This simple but powerful meditation is one of new favorites in the Kundalini Yoga tradition. I’ve been teaching it regularly in my classes. It is a great practice for beginners because it opens one’s awareness of the breath and helps increase lung capacity. Physically, this specific breathing practice actually strengthens the lungs and the heart.
Within just a few minutes of practicing this technique you will feel a sense of calm and ease. This meditation was originally taught by Yogi Bhajan in 1981. He shared it as a tool to bring clear perception to your relationship with yourself and others. It brings you in touch with the purest energy of the heart. The positioning of the hands create a still point for prana at the heart center.
This meditation practice can be done for 3 minutes up to 31 minutes. Start slowly and build it up over time.
Sit comfortably with a straight spine, elongating the back of the neck.
Close your eyes with a gentle focus either up at the third eye point or down the tip of the nose.
Place your left hand at the middle of your chest with your palm flat on the heart center.
Lift your right arm up at your side as if you were making a pledge, keeping the shoulder relaxed. Touch the thumb and first finger together in gyan mudra. Allow the elbow to remain relaxed so that the forearm is perpendicular to the ground.
Concentrate on the flow of the breath. Regulate it consciously throughout the entire practice.
Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose. Then suspend the breath, raising the chest. Hold the breath in as long as you comfortably can without straining or feeling panicked.
Then exhale smoothly, gradually and fully. At the bottom of the exhale, hold the breath out as long as you can without gasping.
Continue with this long deep breathing with retentions.
These retentions might only be a beat or two long and that is perfectly alright. The goal is to regulate the breath smoothly and calmly, not to hold your breath so long you feel like you are going to pass out. Be conscious not to overstrain your breath, instead see if you can find tranquility and stillness within the retentions.
At the end of your set period of time of meditation, inhale and exhale powerfully 3 times, then relax and return to normal natural breath.
I hope you give this practice a try and gain great benefit from it.