This workshop, guided by Amit Bhatia, a multi-faceted life-coach and energy-healer, was indeed a valuable hands-on, experiential learning opportunity.
Breath is what brings Prana, life-force energy to the body. No breath, no life. Poor, shallow breath means life devoid of full potential. We learned how vital it is to have a healthy conscious relationship with our breath.
If there is a discomfort anywhere in the body, don’t resist it. let your breath meet this discomfort, and allow it to dissolve in the breath. Let breath take care of all discomfort, the breath is the source of all life-force energy and it can dissolve any imbalances in the body. It can heal, it can nurture, it can nourish. Likewise, meet any fear or negative thoughts with breath. It will bring calm and balance.
We also learned how important it is to check and observe the quality of our breath along the day and see how it changes from when we wake up in the morning, when we eat, when we walk, when we talk to someone we don’t like or someone we love, when we enter our workplace or a crowded market place, and when we come home, etc… and how when we take a deep inhale and a deep exhale it brings balance and changes the way we respond to difficult situations.
Amit also guided us through an exercise of tapping and massaging the head, face, ears, neck, and jaws and how this enhanced the quality of the breath. Another exercise was the Bhramari Pranayama, also known as Humming Bee Breath, equal count inhale and exhale, humming away the exhale.
Throughout the four sessions, Amit guided us through various meditative experimentations to observe how, for instance, the nature of our posture and the nature of our thoughts determine the quality of our breath. By taking care of our thoughts, the quality of our breath automatically improves. When we rectify our postures, our breath becomes wider and deeper.
Our relationship to life and how we see it has a direct impact on the quality of our breath.
On the second day, we experimented with walking meditations, implementing different patterns of synchronising the inhale and the exhale with left and right steps, and we observed the impact of each pattern on the quality of our breath.
The “Hong Sau” chant meditation was a demonstration of how we connect the mind with breath, matching each syllabus, respectively, with the natural inhale and exhale, and focusing on the sense of breath in the tip of the nostrils. This brings the mind to the present moment and that’s when all the tension and stress disappear. The beauty of this meditation is that you can do it any time of the day with no precondition, just like the walking meditation.
When we are done with these practices, we come out refreshed, and we are ready to respond to whatever comes in our way with peace and calm. The deepest spiritual practices are the simplest, they don’t require any effort or anything technical; it’s just simply being present in the moment and detached from whatever arises.
The Anulom Vilom pranayama, or the alternate nostril, equal breathing, is the most common breathing exercise. it is simple, yet profoundly beneficial. It is done by using the Vishnu hand Mudra to alternately blocking one nostril and breathing through the other, resulting in the balancing of the nadis, the energy-channels where life energy flows.
On the third day we started with the standing meditation, where we envisioned roots extending from the feet and growing deeper and deeper through the earth, all the way to the core, fully connecting the body with the earth, where our body and everything around us came from. We envisioned a pink healing light coming up from the core, through the roots, into the soles of the feet and slowly and gradually filling the body up and removing all what is out of balance, and healing what needs to be healed, all the way up to, and out of the crown, flowing and covering the body with the healing and protective pink light.
We also did the energizing, Chandra Bhedana, single nostril breathing technique: equal, inhale from the right nostril, and exhale from the left nostril.
The cooling breath, Sitali Pranayam is done by inhaling through curled around tongue, and exhaling through the nose. It also helps with digestion. We get the same benefits from the Sitkari Pranayama, which is done by Inhaling through clenched teeth and exhaling through the nose, plus its beautifying effect.
The victory, Ujjayi Pranayama, is done by inhaling and exhaling through the nose, focusing on the pit of the throat. This breathing technique is excellent for the thyroids.
Another important topic is the Mudras – the energy seals or lock seals. They create new channels for the flow of energy. They could be done with the body or with the fingers. A shoulder stand is a body mudra that creates a new upward energy-flow. Palm mudras are more familiar, and among them, the Namaste Mudra is the most familiar. The Buddha, or Jnana Mudra comes next.
