It’s been a while…
And the beat goes on – mantra, Pranayama and meditation.
My practice is now over four years old and the changes it has brought continue to astound me. From sitting hunched on the edge of the bed chanting the Green Tara mantra, I am sitting straight in half lotus on the floor chanting the Green Tara mantra – so I guess not everything has changed!
One of the more random effects of this practice has been the discovery that my body is asymmetric. The right side of me is, in its entirety, bigger than the left. The limbs are longer, the bones are larger and the joints are stiffer. Bit by bit, day by day, I have worked to bring the two sides into greater alignment. I stand in Tadasana, Mountain stance, every day and do some gentle stretching up, and things have evened out somewhat. And when I am sitting, my legs have slowly slowly come down flush with the floor. Some periods of this change have been rather uncomfortable, with a gradual release and realignment of long-held muscles and tendons.
However, the principal element of change in the respect of the sense of symmetry in my body has been the practice of alternate nostril breathing, Nadi Shodhana. There are as many versions of this well-known practice as there are recipes for apple pie; hold your breath, don’t hold your breath, count to this, count to that. The basic ingredients are:
• Thumb and fingers of right hand
Ingredients 1 and 4 are the most variable from person to person – and from day to day – but when they are applied to each other via the mechanics of ingredients 2 and 3, we cook up the magic of Pranayama. Stress is reduced, calm and freshness of mind are increased, oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood are recalibrated in relation to each other. Oh, and – skin is smoothed; I kid you not, it heals the skin from within, bringing freshness, elasticity and softness – all those things promised by creams and lotions. Why spend on those when you can get it for free? There are many videos and articles about alternate nostril breathing so hit YouTube if you want to know more. Alternatively, drop me a message via the contact page to request a dedicated post with details of how I do it.
And, of course, underpinning everything I do in my practice, there is the mantra of Green Tara. It is the root, the foundation, the means and motivation for this late-blooming and unexpected flower that has opened its beautiful petals and released its lovely scent into my life.
Have a great day.
Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha