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Do your practice, especially today!

With an introduction to Bhramari Pranayama

By Manuel Molina de la Torre

Unlike the way our ancestors lived for so many generations, today’s pace of life is extremely fast. Although we are aware of the negative impact this hurried way of living has on the planet, increasing global warming, and we know the effect high levels of stress has on our health, it seems that we usually cannot stop this behavior. As a society, we are somehow forced to run towards the dead end of self-destruction. As individuals, society is constantly pushing us to quickly adapt to a faster world, without having much time to pause, reflect or to look back on our lives. Who hasn’t at one time or another felt like they are living in a “rat race”?

I was having a good conversation with a close friend of mine and he taught me for the first time about the term “VUCA” — have you ever heard about it?

VUCA is an acronym that stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. The notion VUCA was used for the first time by the U.S. Army describing the extreme conditions which resulted from the end of the Cold War. Nowadays VUCA is a trendy term, which is being used in reference to modern society, environment, business, economics and a wide range of organizations. VUCA, in a way, describes very precisely the world we live in.

One of the most unfortunate ways we are witnessing the destruction of nature is the disappearance and even extinction of certain species. There is one insect that is vital to our ecosystem, as it plays a very important role. I am referring to bees.

Albert Einstein once said that if bees disappeared from the surface of the Earth, from that moment onwards human beings would only have four years of life left. At first, it may seem that there is not much connection between humans and bees, but think for a moment about the main function of bees in nature: they are essential for pollination. Without pollination there would be no more plants, which means no more food.

A wake up call

In today’s fast world, we tend to forget about the importance of taking good care of ourselves. Often we simply procrastinate, ignoring this responsibility to ourselves. It’s common to get caught up with the upheavals of life until we get a strong sign that often comes in the form of illness, accident, etc. It is like a “wake up call”, a demand from our own body to see reality more clearly. A call to stop for a moment and to turn our attention inwards. . . to breathe. That is what our organism is requiring. There is nothing (and there is so much!) extraordinary about this; it is simply the wisdom of Mother Nature in action. Sometimes the problem is that having that “waking up call” can be painful, and in some cases we could have avoided going through that pain, if we have had paid more attention to our life, if we had been more connected to our inner wisdom and had the opportunity to listen to our ourselves.

But the question is: How do we connect with that innate wisdom?

There are many ways we can connect with our innate intuitive wisdom, and perhaps the main one is getting in contact with nature – the sea, the mountains, the woods, a river. Or, if you are not surrounded by nature, spending sometime in the park can be enough. It is so easy to feel at ease when we are in nature and there is so much we can learn about it. Great are the benefits of taking a moment for ourselves every day and getting outside to breathe some fresh air.

Another way to enhance our connection to our inner world is having a daily practice like meditation, asana or pranayama. Since practice is always about creating a space where we can connect with ourselves, were we can learn about ourselves.

Bhramari Pranayama or the humming bee breath

In this post I would like to introduce a very simple, yet calming Pranayama technique called Bhramari. This practice is also known as the female humming bee breath. Traditionally, it is known to clam the mind and to help with insomnia, which makes it a perfect practice to do at the end of the day, before bedtime. This is one of the Pranayamas we teach here at Samahita, as it was passed down to our teacher, Paul, from his teacher, Sri O.P. Tiwari.

Bhramari is a nice and soothing practice, which can really help when your mind is disturbed or stressed.

Here are the steps

-Find a comfortable seat, in a quiet and peaceful place, and take a few deep breaths.

-Start by softly inhaling through both nostrils and as you exhale (also through both nostrils), gently create a “Mmmmm…” sound. It is like the final part of the mantra Om, just try to lengthen it. Find the vibration of the sound in the back of your head. Eventually, you should be able to lengthen the exaltation with the sound up to double the time of the inhale, but stay within your comfort zone.

– Complete 10 to 20 rounds, and after you finish sit silently for a moment, noticing the effect of this practice. After a minute or so, take Shavasana.

Thank you for reading and enjoy your practice!

Manuel will be teaching a yoga and creative expression retreat with Emily Alp at Samahita Retreat on Koh Samui, Thailand, June 3rd to 10th , 2017. For more information follow this link

Manuel will be teaching a yoga and holistic healing retreat with Anouk Prop at Samahita Retreat on Koh Samui, Thailand, October 21st to 28th , 2017. For more information follow this link

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Summary
An introduction to Shitali pranayama
Article Name
An introduction to Shitali pranayama
Description
Unlike the way our ancestors lived for so many generations, today’s pace of life is extremely fast. Although we are aware of the negative impact this hurried way of living has on the planet, increasing global warming, and we know the effect high levels of stress has on our health, it seems that we usually cannot stop this behavior. As a society, we are somehow forced to run towards the dead end of self-destruction. As individuals, society is constantly pushing us to quickly adapt to a faster world, without having much time to pause, reflect or to look back on our lives. Who hasn’t at one time or another felt like they are living in a “rat race”?
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