Sunday, 8 January 2017
Getting back to breathe
I rarely, rarely feel unwell. The past few weeks though, I have felt unwell. I couldn't work out what was causing the nausea and feeling of exhaustion. Nothing in my life has changed, that is, my diet is as always good, my friendships are good, my marriage is good, my baby is good, I am good. Milly the dog can be a bit of a handful though, however, this was not due to Milly. I tried everything.
I went to bed earlier, I ate less, I walked more, I pondered and pondered and I could not find a reason for this ongoing nausea and feeling of exhaustion. Then it hit me. My breath.
Each day I meditate and each day I perform Agnihotra . I perform Omkara repeated many times, but what I needed was to pay special attention to my breath. It was time to focus on pranayama with strong attention. I began to mean business where pranayama is concerned.
I streamlined some of my sadhana practises so I had some extra time and energy to focus on pranayama. There is so much we can include in our sadhana (meditation, asana, diet, ethics, thoughts, pranayama to name just a few) and it is easy to 'get stuck' in performing the same components of a sadhana when really we may need to modify or adjust it according to what is going on right now in our whole being experience. So, I needed to bring into focus my breath because this was going to help me understand and overcome my unusual feeling of nausea and exhaustion. I began right away, this is what I did and this is why and here are the results.
During morning meditation I began by simply focussing on my natural breath. Allowing my breathing to be natural and uncontrolled. Allowing my breathing to be and to observe that breath. I actually noticed that both my inhalation and exhalation were short and that my exhalation was limited more so than my inhalation. Next I noticed the rhythm of both my inhalation and exhalation was out of time, it was 'jumpy' rather than smooth. Why would this be and what did this tell me about what was going on?
The flow of my breath combined with the feeling of nausea and exhaustion were signals of stress. Stress? But I'm not stressed. That's what I thought. I meditated on it a bit longer as I went about my day(s) and I kept getting the same answer... stress. After accepting this as possible I had a think about what could be causing this stress. Here is where the need for pranayama really came into play.
I was not breathing properly, fully and in a relaxed way. I was not relaxing enough, I was not experiencing the relaxation response enough. I had underestimated the energy and attention supervising a one year old and caring for a garden and living off grid (etc) actually took. I knew I needed to take a step back. I knew I needed to calm down. I knew I needed to breath.
So I did.
I began with Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) as this is the most effective way to calm and balance all three doshas of the body, it is a highly effective way to reduce stress and anxiety throughout the whole mind/body system. After just a couple of sessions which I simply slipped into my daily morning sadhana practise, I felt much, much better.
It's been about a week and so much has changed. The feelings nausea and exhaustion have finally passed and I have calmed down, relaxed deeply enough for the real reason for my stress to emerge.
Today I sat outside whilst the baby slept and I wrote it out. I uncovered some wonderful answers and I have created an autosuggestion inspired by them.
There was a hurdle there I needed to jump. There was a door there I needed to go through and it began with the feelings of being unwell and it ended with the compiling and (now) implementing of a new autosuggestion. What carried me through? What was the working factor that helped me to calmly and peacefully move through this? Connecting consciously to my breath, putting a focus on pranayama in my sadhana each day.
I can roll back my focus on the breath now because that focus has done it's job. I can meditate a little longer or sing or spend a little more time with my asana.
Come back to your breath when you need to. Don't forget you have this amazing, amazing tool that is free and there for you. Remember your breath.