Pranayama and Meditation resources – One

Each time I practice I look to one or more of the following thoughts – what do I confront? What do I transform? What do I integrate or innovate? I always like to have a clearly stated intention when I begin.

I intend to assemble here and in subsequent posts, accessible objects that I use in my daily ritual.

I begin each day during brahma muhurta, one hour and thirty-six minutes before the rise of the sun. This is the penultimate muhurta, a period of 48 minutes – 1/30th of a day. Sunrise in Ottawa today was at 7:38.

I will digress that this word muhurta in Sanskrit is made up of two sounds that refers to the immediate and to how this immediacy functions as an ordering – a perpetual now found in thinkers familiar in the Western tradition from Heraclitus to Nietzsche to Latour.

I will order my bed and brush my teeth before I begin my wake-up routine of pranayama and meditation. I was told a long time ago that monks always start with ordering their space in preparation for practice which makes a lot of sense to me even though I am no monk. And while my meditation always begins during brahma muhurta, my pranayama may end after sunrise.

My goto app in the morning for meditation is Oak. I dont use it any other time except for my morning routine. It is a habit. Its free and does exactly what I needed it to do when I started this ritual when I was at home during the pandemic. It show my progress (good for motivation since I easily depreciate my accomplishments) and has both breathing and mediation timers including box breathing. I dont’ use it for Tummo sessions which I will describe in another post.

Oak is pretty basic but a nice GUI and breathing shouldn’t be anything but basic anyway. IOS only. I did pay for the course and it was worth the 2 bucks I paid, if, for nothing else, as an offering to initiate my ritual.

My current streak. Its on my old phone too so I always bring it with me when I travel since even though the app is on my new devices, my streak record is only on this phone and I cannot break the chain!*
*Breaking the chain refers to Jerry Seinfeld's rule about being successful at things - using a visual indication - in his case a calendar where he puts a big X each day he writes jokes. By having a visual cue, it was much easier for me pay attention to creating rituals and habits. It is ritual, according to Oscar Wilde, that is the origin of religion and, for us moderns, the basis of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy too. 

I was using pillows on the floor or a chair and decided to upgrade my meditation setup during the pandemic. Again, like breathing, this should be simple. I started on a chair and laying down. And even my zabuton from Half Moon, while comfortable, isnt perfect but all you really do just need to sit. Or lie down. Pretty simple. Don’t buy anything, all you need is your breath.

I still enjoy and watch this series : 7 Days to Mindfulness with Kirat Randhawa. I appreciate her calm demeanour in this series along with some guidance on topics such as finding your centre and how clarity and curiosity work in the meditation process and its use in day to day life when I am not in mediation. I also watch Netflix’s Headspace Guide to Mediation which was very accessbile and enjoyable. It was a great beginner resource for me when I initially found it, a perpetual beginner.

I come back to these teachings once in a while and find new things in them, each time! Next up, my pranayama practice and books!