In our series of articles, we have been discussing the main categories of meditation techniques: chanting mantra, witnessing thoughts, and visualization techniques. In this article we will discuss watching the breath, which includes countless specific meditation techniques and pranayama exercises.
The yoga asana (poses) that most people at yoga studios already incorporate pranayama (control of life force) practices into yoga class. When performed properly, a yoga class can be an ideal vehicle for deep meditation.
Any technique that increases awareness of the breath will help settle down the mind. As the breath slows down, so do the thoughts in your mind. As the thoughts settle, so does the breath. When your breath and thoughts slow down and stop, with regular practice, this allows the prana to rise up the spine to the higher chakras which purifies your mind and body and prepares your nervous system to handle higher energies. You are advised to learn pranayama from an experienced yoga teacher to avoid mental and physical symptoms of excessive energy caused by some techniques.
The best way to learn pranayama and breath awareness techniques, and other spiritual cultivation, is to attend our upcoming advanced yoga training including our 108 “sadhanas” (yoga spiritual practices) which we will learn and practice together.
In future articles in this series, we will talk about some of the specific techniques and traditions we will be learning in our training.