This embodied self-realization practice is my go-to practice to empower a felt-sense of calm and connection through self-stimulation of the vagus nerve. No prior experience is necessary. If you have any medical conditions like high blood pressure or if you are pregnant, use slow smooth breathing rather than the Breath of Fire practice to embody the Fire element. There are no additional contraindications.
This powerful practice can be experienced anywhere at anytime for as little as 5 minutes. It is both energizing and relaxing, using a variety of breathing practices and hand mudras to engage our sensory experience in self-directing our nervous system. The results can be felt immediately, if you practice with earnestness and intention.
Begin by attuning to the currents of your inner environment through 3 simple Body Current® principles to self-direct your nervous system through the present moment.
• Awareness – Focus your awareness on your breath and the current of sensations arising and informing your present moment experience. This sends a signal of safety to your nervous system as you entrain with the present moment.
• Acceptance – Without judgement accept thoughts, feelings, sensations and emotions that arise through the present moment with curiosity and fresh eyes. This allows the nervous system to relax into a state of acceptance and homeostasis through the breath.
• Allowing – Allow yourself to have a novel and curious felt-sense experience of the present moment as you engage with this practice. Curiosity, along with repetition of the experience, creates new pathways and patterns in shifting your neurobiology. Simply allow yourself to notice what you notice with wonder, trust and curiosity.
Reflect on an intention you wish to bring to this practice. This is the specific content or focus you are bringing to this template. Continue to attune to the 3 A’s above throughout the practice as we link our breath with a symbolic hand mudra to embody the elements of your inner and outer landscape.
- Place your palms face up on your lap.
- Bring the thumb of both hands to press into your Pointer Fingers engaging the Jupiter aspect of higher intelligence while embodying the Earth element of this mudra.
- Bring the thumbs to press into your Middle Fingers engaging the Saturn aspects of innate wisdom and patience while embodying the Air element.
- Take 4-8 slow smooth airy inhales through the nose and exhale the slow sound of Om. Notice the subtleties and qualities of the sound waves and the element of air around you. What is your felt-sense of the air entering through your nose? How long can you sustain the vibration of Om into the air and space around you?
- Bring the thumbs to press into your Ring Fingers engaging the Sun aspects of health, vigor and vitality while embodying the Fire element.
- To embody this element through the mudra and breath, engage Breath of Fire focusing on strong exhales followed by passive inhales as you snap the naval to the spine on each exhale. Find a rhythm that works for you to sustain for 10-60 seconds. If you feel lightheaded, resume slow, smooth breathing. If you feel energized, feel free to repeat a few rounds to build the awareness of fire.
- Allow yourself to receive the purifying and energizing properties as the sensations of Fire build while releasing any tension that arises. End with a couple rounds of slow smooth breathing and open, curious awareness of what you are observing. How has your internal heat transformed? What subtle shifts do you notice in your inner environment? What do you notice about your breath?
- Bring the thumbs to press into your Pinkie Fingers engaging the Mercury aspects of clear communication and mental clarity while embodying the element of Water.
- Use the Ujjayi or “Victorious Breath” for 4-8 rounds of slow smooth breathing. Simply channel the inhale through the nose, touching the back of the throat to make an ocean sound as you expand your body with your inhale. On the exhale, bring the naval to the spine as you bring the sensation of the exhale through the back of the throat and out the nose. This is an audible breath through the slight constriction in the back of the throat.
- Allow this breath to wash over you just like ocean waves. How does the sound of the breath change throughout your practice? What aspects of the water element are you noticing through your sensory experience?
- Feel free to focus on embodying just one of the elements above or cycling through them all. When you feel complete, take a few moments to notice, with child-like curiosity, the cadence and texture of your natural breath and the elemental nature of your inner environment. How has it changed?
- Name 3 adjectives describing your current of awareness arising through your body, your brain and your breath.
To enjoy more vagal nerve stimulation Body Current practices, visit two of our other recent blogs: Finding Your Rhythm within the Chaos: 3 Simple Steps and The Science of Rituals and the Power of Patterns.
More Research about the power of conscious breathing
To further share the powerful qualities of conscious breathing practices, the Waking Times recently reported their findings on the healing opportunities found in a study involving rhythmic conscious breathing in relation to our Central Nervous System and the Vagus Nerve, our 10th cranial nerve.
“Of all the various functions of our autonomic nervous systems, from heart beat, perspiration, hormonal release, gastrointestinal operation, neurotransmitter secretion, etc., the breath stands alone as the only subsystem the conscious mind can put into ‘manual override’ and so it is through manipulation of the breath that we can recalibrate the entire system.”
In addition, according to a recent article documenting a study in the International Journal of Yoga, conscious breathing along with embodied movement has been shown to positively impact immune function, resolve autonomic nervous system imbalances, and calm stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression.
What does all this recent research mean to you?
Your breath and your intention for this practice literally puts your health into your hands and will inform the results you reap from this practice.
Let’s walk together through proven mind-body entrainment tools and the ancient wisdom of embodied self-realization to navigate your nervous system.
Shanti Medina, CYT CPT is the founder of Energize training systems and Body Current® templates and tools of self-realization. She enjoys supporting elite athletes and everyday warriors to live a life of well-being, optimized performance and wild inspiration through simple practices of transformation and embodied direct revelation. Shanti teaches her Body Current® curriculum as a bridge between modern-day neuroscience and the ancient wisdom of yoga therapy and panic healing. She has enjoyed being part of a variety of 500HR Yoga Teacher Trainings and as part of the teaching faculty at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Sacred Arts Practitioner certification and the Neurosculpting Institute. She is passionate about empowering her clients and students to use their breath, brain and body to reveal, energize and experience their abiding true nature and innate healing wisdom.
You can find out more about Shanti, learn about upcoming retreats around the globe and schedule a private Body Current, yoga therapy, personal training or optimal wellness session in person or via Zoom at www.EnergizeShanti.com
Learn how to self-stimulate and regulate the currents of your vagus nerve, ignite coherence in your heart center and form frequencies of intention through your nervous system and out into your life.
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