This article is graciously provided for republication by the author, Dr. Dinesh Sharma, an Ayurvedacharya, consultant Vastu Master, Vedic Astrologer and Ayurvedic Physician and teacher in the Himalayan Tradition of Yoga and Meditation for more than 30 years.
The great Himalayan masters gifted mankind very simple techniques to live peacefully in a joyful state of mind. There is no other productive way to tackle the stressful complexities of modern age- since life is throwing new challenges every day. Our concerns are no more limited to our own clan or country. Every big or small event gets instant global media coverage. The pain of 9/11 or Mumbai terror attack victims was felt right in our bed rooms.
Our reactions to different situations manifest in pain, anger, worry, jealousy, excitement or depression. Without our even realizing we are developing psychiatric disorders which we experience through irritability, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders or insomnia.
When we follow the Himalayan Dhyana Yoga tradition, expounded by the great Himalayan masters, gradually we witness a quantum shift in our whole personality.
Though the basic tenets of the Yoga tradition e.g. Yama, Niyama, Dharana, Pratyahara etc do not find easy acceptability in today's busy and indulgent society yet almost everyone craves for the change which would bring better health and emotional stability.
Himalayan masters were the first to understand the link between breath and emotions. The Prana, which we know and feel as breath and which is the core of the life force, has a two way relationship with mind. It gets affected by emotional changes - negatively or positively and as well influences the state of mind. It can be easily observed that anger, worries, jealousy, depression, anxiety or similar abnormal emotions do affect the rhythm and the quality of our breathing. A normal breath which is gentle, regular and deep becomes rapid, irregular and shallow under the state of heightened emotions.
The Himalayan Yoga tradition teaches to train the mind through breath awareness. More the breath is deeper, slower and regular, the mind is calmer, stable and joyful. If the following practices are done punctually and regularly then mind gradually starts transcending to its normal state of stable peace and joy.
Find a quiet corner in your home or office. Switch off the telephones or mobile phones. Sit conveniently and comfortably either on a chair or on the floor with neck and spine in a straight line and hands relaxing on the knees. Gently close the eyes. Bring the awareness to the body and the place where you are sitting. Now relax forehead. Its very important that the forehead is slowly relaxed as much one can. Relax the eye brows, eye lids, eyes and facial muscles. Relax the corners of the mouth, tongue, palate and voice box. Now relax the shoulders, arms, forearms, hands, fingers and tips. Again relax the tips, fingers, finger joints, hands, forearms, arms and shoulders. Relax the voice box, palate, tongue, corners of the mouth, facial muscles and eyes.
Now bring the awareness to the breath. Feel the flow of breath in the nostrils. Feel how the breath is touching nostrils while inhaling and exhaling. Do not stop or force the breathing. Just watch it. Slowly feel the breath deeper and deeper in abdomen rather in lungs. The breath should be even, regular and deep and should flow in a single stream. As soon as one breath cycle finishes, the next breath cycle starts without a gap.
Initially if the breath is irregular, abnormal, shallow and jerky - its okay. One needs to be patient in the beginning for a couple of weeks. Eventually the breath becomes regular, deep and smooth with practice. At this stage bring the name of any form of God or deity or any sound and repeat it in mind while exhaling and inhaling. Even repeating number 1 while exhaling and 2 while inhaling is fine. Remain in this breath and name awareness as much possible. Its better to practice at least 20 minutes twice a day. Some special 'experiences' are felt when one is regular and punctual for forty days.
This practice definitely trains the mind to become stable, joyful and positive. Positive thinking is the key to eternal and blissful peace.