Everyone experiences stress from time to time. Letting it get out of control isn’t good for you though! Research suggests that chronic stress can compromise the immune system and in extreme cases, even lead to high blood pressure and greater risk of heart attack. Because of these risks, it’s incredibly important that you regularly practice methods designed to help you release stressful energy.
As a yogi, I use yoga and meditation every day to deal with the effects of anxiety and stressful situations. In my experience, the practice works better than just about anything else when it comes to stress relief. However, if you don’t know how to go about it, getting started can be rather daunting! Physical discomfort can make it really hard to sit still, and the mind itself can race so fast that it seems virtually impossible to focus long enough to experience even a slight degree of mental clarity. Because of this, I find that many yoga practitioners choose to not practice meditation at all or relegate it to a few minutes of brief silence at the end of a class.
Because meditation is so important for stress relief, I’ve formulated a curriculum that will make it easier for you to get started with the practice. Overall, our approach centers around three essential points:
We use preparation to make meditation easier
In PranaVayu Yoga, we use preparation to make it easier to meditate. Every class is formatted to in a way that makes it easier to succeed with the practice. The combination of breathing exercises, movement and concentration practices that we use alternatively calm the nervous system, strengthen and stretch all the areas that are required to maintain correct seated postures and ease us into meditative states by gradually turn our attention inward. The end result is that many students who have never been able to experience peace through meditation find themselves able to do so.
Our approach affects the body and the mind
The meditation techniques that we use provide a very effective way to reduce the physical and mental effects of stress. The fast paced nature of our lifestyle make is so that that many of us continually live on edge and the effects of stress on our society are rampant. Insomnia, reduced resistance to disease, and high-blood pressure can all be exacerbated by heightened levels of stress. The PranaVayu approach to meditation gives us a practical tool to mitigate these affects and can improve overall health and mental well-being in those who practice.
Our methodology is organized for understanding
Meditation doesn’t need to be overly complicated in order to be effective. To that end, our approach is formatted in a way that helps you understand the pre-requisites necessary for a good meditation practice, the methods by which meditative experiences can be achieved, and an overview of the different types of mental states that you might experience while you practice.
All PranaVayu students begin their meditative journey by learning to consciously relax the body. The body scanning techniques that we use to calm the body are referred to as Savayatra (traveling around the corpse). Because these techniques are so effective for stress relief, Savayatra is taught at the end of every PranaVayu class.
Check out the clip below for a fully guided 15 minute savayatra meditation that you can do at home. If you’re really stressed, practice once in the morning and once in the evening daily.