During my Marin visit last spring I realized that Buddhism isn’t for me and that my path is eclectic and leans a lot into New Age/New Thought. Ever since then synchronicity has been afoot. I found a whole new array of bloggers whose paths are a lot like mine and new practices and ideas keep finding me.
At a time when the unwinding head stuff has seriously interfered with my practices and exercises (all that not sleeping alternating with migraines…) suddenly lots of challenges have popped up that just ask me to spend 10-15 min./day for limited periods of time and I’ve found that perfect in these circumstances. The latest one came from a heads up in The Daily Love about a Gabrielle Bernstein video on YouTube in which she explains a short meditation called the Ego Eradicator. The video is: A Meditation to Bust Through Your Blocks.
It’s just three minutes of a mudra while doing breath of fire, followed by three minutes of quiet meditation (I’ve just been using the Buddhist of practice of breathe in, “I calm the body”, breathe out, “I smile”). It instantly felt like my next step after completing the Deva Premal meditation series. Having loved the Deva Premal chants I decided that I wanted to add the chant to destroy obstacles — seemed like the perfect pairing with a meditation to bust blocks. (see notes below from yoga teacher me for suggestions regarding this practice–if you don’t practice pranayama and/or haven’t done breath of fire I highly recommend that you follow them)
One of the things I learned from the meditation series is that the tradition of chanting 108 times relates to the 108 major nadis in the body. Nadis are the energy channels through which prana flows. Chanting 108 times balances the body. It helps attune you to the vibration of that particular mantra. All the tracks on Deva’s Mantras for Precarious Times have a mantra chanted 108 times and it includes Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha, the chant to Ganesha, destroyer of obstacles.
Gabby’s video suggests that you do the ego eradicator for 40 days and I’ve committed to that. I’m going to try to add Om Gum… each time but I’m giving myself permission to do just the three minutes of breath of fire with a quiet time. I’ve done three days now of the three pieces, which takes a little less than 15 minutes and it feels GREAT!
You can also leave comments about your Sunday prayer, chant, meditation practice here for Collective Prayer Sundays.
Practice suggestions: Most of my students who haven’t practiced pranayama find breath of fire challenging and if they do too much they experience dizziness/lightheadedness and discomfort. I generally start them off with Bellows Breath, which is basically breath of fire slowed down. Take a big inhale while pushing the abdomen out and then a big exhale while squeezing the abs in to release all air. It sounds a bit like fire-place bellows. It helps to practice the motion of pressing the abdomen out with the inhale and sucking it in on the exhale slowly. While that’s actually the natural way to breathe, in this country we usually reverse that pattern so this is a struggle for many people. Practice the pattern until it feels easy before trying to speed it up to breath of fire, which Gabby demonstrates on the video.
Once you have the abs motion I suggest you try 10 breaths of fire and stop to see how you feel. If that’s no problem, try 20. Do 20 for a few days, then try 40. When you get to a minute start going up by 30 second increments every few days till you can do three minutes. Then add the arms-in-the-air mudra. It is seriously not a great idea to start off trying to do three minutes of breath of fire. Breath of fire is not recommended for people with high blood pressure, heart disease or risk of strokes — talk to your doctor before trying this.