by Jodh Kaur
Stress can manifest in many ways from anxiously sitting in traffic knowing you will be late to an appointment, to having an argument, to paying bills, to caring for a family member or friend who is ill. These stressful events impact your gut beyond feeling sick to your stomach, nauseous or having diarrhea.
Stress hinders the nervous system, specifically the vagus nerve which is the main highway for communication between the brain and the gut. In addition, this nerve communicates with the diaphragm, helps decrease inflammation in the body, works to lower blood pressure and heart rate and helps us manage and recover from stressful and frightening events. When this crucial nerve is inhibited by stress it impacts what is happening in the gut, triggering inflammation and encouraging the growth of unfavorable bacteria which disrupts the balance of the microbiome. Conversely, stress can work in the reverse where the microbes in the gut interfere with signals to the brain creating a prolonged emotional response to the stressful event.
The good news is we have a tool that directly impacts this stress response: the breath, specifically yogic breath, and as Savitree recently wrote, your breath is your #1 ally. It is an important yet simple, natural and readily available tool that benefits us in so many ways. For example, when we engage in proper yogic breathing, we stimulate the vagus nerve which calms and soothes the nervous system and improves digestive functioning. In Kundalini Yoga, we regularly practice Breath of Fire which rapidly stimulates the vagus nerve. This powerful breath helps strengthen the nervous system, calm the mind and improve mental focus and digestion with only a few minutes of practice.
The Energizer Series uses Breath of Fire in a series of 3 exercises that can be completed in just 3 minutes. Practice this daily for 40 days to strengthen your navel point (home to digestion and your personal power), to connect powerfully into your breath, to stimulate your vagus nerve and develop a calm and focused mind.
Start today, and in 40 days, let us know how you feel. Three minutes a day is a wonderful way to create a daily practice which will help you build resilience and digest your life experiences in real time.
by Yogi Bhajan
Oh my purity, purify me in consciousness.
Oh my capacity, give my mind its purest form to recognize and serve others.
Oh my values, be gracious to all.
Oh my courage, may I be full of compassion.
Oh my intelligence, let me be kind to all.
by Jodh Kaur
Does it ever get easier to have the difficult conversations? To voice an unpopular opinion? To ask for your needs to be met? Is it really possible to become comfortable with being uncomfortable?
Consider a yoga pose that challenges you. Notice how you feel when you practice it. Notice the thoughts that run through your mind as you hold the posture. Are you gritting your teeth just trying to get through it or can you soften and surrender into it knowing this is a moment in time and the discomfort will pass? It’s wonderful to be in the bliss of our practice, loving every movement and mantra but it’s also wonderful to feel the challenge of a less than favorite posture or exercise, to breathe through it. To break through. To grow.
It’s easy to do nothing.
It’s also easy to do the wrong thing.
Taking right action is the challenge.
This is growth. This is success.
Maybe it gets easier. Maybe it doesn’t.
Do you want easy or do you want growth?
by Yogi Bhajan, August 21, 1985
Lord God: Give me the compassion, the kindness, the virtues, so I can share with others my own self. Give me the inner self and give me the depth.Give me the sacredness or the death. Let me live in peace, harmony and tranquility with all that is, that was, and that shall be. May Thy grace exalt me to forever be worthy of Thyself. Give me the power to serve. Give me the power to surrender to Your will. Give me the power to live in the ecstasy of consciousness to obey Thee. May this day be a beautiful day in my life and may tomorrow be the best of it. Sat Nam.
by Jodh Kaur
When your stomach is churning, your hands are shaking and you feel paralized by anxiety or uncertainty…
Be brave, Dear Warrior. You've got this.
by Jodh Kaur
Spring offers daily reminders to be mindful.
Everyday there is a change - new bird songs, fresh buds on trees and bushes, leaves growing larger and greener, flowering trees budding, blossoming, then carpeting the earth with their flowers, tulips and daffodils emerging and opening up to the sun.
Take a moment to step outside, take 3-5 long deep breaths as you engage all 5 of your senses. Smile. This is yoga.
by Jodh Kaur
Kundalini Yoga Quotes:
“I’d never felt anything like it; it was just an opening of energy and a feeling of such liberation.” -Marika Bethel, owner, Glowing House