Monday, March 16, 2009

A lot of breathing

My pranayama practice has fallen into a nice pattern recently. In the morning, if I wake up early enough, I do several cleansing pranayamas: Kapalibhati, Nasal Cleansing Breath, Dog Pant Breath, sometimes Breath of Fire. These raise energy and heat, and cleanse the system. They take about 15 minutes to do. It's a nice way to start the day.

After work I study the pranayamas I am planning to teach at my next class (I'm gearing up for a class this week). Right now these tend to be calming pranayamas, as I taught energizing ones last month. I usually spend 20 to 30 minutes doing this.

For the past 10 days I have been performing a pranyama from the Kundalini tradition before bed. It's basically a breath retention after an inhale, combined with the mantras Sa-Ta-Na-Ma and Wahay-Guru. This one I do for 11 minutes. It helps me fall asleep.

That's a lot of breath work. A lot of spiritual movement. I've heard that when you do a lot of meditation or spiritual work, one thing that happens is that you pump energy into the personality. You become more of who you are. After a while this effect calms down as you become more able to handle the increased energy.

Who I am is an emotional person who sometimes had mood swings. Over the seven years I have been meditating and doing spiritual work, my mood swings have stabilized a whole lot, and the peaks and valleys of my emotions have evened out. I am much calmer, more even-tempered, more consistently happy than I was before.

The past week, though, I've noticed my emotions being a bit more intense than they had been, and I've definitely noticed an increase in mood swings. I know this will pass as my capacity increases. But right now it's uncomfortable. The Kundalini practice, in particular, is pretty intense. I had decided to do it for 40 days, but I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should back off for now and try again later.

Edit: There is another reason why I might be feeling moody and emotional right now. A beloved cat died this time of year a year ago. I’ve heard that people often get emotional around a death anniversary.

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