Tag: Yoga (page 1 of 4)

Nadi Shodhana – Alternate Nostril Breath

The Holidays can be a stressful time, and though we’re busy and we might be tempted to drop our meditation practice, we need it in hectic times more than ever!

Although this practice is in fact a “pranayama” (breathing exercise), I see it as a meditative practice as well, since a very basic practice involves observing our breath.

Nadi Shodhana, or “alternate nostril breathing”, is a great practice to build upon. You can start with simply breathing in one nostril and out the other for a few seconds, aiming to have the same length of the in and out breaths. I feel like 4 seconds is a great “balanced” start. You can lengthen as you build confidence and expand your lung capacity (i.e. as you learn to breathe with all your muscles, intercostals and
diaphragm). If you do not have a medical condition contraindicating breath retention (e.g. pregnancy, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, heart conditions, chronic anxiety, etc.), you can certainly grow this practice by adding short or equal length breath retentions between sides (e.g. inhale, hold, exhale on the other side, inhale on this new side, hold, exhale on the other side).

Nadi Shodhana purifies the blood and respiratory system by increasing the oxygen intake and circulation. This pranayama is also great to relieve headaches, improve concentration and help balance the nervous system.

So when you need to “take a breather”, this is a great one to sneak off and practice, even if it’s just 1 minute, hiding out in the bathroom during an eventful family dinner… 😉

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Teachers ARE Students

I’m always “getting into something”, always exploring a new topic, discipline or art. Currently, I’m teaching myself how to make kombucha and I’m learning about tea (camellia sinensis). I’m also reading on and practising on reiki in different ways. I’m often revisiting dance and my relationship to it. This month, I’ve committed to pursue yoga teacher training this upcoming winter.

In choosing hatha yoga teacher training (HYTT), I’ve decided that my journey as a student was as important as ‘learning to teach’.  I’m in fact reiterating that I am but a dedicated student of yoga, and perhaps, I’ll share this love with others.

If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.
– Yogi Bhajan

The wisdom in this, is that it keeps you sharp; to teach is in large part what keeps you learning, and as long as you’re curious, you’re full of vitality.

You never “arrive” as a teacher. That is not to say you aren’t “competent” or that you should wait until you reach an illusory comfort level before you teach something. But if you think you have “arrived”, you’ve probably missed the point altogether.

A teacher is also a student. We are here to learn! Teachers ARE students of their craft or discipline, but they can also learn FROM their students.

Empty your teacup

In certain phases or areas in our lives, we are categorized as students, and in others, as teachers. Although this distinction may appear clear, it is only one of mindset.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
Bruce Lee

The important thing to remember is that you’re meant to always be learning, no matter the title or your formal role. You may share knowledge and experience with others, and do so happily and confidently, as we all have great wisdom inside us. But remember to keep that thirst, that curiosity and to empty your cup of tea, once in a while, so you may fill it anew.

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