I often get asked for advice on home practice; how to do it, what to do, how often, where.
I'll send a few simple kriya ideas, and after a few weeks in, gently enquire how they're getting on;
"Not enough time"
"Too difficult on my own. So much easier in class."
"Couldn't get out of bed"
Developing a consistent, regular discipline of yoga practice is not something we have been brought up to do. We'll get up, clean our teeth, shower and re-fuel our body with breakfast. And yet, 20 minutes of yoga and meditation to prepare our body and mind for the day, is a routine deemed unessential.
I admit that waking up a little bit earlier so your body and mind can be cleansed, nurtured and polished is extremely difficult at first. Particularly during the cold, dark winter months.
And so, here's my plan.
I want you to treat your body to a 5 minute Breath of Fire, rather like a hot, exhilarating wake-up shower. And, even better, you don't have to get out of bed to do it. Just wake-up. Sit up straight like a Buddha, and you can even plump up your pillows to help you.
Five, ten minutes of Breath of Fire is all you need......it will cleanse your lungs and make them strong. You will then be breathing deeply all day, which is what we should strive to achieve for youth, vitality and good health. No shallow breathing please. If you can do this every day, your blood will be purified and you will have oxygen flowing like a mountain river in your bloodstream all day. And you will feel AMAZING!
How to do Breath of Fire
Sit like a yogi, interlace your fingers in your lap.
Breath of fire is simply a rapid and powerful breath through the nose.
Keep your mouth closed, and breathe rapidly through the nose, making the in-breath and out-breath about equal.
On each exhalation, pull your navel point in toward the back of your spine. On each inhalation, release it. Don't pause in between. This should be an easy, relaxed breath, nothing forced. The muscles dance in rhythm and you stay energised rather than becoming tired.
Start out slowly as you learn this technique until you get used to the rhythm and can easily coordinate the breath with the movement of your navel point. Then pick up speed until you are breathing about 120 to 180 times per minute.
The best way to learn this technique is to LISTEN to your breath. Truely listen to the sound of the inhale and exhale. Hear how it is even, steady and controlled.
As your breath gently picks up speed, the sound of the breath becomes like the hissing of a steam train grinding its way up hill.
I like to do this breath with mantra, and one of my favourites is Sat Nam Sat Nam Ji, Wahe Guru Wahe Guru Ji
Listen to Jagroop Kaur's version on her album Shakti
May Breath of Fire join your morning routine, and become as natural as sleeping and eating.
Enjoy the dance of every cell with the music of your breath, and then go out and set the world on fire!