Yogi Ramacharaka's Science of Breath is probably one of the best books ever written on the power of sound. According to him (revised to be simpler), the “quality and power of a voice depends not only on the vocal organs in the throat, but on the facial muscles...” Here is an interesting experiment worth trying:
VOICE AND SOUND
- Stand in front of a mirror and pucker up your mouth and whistle, and note the shape of your mouth and the general expression of your face.
- Sing or speak as you do naturally and see the difference.
- Start to whistle again for a few seconds, and then, without changing the position of your lips or face, sing a few notes and notice what a vibrant, resonant, clear and beautiful tone is produced.
WALKING WITH YOGA BREATHAnd here is one of my very favorite exercises—walking. I always do this when I take my daily 4- to 6-mile walk as part of the 10,000 Step Program (it's a very cheap pedometer with a program booklet that tells you everything you need to do). It's great! It got me to realize how little I was actually walking on a daily basis. Any store with sports gadgets has it. Get outside and start walking and then incorporate the Yoga Breath into it like this:
- Hold your head high and make sure both arms are swinging naturally back and forth. If one arm does not swing naturally, make it happen consciously. This is a good message for the brain.
- Lift this special spot I wrote about in The Sun Salutation (the upper part of the center of your chest where Eugenia has her fingertips in the image, below). If you practice doing this all the time, your posture will be perfect without doing anything with your spine or your shoulders. It's instant. Such an amazing little trick that can do so much!
Note: A Little Trick for Perfect Posture
- As you begin to take a Complete Yoga Breath, start to mentally count from 1 through 8. By the time you get to 8, you will have completed the breath. This is rhythmic breathing to your steps (each step is 1 count).
- Repeat the same sequence as you begin to exhale through your nose (inhaling and exhaling with your larynx, as taught in the previous lessons). Count from 1 through 8. By the time you reach 8, you have exhaled completely. Again, each step is 1 count.
- It's a good idea to rest in between to relax your body. This is supposed to be fun, not strenuous!
MORNING WAKE-UP CALLThis is another Ramacharaka exercise that is well worth repeating here. (By the way, I got all of this content online from a wonderful research group that allows one to use it - as long as there is no charge for it.)
- Stand erect in a military attitude, head up, eyes front, shoulders back, knees stiff, hands at sides.
- Raise body slowly on toes, inhaling a Complete Yoga Breath, steadily and slowly.
- Retain the breath for a few seconds, maintaining the same position.
- Slowly sink to the first position, at the same time slowly exhaling the air through the nostrils.
- Practice Cleansing Breath (see above).
- Repeat several times, varying by using right leg alone, then left leg alone.
(= Humming)This ancient Tibetan Yoga technique is to be done either at night before you go to bed or early in the morning. If you take the time to do this, you will experience incredible changes in your body and mind. It is best to rest for at least 15 minutes after you have completed this breathing technique. You can do this alone and with others. You will get better results if your stomach is empty. Otherwise, the inner sound cannot go very deep. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a much-aligned Guru from India (who was brilliant and taught very exciting ancient methods), gave these instructions:
FIRST STAGE - 7 1/2 MINUTES
- Use a silent timer and set it for at least 30 minutes. Sit in a relaxed position with your eyes closed, lips together, but loose. Begin to hum, loudly enough to create a vibration throughout the entire body. It should be loud enough to be heard by others. You can alter pitch and inhale as you please and if the body moves, allow it, providing that the movements are smooth and slow.
- Visualize your body as a hollow tube, an empty vessel, (a horn) filled only with the vibrations of the humming. A point will come where the humming occurs by itself and you become the listener. This activates the brain and every fiber in your body is cleansed. It is particularly useful in self-healing work.
SECOND STAGE - PALMS UP - 7 1/2 minutes
- Move your hands, palms up, in a circular outward motion. The right hand moves to its right, the left to its left. Make these circles large, moving as slowly as possible. At times the hands will appear not to be moving at all. If needed, the rest of the body can move but also slowly and silently.
THIRD STAGE - PALMS DOWN 7 1/2 MINUTES
- Move the hands in the opposite direction with the palms down, moving in circular directions inwards towards the body, for another 7 1/2 minutes. As the hands move outward, feel how the energy is moving away from the body and as they circle inwards, imagine absorbing the energy.
4th STAGE - SILENCE
- Sit absolutely still and quiet. This exercise is also given in the Chakra series for the 5th Chakra (Throat), because it helps to get the vibrations flowing in that part of the body. It can be very helpful for someone who has throat problems.
Visualization from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras
- Visualize your taste buds, imagine something you love to taste. Perhaps a fresh fruit from a tree in an orchard surrounded by the clear, blue sky. Visualize it entering your mouth and that you are going to bite down on it and taste it. Visualize total happiness within you from the power of your sense of taste.