In the background of my coming to terms with incorporating this change in drinking behavior, I have been working on some upgrades to our home. I have painted half the house and have been rearranging furniture and spaces and have claimed a small room in the middle of everything as my study. It is still a work in progress, but you can see the direction it is taking.
I have wanted to incorporate some basic Alexander Technique into my morning routine and have been waking half an hour early every weekday morning this semester (since January 3rd) so that I can incorporate a morning ritual or practice. So far, I have done little with this time, but I have kept at the waking up part. It’s a little overwhelming as a beginner.
I have only begin to delve into yoga, breathing and meditation resources, but I purchased Praana Praanee Praanayam in my efforts to explore the power of breath. Independently of a practice, I have felt the difference in myself when I catch the tightness in my chest and I correct my breathing from a shallow place of discomfort and fear to my diaphragm. Sometimes, I’ll allow a sigh. It relaxes me and I can then reframe the situation.
I know that healing breath awaits me. Exploring this further to has lead me to this TEDTalk. I think I am on to something.
After a month of missing my Saturday morning yoga due to travel or schedule conflicts I was able to make it to The Park to practice and set aside the hour afterwards to attend the Mental Fitness Happiness Wellness Series conducted by Art of Living. They’re an International organization and their goal is to make people smile. The teacher was a lovely woman and a gifted teacher. I wish I knew the name of the first breath technique she shared, but it involved very forceful breathing in and out to expand one’s lung capacity.
We only use 30% of our lung capacity and these exercises are meant to help eliminate toxins stored in stale breath. I don’t know about the science, but it felt wonderful. I could feel the tingle of the energy moving. I knew instantly that this was meant to be part of my morning routine. 4 sets of twenty takes about 5 minutes. What a perfect exercise to start my mornings – I don’t need any technology or step sheets. Just me and my breath.
It was suggested that we clear our noses before this exercise. I would recommend this as well. You start seated with elbows bent and arms close to the sides of your chest with palms facing forward making a soft fist. Get regular breath and then inhale deeply through your nose and push your arms straight up as high as they will go and open fingers, exhale (again, through your nose) and bring arms down and close fists on the exhale. Repeat rapidly for four sets of twenty. This breath should be loud and forceful.
I felt a tingle of new energy at the conclusion. It was nice. I can easily start my morning in this manner. Our teacher also taught us a victory breath. I already looked and it is a different one from the Kriya for Victory in the teachings of Yogi Bhajan. I have been trying to find it online as well.
It involves making an ocean-like sound at the back of your throat. I think this video is similar. It is very calming and suggested before bed. I will definitely try this because afterwards at the session, we sat in silent meditation for seventeen minutes and it felt like two. I struggle a great deal with stillness so this was growth.
I have subscribed to the YouTube channel – there’s an overwhelming amount of free content there. I feel like I hit the mother-lode. This audio meditation for transforming emotions is what I found that I believe I will begin a longer practice with. It’s simple and easy to follow. I don’t think I want to do something different each time…I want to concentrate on the process and correct posturing and work on staying present and then expand later. My time is very limited right now, so simple will be best.
One more tip before I go – The Art of Living teacher (I will have to get her name when I am able to attend again in two weeks) also recommended their free app. It’s called Sattva and there are oodles of free meditations and they are served up in a social community if that sort of thing inspires you. I just love that it’s in the palm of my hand and I am not tempted to spend time searching for resources and getting caught down that rabbit hole when I could be actually meditating or writing or living.
Today is day #27 without booze and I think I am doing just fine. A lot of my anxiety has quelled and I do not lose my temper on a whim and I simply feel more balanced and calm. My fingers are not retaining water and all stubbly sausages and my skin seems to have more elasticity and shine.
Please let me know if you have tried any similar techniques! Namaste