Ever get so stressed out that it feels like your head is spinning? So anxious that your chest tightens up and you feel like you can’t breathe? Do you ever feel anger just welling up inside of you?
Put on the brakes with this simple yet very powerful breathing technique. It will quickly transform those trying moments into a calm and peaceful victory.
It’s called Breathing With Hands Like a Teapot, also known in Kundalini Yoga as Chata Chya Kriya. I first learned about it from the DVD Fat Free Yoga with Ana Brett & Ravi Singh.
Even if you’ve never meditated or practiced conscious breathing before this will work for you. It can be done by any one, any time.
I used to work with the public in a very fast paced environment. I would often take a few minutes in the break room, or even restroom, to practice this technique.
It calms, quiets, cools, centers.
If done before bed it will help secure a good night’s sleep.
It takes my head out of the chaos and brings me back to me.
To begin, sit crossed legged on the floor. If that is not possible, sit anywhere you can comfortably with a straight spine. Keep your elbows touching the base of your ribs and angle your forearms up so hands are roughly 8 inches in front of your mouth.
Make a fist with your left hand, keeping the thumb extended. Wrap your right hand around your left, right thumb also extended. Heels of the hands touching, thumbs side by side. Do you see that space between your thumbs?
Breathe slowly. Make the breath long and light. Inhale through the nose and exhale through puckered lips, trying to direct your breath through the little space between your thumbs. Inhale. Imagine your breath long and light like a thread. Exhale. Send the thread of your breath through the eye of the needle that your thumbs create. Close your eyes and continue to breathe in this way, imagining your breath only passing through that tiny open space between your thumbs.
Using a mantra helps to train and focus our minds. By mentally repeating a word or sound with each inhale and exhale, it keeps our attention focused on our breath and in the present moment. It’s natural for the mind to wander during meditation. A mantra will help bring it back. It also conditions us to be/ feel/ respond a certain way and helps us to get to our “happy place” sooner.
In Kundalini Yoga we use the mantra Sat (rhymes with hut) on the inhale & Nam (rhymes with calm) on the exhale. It means “truth is my identity” and “the truth within you”. If you’re not comfortable with this or if it doesn’t speak to you, I urge you to find words that work for you. You can use “inhale/ exhale“, “in/out“, “i am/ peace“, or “let” on the inhale and “go” on the exhale.
The only thing that we can really control is our own reaction to a situation. When negative feelings are starting to get the better of you, realize that you have a choice. I know that if you unwrap this gift you will keep it in your toolbox forever. Please let me know if you try it.