Have you noticed how people differ according to the region/city they are coming from? I work in sales, and I get to meet people from around the globe every single day. I have noticed, that those individuals who live in the Southern regions, are generally more happy-looking than those who live in the North. Whilst those who live in big industrial cities, tend to be more anxious-looking, compared to those who live in the suburbs and small cities.
So what does it take for us in order to live a happy and stress-free life? Should we all move to the South where there is more sun? Should we buy a house in the suburbs, a few cows and chickens, plant a garden and live happily ever after? But wouldn’t taking care of a cattle require a lot of stress too? In fact, no matter where we go, and no matter who we work for – be it ourselves or a corporation – stress will always be part of the equation, whether we want it or not. Money and financial security will be a constant headache. We will always face life challenges, no matter where we go. Maybe there is no such thing as a stress-free life? Maybe instead of looking for a perfect escape, we should learn to detach ourselves from everything that’s bringing us down, here and now?
I have a very stressful job. A job which requires me to bring in new clients every day and to increase my sales target every month, while being surrounded by heartless competitors and demanding bosses. It took me a while to find the right technique in order to remain calm, positive and smiling throughout the day, and to have faith even when it’s raining crap. How can you survive amongst corporate sharks and negative vibes, without turning into a negative shark yourself? The way I do it is through daily prayer, meditation, yoga and breathing exercises. Yes it takes this much to stay sane, in the insane.
I don’t think I would be happier in the suburbs anyways, because no matter how spiritual I may be, I am a city girl at heart. I enjoy both sides of the equation – the quiet times at home, as much as the fun nights out on the town with my friends. So for now, I’ve got no choice but to stick to my guns and to survive in an utterly aggressive sales environment, with a big smile on my face. And to do so, I need to constantly remind myself to detach from negative thoughts, feelings and circumstances, and to stay connected to my consciousness.
At work, I usually take 15 minutes off to myself, in a quiet place, in order to focus my attention on my breathing. I put my headsets on and turn on some meditation music. I close my eyes and do 9 rounds of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama breathing exercises. This breathing technique usually helps me to get in touch with my awareness, to uplift my spirits and to detach my mind from any material burdens that are brining me down.
What is Nadi Shodhana Pranayama? It is also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing. Nadi = channel. Shodhana = purification. Pranayama = breathing technique. This powerful breathing technique is meant to purify the subtle channels of our mind-body organism.
The best time to practice this is early in the morning, especially during sunrise, as the cosmic energies of the prana are most powerful. But it can be practiced at any time when one is feeling stressed and out of balance.
You must sit in a comfortable position with your spine erect and with relaxed shoulders. While you’ll be breathing don’t forget to smile. Why? Because you’ll be giving out a smile into the universe, and receiving positive vibrations in return.
- Begin by taking a few deep inhalations and slow exhalations. Once your mind is quiet and your breath feels relaxed and natural you may begin with Nadi Shodhana.
- Place your left hand on your left knee, with your palm open towards the ceiling/sky, in order to receive and welcome cosmic energies into your body.
- Place the tips of your index and middle fingers of your right hand in between your eyebrows, and press gently.
- Use your right thumb to lock your right nostril, and exhale gently, through your left nostril.
- Then inhale through your left nostril, hold your breath, block your left nostril with your ring and pinky finger, and exhale through your right nostril. Then repeat. Inhale through your right nostril and exhale through your left nostril.
Continue this practice for 5 to 10 minutes. Keep your eyes closed and focus your attention on your breathing, and movement of your belly. This will help you to release tension and to clear out your mind.
Practicing Nadi Shodhana every day can bring enormous benefits. The above instructions provide a brief overview. Advanced practice involves specific duration ratios and breath retention which is best learned with an expert.
There is plenty of youtube videos explaining this technique with great in depth instructions. Just type in Nadi Shodhana to get fully immersed into the practice.