Today, I introduce the traditional meditation breath as taught by Paramahansa Yogananda, the founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF). As a Kriya member of SRF, I have come to rely on this technique as a true, stabilizing friend in stressful or frenzied times. First, curl the tongue up and back, as if reaching for the back of the throat; touch the tip to the roof of the mouth. Breath in long and deep through your slightly parted lips; create a steady “aah” sound, mimicking the roar of the ocean. To exhale, close your mouth, and, tongue in the same position, release the breath through the nose; configure your throat and sinus openings with the intention of making a long “eee” sound.
As you sit and breathe in this way, your hands rest on your thighs or knees, depending on your seated posture. Typically, one would sit in “easy pose” (Sukhasana) or cross-legged posture; or, if possible, enter into full Lotus position. Alternatively, if your hips do not accommodate a cross-leg pose, you may sit on your heels, with or without a cushion between your bottom and heels. And if your knees resist this position, you can always sit in a chair: Place yourself right at the front edge of the chair, so that your pelvis tips slightly forward, and your spine can stay long and aligned. Make sure that your feet are flat on the ground, parallel to one another.
After you have selected your preferred seated posture, begin the breath, inhaling and exhaling steadily and equally. Your closed eyes gaze intently up to the Third Eye. Breathe with the SRF technique for 1-3 minutes, and then add the visualization that will encourage the circulation of prana through the spine, organs, and pituitary gland (associated with spirituality and the Third Eye). Take your inner eye to the root of the spine, just behind the sex organs: As you inhale, guide the breath up the front cross-section of the spine, all the way to the Third Eye. Then, with your exhale, “move” the flow up and over the crown of the head, and all the way down the spine, returning to the base. Continue to breathe and trace the path of pranic flow up the front of the body, and down the back. Meditate with this technique for up to 33 minutes.
This breath and visualization inherently calms and balances the nervous system. Additionally, if you pay close attention to your physical senses as you move the breath up and down your body, you may be able to detect any energy blockages you may have. For example, if you were to “lose track of” the breath, either visually or kinesthetically, as you move through the heart center, you may be prone to (or experiencing) depression or anxiety. In that case, you could spend some time with the SRF breathing technique, inhaling and exhaling out of that specific area for up to 10 minutes.