Where to start your journey on spiritual practices?

#1 Breathing Practices

Spirituality may mean different things to different people. Some may have reached an opinion and concluded that that is the truth or end.  They would like to defend it or hold on to it. Some may be wandering from one practice to another, believing in something to another, or following one guru to another, and so on. This is in fact not a bad thing, because you are searching and there is a yearning. Anyone who has tried to lose their weight will know that there are a million diet fads and methods. You are spoilt for options and it’s difficult to choose. If you are in this search and want to follow a practice in 2023, why don’t you start with simple breathing practices?  

If you have some exposure to eastern spiritual practices, especially Sanatana Dharma, you would have come across the importance of breathing practices. You may ask why breathing? Because the moment it cease you no longer exist. It is “that” important. But how many of us mind of our breathing. That is how conscious are we about this process. It happens naturally all the time. In times of stress or anxiety, you may feel like there is a heavy rock on your chest. You may have struggled to breath. Or you may have hyperventilated. Other than those instances we are rarely conscious of our breath.

By the above example you might have realized how connected our breath is to our thoughts, emotions that controls our Manas or Mind. If you go to any yoga or stretching classes, they will ask you to stretch your muscles when you exhale, not when you inhale. Why so? Breathing is connected to your body and muscular & neural systems. Imagine if you can leverage this link to your advantage? To improve your manas, buddhi, and body. 

That is where breathing practices comes to play. There are few simple practices that you can start with, 

  1.  Simply observing your breath, each inhalation and exhalation
  2.  Focusing your mind in between the eyebrows as you breath consciously.
  3. Mentally repeating a mantra with each inhalation and exhalation. Isha kriya is such a practice and it is easy to practice for anyone. 

Try this for a week or more. Ideally don’t expect observable improvements unless you have practiced between 40-48 days continuously. Try to practice at the same time and place. You will observe few improvements in your system like, 

  • Better control over emotions
  • More being in the moment situations or self-awareness
  • Reduction in chronic joint or muscle pains
  • Improvement in hormonal balance and related issues

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