Did your self-reflection reveal a rapid breathing pattern? Was your jaw clenched? Were you feeling anxious or irritable, as if your engine was running hot? Many of us are in overdrive, and coming to sit for meditation at the end of a hectic day can feel like a jolting break in a speeding car. Langhana (reducing) practices are calming and can help you shift gears and transition smoothly into meditation. The practices are cooling and calming, designed to eliminate and reduce excess energy, thoughts, and strong emotions.
The emphasis in a langhana practice is on exhaling and holding poses—such as seated forward bends and twists—for several seconds. Less attention is paid to alignment and more to hugging the belly in toward the spine during exhalations, which lengthen progressively. Holding the breath for a moment after an exhalation can extend calming effects, but this can be challenging. If your breath becomes strained, simply lengthen the exhalation and skip the pause.
Begin by lying on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor. Place your palms on your belly and take a few minutes to connect with your breath. Exhale and gently press your lower back onto the floor. On an inhalation, invite the natural curve in your lower back to return.
Move into Windshield Wipers. With an exhalation, gently pull your belly toward the spine while lowering your knees to the right. Raise your knees to the center as you breathe in, then lower your knees to the left as you breathe out. Repeat 6 times, focusing on lengthening your exhalations. On the third and fourth round, pause for 2 seconds after each exhalation; on the fifth and sixth rounds, pause for 4 seconds after each exhalation. When practicing these exercises, hug your lower abdomen toward the spine, but do not clamp down or harden on the pause. To come to sitting, roll to your side and press up.!--page-->