Balancing Mind and Body: The Power of Meditation and Pranayama



Meditation has been a part of my life since I was a child, even before I formally started practicing it during yoga classes. The deep connection I felt with nature allowed me to naturally engage in moments of stillness and mindfulness. The woods became my sanctuary, a place where I could run, jump, and explore, ultimately leading me to moments of quiet reflection and meditation.

As an adult, I’ve continued to meditate, although not as regularly as I’d like due to the demands of daily life. However, my recent completion of the ZivaOnline program has rekindled my meditation practice, and I’ve wholeheartedly embraced the 3 M’s: Mindfulness, Meditation, and Manifesting. These practices have helped me release stress, activate my body’s natural restorative mechanisms, and tap into my creative side. The positive impact on my sleep, overall well-being, and creativity has been remarkable, making meditation an essential part of my daily routine.

Emily Fletcher’s Ziva Technique and her engaging teaching style have played a significant role in my meditation journey, and I’m excited to continue reaping the benefits of this practice. It’s clear that meditation has become an integral part of my life, enhancing my health, creativity, and sense of inner calm.

Upon completing the ZivaOnline program, an opportunity presented itself: a Pranayama teacher training class was being offered at my local yoga studio, and the teacher was none other than Dr. Sundar Balasubramanian, affectionately known as Dr. Sundar. As a Cell Biology researcher and a pioneer in the field of Yoga Biology research, he has made significant strides in combining the study of Pranayama with salivary stimulation.

Dr. Sundar’s research uncovered a fascinating link between Yogic breathing (pranayama) and salivary secretions, shedding light on how this practice contributes to overall health. During the weekend training, we delved into various pranayama techniques while also exploring the nuances of saliva production associated with each practice. Dr. Sundar shared the impressive findings of his research, which emphasized the health benefits of Pranayama in promoting salivary secretions.

For those interested in learning more about Dr. Sundar’s research and its implications, I encourage you to visit his website, where you’ll find a wealth of information on this fascinating intersection of science and yoga.

After attending Dr. Sundar’s workshop, I incorporated a brief pranayama practice into my daily routine, which complements the meditation technique I learned from Ziva. I decided to set my alarm 20 minutes earlier each morning, allowing me some dedicated time for these practices.

My morning ritual begins as I sit up in bed, ensuring my back is well-supported and my head remains free. I initiate the practice by inhaling and then softly exhaling the sound of “Om.” Since my husband is usually asleep beside me in the morning, I silently repeat “Om” during this part of the practice. However, when I practice in the evening before dinner, I let the “Om” ride on my exhale, whispering it quietly. I repeat this process approximately eight times, keeping count by moving my thumb across my fingers. For those who might not be comfortable with “Om,” an alternative is to hum on the exhale. Following this, I seamlessly transition into Alternate Nostril breathing.

The Alternate Nostril breathing technique, also known as Nadi Shodhana, is a calming and balancing pranayama exercise. Here’s how you can practice it:

  1. Begin by sitting comfortably with your back straight and shoulders relaxed.
  2. Use your right hand for this practice. Fold your index and middle fingers in towards your palm, leaving your thumb, ring finger, and pinkie extended.
  3. Gently close your right nostril with your right thumb.
  4. Inhale slowly and deeply through your left nostril, counting to 2 as you breathe in.
  5. After the inhalation, use your right thumb to close both nostrils completely, along with your pinkie and ring finger. Hold your breath for the count of 8.
  6. Release your right nostril while keeping your left nostril closed.
  7. Exhale slowly and completely through your right nostril, counting to 4 as you breathe out.
  8. Now, inhale through your right nostril for the count of 2.
  9. Again, close both nostrils using your right thumb, pinkie, and ring finger. Hold your breath for 8 counts.
  10. Release your left nostril while keeping your right nostril closed.
  11. Exhale gently and fully through your left nostril for a count of 4.
  12. Inhale through your left nostril for 2 counts.
  13. Close both nostrils and hold for 8 counts.
  14. Release your right nostril while keeping your left nostril closed.
  15. Exhale through your right nostril for 4 counts.
  16. Inhale through your right nostril for 2 counts.
  17. Close both nostrils and hold for 8 counts.
  18. Release your left nostril while keeping your right nostril closed.
  19. Exhale through your left nostril for 4 counts.
  20. Continue this pattern for several rounds, gradually increasing the duration of each count as you become more comfortable with the practice.
  21. Aim to complete at least 5 to 10 rounds of this alternate nostril breathing.
  22. Finish the practice when you feel a beautiful sense of calm and balance.

Alternate Nostril breathing is an excellent way to balance the energies in your body, calm your mind, and reduce stress. It can be done at any time during the day when you need to find a sense of inner peace and relaxation.

Alternate nostril breathing is indeed a powerful practice for balancing the mind and body. The analogy of going up and down a mountain is a great way to visualize its effects. It’s like a gentle and rhythmic journey that harmonizes the two sides of our brain and brings about a sense of inner equilibrium.

Adding a mantra to the practice can enhance its effectiveness even further. Mantras serve as focal points, redirecting our attention away from distracting thoughts and into a state of mindfulness. Whether it’s a traditional mantra like “Om Namah Shivaya” or a personal affirmation like “I am strong,” the choice of mantra is deeply personal, and it’s all about what resonates with you.

During alternate nostril breathing, thoughts may naturally arise, but the practice encourages us to acknowledge them without attachment and let them pass like clouds in the sky. This helps cultivate a sense of mental clarity and inner calm, leading to a more balanced and centered state of being.

At this point in my practice, my Ziva training kicks in, and I begin the 3 M’s – Mindfulness, Meditation, and Manifesting.  Learn more at ZivaOnline!  I am so thankful for my pranayama and meditation practice!  Did I mention that I am sleeping like a baby and have loads more energy?  I feel great!

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Disclaimer: The information provided is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for medical guidance and assistance tailored to your specific needs.

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