply variable pressures to major glands and gray matter in the brain. So, far more than just reducing external distractions, the eye-focus is a powerful meditation technique. Focusing at the “third eye point” also stimulates the pituitary gland and what is called the sushmuna (central nerve channel of the spine).
1.Medical Meditation to help those suffering from high blood pressure.
Sit in a comfortable position as described above. Do your best to maintain a straight spine and upright posture. Close the eyes throughout this meditation and allow your mind to be still. Using the thumb of your right hand, inhale slowly and deeply through the left nostril until you have extended your breath to full capacity pause then for a moment, and slowly breath out the left nostril once again. Savour the breath and every moment of the circulation of energy within your body. This is a calming breath. Start slowly if you have never done any extended breathing before – slowly building up to 3 minutes and then, when your confidence increases – up to 11 minutes. Finally inhale, exhale and relax the hand down.
Sit or lie in a restful position for three minutes or more and completely relax.
It can be quite pleasant to play some calming soulful music in the background or the gentle sounds of nature to enhance your experience.
2.Breath of Ten Meditation to Become Dis-Ease Free
(with thanks and acknowledgements to 3HO and the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings)
This pranayam (special breathing technique) is a magnetic energy therapy. The energy connection between the hands must not be broken. If practiced faithfully and regularly, it is said to give the practicioner a disease-free body and a clear meditative mind, and it can develop your intuition. But it requires practice.
Posture: Sit in Easy Pose with a straight spine.
Mudra: Your elbows are bent and your forearms and hands are relaxed in a clapping position at the level of the solar plexus. Your hands move in and out as if you are clapping but they do not touch. Stop the inward motion when the hands are about six to eight inches apart. Move slowly and rhythmically.
Focus: Concentrate on the energy you feel between the palms of your hands.
Breath: The breath is timed with the movement of the hands. Each stroke of the breath is one complete clapping motion (hands move in, hands move out). Inhale in five strokes through the nose as you complete five complete clapping motions. Then exhale in five strokes through the mouth as you complete the next five clapping motions. Continue and do not break the rhythm of the movement and the breath.
Time: To put all the chakras in rhythm, do this meditation every day for 11 minutes. You can gradually increase the time to 16 ½ minutes.
To End: Inhale and hold the breath for 20 seconds as you press your hands against your face as hard as you can. Exhale. Inhale again, and hold the breath 20 seconds as you press your hands strongly against your heart center. Exhale. Inhale one last time and hold the breath 20 seconds as you press your hands against your navel point. Exhale and relax.
© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan
This meditation was published in Aquarian Times, Spring 2004