What we’re going to do is start with our GAURANGA meditation. I think everybody knows it’s a deep breathing meditation. And breathing is very important. Very few people even consider the idea: am I breathing correctly or not? I mean we just breathe. But in most cases it’s not as good as it could be.
We are following these systems of yoga, specifically bhakti-yoga. But included in all these yoga teachings are many, many things that we should do to actually make our life correct. And it includes breathing.
So we are going to do a little test now just to see how we do. I want everybody to put one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. I want you to sit erect in your seat. Breathe in three times the way you usually do, don’t change anything. Ok, here we go.
Now here is the question. Which hand was moving the most? The upper hand or the lower hand? Some people would say the upper hand, some people would say the lower hand. But it should be the lower hand. The upper hand may move a little bit. The lower hand should be moving the most.
Ok, the second little test. I want everybody to put their hands together so the tips of the middle fingers barely touching. Now put your hands on your stomach. And once again take your three breaths as you always do, don’t change it. Begin.
All right. Now, when you breathe in, your fingers should separate. When you exhale, they should come back together; there should be this action. This is abdominal breathing, breathing into the abdomen.
There are many benefits here. All of our major organs are located in this area: the liver, the spleen, the stomach, the intestines, the heart, and on, and on. So they need room. They need room to operate. But oftentimes when we breathe shallow, when we are all hunched over and in stress and tension, they are cramped up like this. But when you breathe correctly, it expands that abdominal cavity every time you inhale. It’s designed to be like that. When you inhale correctly like I’ve described, each organ will get a gentle massage every time you breathe. Also very important: more oxygen will go to the blood, therefore more oxygen will go to the brain, you will think more clearly, etc.
Also when you breathe shallow and fast, it excites the mind. When you’re very afraid, very stressed, you breathe like that – very quickly, very shallow, don’t you? Sometimes you even say, “I can’t catch my breath!” It is not good.
When we breathe correctly, it’s very calming for the mind, very soothing, everything becomes more relaxed. So you can counteract a lot of stress just by breathing.
Most of our life is spent in the state of basic unconsciousness. We’re just unconscious; we just walk around, do this and do that. That’s not good. So in our yoga teachings we learn to become conscious of everything.
So now, incorporating all of this into our GAURANGA deep breathing meditation, we can practice. We’re just going to use the mantra GAURANGA on this meditation, dividing GAURANGA into four syllables: GAU-RA-ANG-GA.
To begin, we’re going to take a big breath and relax. Again, relaxation is very important but most people never relax. We might even say, “Gee, I don’t have time to relax. I don’t even know how to relax.” If we decide to relax, many times we use alcohol, drugs, something like this. Not good.
So in the beginning we want to take a big breath and let it out. Relax the face, there’s so much tension in our face. Just look at people in general: so much tension. So consciously relax the face, especially the forehead. That’s why we get wrinkles very early in life. Then we spend the rest of our life trying to get rid of them. So relax the face.
Another area is the neck. We even get tension headaches coming from the neck. So relax the neck. The same is true with the shoulders and the chest. There’s even a saying, “Hey, don’t be so uptight.” We go, “I’m not uptight!” and walk around like this… Relax.
So, as I say, to help us do that, we’re going to take a big breath and let it out. In yoga breathing when you breathe in and when you breathe out, let it echo in the throat, close the throat a little bit and let your breath reverberate with a wavelike sound. In this way we can control the breath; this warms the breath which warms the blood, which is all good.
A lot to think about, huh? But that’s what we’re supposed to do. Consciousness, remember?
All right, now all you have to do is to follow my guidance. Meditate on the sound.