• Michele Olson

Down Dog, Chin Press Breath & Om Namah Shivaya Meditation

Asana Practice (Yoga Posture)

Down Dog

  • Beginning on all fours, place your hands with fingers spread apart at the top of the mat, making sure all four corners of the palms are pressed into the mat.

  • Tucking your toes under, exhale and straighten your legs. Lift the tailbone up to the sky.

  • If your heels do not touch the floor, you may bend your knees slightly for tight hamstrings.

  • Hold from 5 – 10 full breaths.













Benefits

  • Aligns the spinal column.

  • Releases tension in the shoulders.

  • Stretches and lengthens the hamstrings.

  • Increases flexibility in the hamstrings and Achilles tendons.

  • Strengthens the arms and back.


Pranayama Practice (Yoga Breathing)

Chin Press Breath

  • Sit comfortably with your spine straight. Take a deep breath to lengthen the spine.

  • Exhale. Inhale through the nose and count to 6.

  • Lift the sternum and press your chin into your chest. Hold your breath for a count of 6.

  • Lift your chin away from your chest and exhale through your nose for a count of 6.

  • Repeat as many times as you like.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the back of the neck.

  • Stimulates the thyroid.

  • Promotes inner peace.

  • Calms the mind.

  • Brings you back to the present moment.

  • Helps to reduce stress.


Dhyana Practice (Meditation)

Om Namah Shivaya


The Om Namah Shivaya mantra or chant consists of six syllables - om, na, mah, shi, vaa, ya. When chanted properly, each syllable activates certain energy centers within our bodies as we meditate upon the energy of Lord Shiva. Shiva is often referred to as the part of the Hindu trinity which has dominion over death and destruction. Shiva is also considered the greatest of the yogis, the lord of meditation, and the lord of all that is mystic and mysterious in hindu practices. Legend has it that the holy river Ganges (or Ganga) is in fact a representation of Lord Shiva's long hair.


Some texts refer to the five letters as the forms of Shiva - Na-gendra (one who wears a garland of snakes), Ma-ndakini Salila (one who is bathed by the water of the Ganges), Shi (the supreme Lord), Va-shishta (one who is praised by the sages like Vashishta), and Ya-ksha (one who takes the form of Yaksha).


Om or Aum is the pranava or seed mantra of all mantras. The two syllables na- and mah- can be translated as "I humbly bow to you". The three syllables shi-vaa-ya invoke Lord Shiva and all his energies to bless us and lead us to the highest state of peace and meditation. The mantra should ideally be chanted twice a day (morning and evening) for 108 times each. The two words, namah and shivaya, are also referred to as the panchakshara (five letter) chant. It is said that those who chant these five holy letters while meditating on Lord Shiva will be blessed by visions of Shiva - the Lord of the yogis.


Benefits:

  • Calms your entire being.

  • Slows the mind.

  • Promotes peace and serenity.


Mantra (Positive Affirmation)

When you are feeling stressed at any time during the day, try repeating a mantra, or positive affirmation. Repeating a mantra will allow you to feel peaceful and obtain a calm mind.


“You may not think that the world needs you, but it does. For you are unique, like no one that has ever been before, or may come after. No one can speak with your voice, say your piece, smile your smile or shine your light. No one can take your place, for it is yours alone to fill. If you are not there to shine your light, who knows how many travelers will lose their way as they try to pass by your empty place in the darkness.” ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein


  • Sit comfortably and think about this quote for a moment.

  • Close your eyes.

  • Focus on the breath.

  • On your inhalation repeat:

I shine my light.

  • On your exhalation repeat:

To brighten the darkness.

  • Continue to focus on the breath while repeating your mantra for several minutes.

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