Our bodies consist of the same five basic elements of nature: Space, Wind, Fire, Water, Earth.
While these elements are in balance out in nature, they could be unbalanced inside us, which causes illnesses. Through implementing the right mudra we can bring balance back.
Each finger of the hand represents an element. The thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and little finger represents fire, wind, space, earth and water respectively. By joining the thumb/fire to any other finger you balance the specific element represented by that finger.
There are more than a hundred mudras. one of the most common ones is the Jnana, or knowledge Mudra, it promotes clarity and focus, and is done by joining the thumb to index finger/wind. Pushan Mudra is very helpful for digestion and is done by joining both the middle and ring finger to the thumb. A master mudra is the Prana Mudra. joining both the ring and little fingers to the thumb. It increases the flow of life energy and circulation. Shoonya Vayu mudra reduces diseases in general and is done by putting the thumb over both bent index and middle fingers.
The practices and meditations were always infused with positive affirmations that lift the spirit and promote self love and acceptance, and the acceptance of others, with no judgment, and with compassion. We observed how these positive compassionate affirmations improved the quality of our breath. Some expressions that stood out are:
- Welcome your breath as if you are welcoming your best friend. Welcome your breath as if you are welcoming your wise teacher.
- When we direct our breath to the different parts of our body we are energising them. Where attention goes life energy flows.
- By experiencing different new practices or habits, the brain fires new neuropaths, which leads to immense healing and boosts health and livelihood.
- What you focus on expands; If we focus on pain or discomfort and we resist it, it’s going to expand. If we focus on joy, peace, tranquility, that is going to expand and take care of all the pain and discomfort.
- The length of our exhale and inhale represents how much life force we give to people and the environment around us and how much we receive from them. Going to equal length of inhale and exhale brings balance into our lives. Longer inhale energies us, longer exhale relaxes us.
- The first step in healing is knowing that we are whole and complete, and our body can heal itself, and once we get out of the way, the way is shown. all what we need to know and do is revealed to us.
In day four, we did a recap of all the exercises that we did the last three days. Also, Amit reminded us of the positive power of gratitude, especially before we go to sleep, as a preparation to the subconscious to show what’s positive during sleep, in addition to the forgiveness meditation and the intentional relaxation of all parts of the body.
When it comes to choosing the right practice, there is no size-fits-all. On the spiritual path, there is no rule. Each individual picks and chooses what is suitable based on what the inner guide is informing us. We have to trust our inner guide and fearlessly follow it.
“Simple daily practices, trusting in me and following the Divine guide within.”
“Yes,as well as gave me an understanding of appreciation for techniques that I have been taught before and a love again of Hong Sau. So simple, so pure, so sweet.”
“Knowledge Applying to daily life.”
“It gave me a good overview of the different techniques and most importantly I got a new guiding friend who makes me more aware of the presence and my emotions: my breath.”
“Now I know what kind of breathing exercise to take up for energizing as well as relaxation.”
“Please do organise follow up sessions and next level breathwork so that we remain inspired.”
“Could breathe consciously these four days. Hope to continue.”
“Yes. I was inspired to do the daily practices.”
What did you enjoy the most in the workshop?
“His solid and peaceful presence and his clear and very good pronunciation which made listening to
him a joy, -- as a Dutch (non-native) listener.”
“Everything, – the practice was great.
“Walking and Hong Sau meditation.”
“The group collective exercises in real-time.”
“Meditations and mudras.”
“Morning and night practice rituals, Hong Sau, equalizing the breath, walking meditation (which I used to do when I'm having long phone calls), throat breathing.”
“Not to be attached with the practices, equal breath (Samata), meaning of Mudras.”
“Hong Sau, new understanding of the why and how in madras, and more focus on breath, even while walking. I have also been taught the 1 inhale, 4 hold, 2 out breath by a living Saint and will work with that. I also rediscovered a recent love of jogging and connection to the breath. I was doing that recently before this class - all perfect timing.”
“Conscious breathing… helps in treatment for all the ailments.”