Hi, I’m Bettina. What I'm working on : Forget to slouch. Relaxing is freedom. Choose life.

Articles tagged “breathing”

How to Transform your Tongue into an Air Conditioner

Tree Lung Breathing

It’s summer in Berlin, even though the weather isn’t quite hot here yet.

Nonetheless, when the heat does turn on, sweating through a yoga class could feel like heating your body too much.

To address overheating, two yogic breathing / pranayama techniques called sitali and sitkari use your breathing to cool your body down. Not only do these two breathing / pranayama techniques cool your body down physically, they also cool down any heated emotions you may have, like anger or resentment. They both calm the mind, cool the body, and lower blood pressure.

The first breathing / pranayama technique sitali asks you to sip air through your rolled-up tongue. If you can’t roll up your tongue like a straw, the second breathing / pranayama technique sitkari is when you suck air through your teeth.

Watch the video below to see how to practice these two cooling breaths.

 

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ACTION STEP : The next time you feel overheated either physically or emtionally, try a few rounds of sitali or sitkari breaths as I show you in the video above.

If you feel light-headed, dizzy, or in any way uncomfortable during these breaths, stop and breathe normally for several rounds. Begin again when you’re ready.

 

Let me know if you have any requests for a short yoga routine and/or questions about yoga or meditation!

 

Signature from Bettina of Active Hands Yoga

 

 

 

Photo by Jamesdguy

Yogis Talk Radio Show : Alessandro Aliosha Pedori at Wat Suan Mokkh

Hot Spring at International Dhamma Hermitage of Wat Suan Mokkh

 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meditate for ten days on a silent meditation retreat? I definitely have.

During my yoga teacher training in India, we were not supposed to speak during meals. The idea was that we were supposed to be fully conscious of our food rather than getting distracted by socializing. Some people took it further and did not speak for an entire day, wearing a little sign around their neck that they were observing silence aka mouna. Some people say observe silence so that you save your energy to turn inwards rather than focusing outwards in idle talking. Once you quiet speech, the mind quiets down too. Others say that there is no need for communication if you realize the great truth that there is no other–‘they’ are no other than me. Whatever the reason, observing silence is a powerful practice especially in conjunction with meditation.

Alessandro Aliosha Pedori

I decided to connect with Alessandro Aliosha Pedori, teacher of contact improv and yoga in Berlin, who meditated in Thailand for ten days at the Buddhist International Dhamma Hermitage of Wat Suan Mokkh. Even though their website is quite comprehensive, even giving out a detailed 11-page description of their yoga classes, I wanted to know what it was really like to experience and live there for a silent meditation retreat.

Listen to my interview* above (or download it!) with Alessandro to find out:

  • The most painful part of sitting meditation
  • Why Wat Suan Mokkh is way better than Vipassana meditation centers
  • What he would have done differently at Wat Suan Mokkh knowing what he does now (hint : bring a pillow!)
  • Who would be your fellow meditators and the leaders / facilitators?
  • Was the food good?
  • The lasting effects of meditating for ten days in Thailand

 

If you want to meditate for 10 days at Wat Suan Mokkh, here are your ACTION STEPS:

  1. Pack a yoga mat, a pillow, tiger balm, and some paracetamol. No pretty clothes allowed, so leave them at home.
  2. Get yourself to Thailand by plane, train, automobile, boat, foot in outside the months of January and February.
  3. Make it to the Buddhist hermitage by 3pm on the last day of the month to register for the next ten days.
  4. Meditate, practice yoga, soak in the hot spring, and eat delicious Thai food for ten days.
  5. Celebrate with a Thai iced tea upon your ‘graduation’ from meditation.
  6. Stay at the main monastery in the woods for a few days.
  7. Escape to a tropical island in Thailand.

Interested in finding out more about Alessandro? His soon-to-be-launched website is aliosha.info.

* I apologize for the poor sound quality. My skype-to-skype interviews sound fine, but my skype-to-phone interviews get a lot of static and interference. My new microphone is in the mail; stay tuned to hear the difference with a Zoom microphone.

 

Have you attended a silent meditation retreat or ever wanted to?

Share your experiences–critical and cynical or blissed out–in the comments below please.

 

 

 

Photos (from top to bottom): Hot springs at Wat Suan Mokkh and Alessandro Aliosha Pedori

Why do we only breathe through the nose? A breathing exercise for relaxation and letting go

Most people know that in yoga we recommend only breathing through the nose. But that’s not true all of the time.

Watch my video below to learn a very simple breathing exercise that helps you let go of stress and stale air in your body by breathing out through the mouth.

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ACTION STEP: Try this breathing technique the next time you transition from a stressful situation–maybe when you get off work? Or during your lunch break?

If you’ve got any questions about yoga, meditation, healthy living, let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A video.

xoxo,

Bettina

Want to know how to breathe in yoga?

To answer one of my beginner students’ questions about breathing, I made this fun little video to tell you about the two most important things about breathing in yoga.

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ACTION STEP: Next time in yoga, observe your breath and notice when it’s shallow or fast or when you’re not breathing at all!

If you’ve got any questions about yoga, yoga nidra, or meditation, let me know and I’ll answer you in next Thursday’s Q and A.

xoxo,

Bettina