Who needs red light or bulletproof coffee when you’ve got yoga to hack your biology, boost your immunity, and supercharge your intuitive superpowers.”There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence, combined with solid research efforts, that suggests intuition is a critical aspect of how we humans interact with our environment and how, ultimately, we make many of our decisions,” Ivy Estabrooke, a program manager at the Office of Naval Research, told the New York Times in 2012. Sophy Burnham, the bestselling author of The Art of Intuition, tells The Huffington Post. “It’s different from thinking, it’s different from logic or analysis … It’s a knowing without knowing.” Our intuition is always there, whether we’re aware of it or not. Here are five ways I use yoga to boost my intuition and immunity…
1. Skull Shining Breath — for internal heating and detoxing
As a practice that gets hailed for burning away disease and karma, Skull Shining Breath (or Kapalabati) builds lung capacity, increases vitality and supercharges detoxing. The action of pulling the navel rapidly back in towards the spine upon exhalation over an extended period of time stimulates the solar plexus and releases natural energy throughout the body. So before starting the day with stimulants like caffeine or any kind of food I like to take this breathwork and create my own natural energy which is way more sustainable and nourishing. Then the coffee.
2. Chanting — for joy
Science has now proven that when we chant we improve our health. Studies have shown it contributes to the healing of sometimes ‘terminal’ illnesses, improves brain chemistry, and can make a person feel happier. Did you know that the sound ‘Om’ is symbolicof the universal sound of peace? Did you also know that when chanting Om (and especially a sea of Om’s or those in succession) the vibration of the soundinternally produces serotonin – a feel-good chemical in the body. Try it. See what happens.
3. Drishti — for focus
During your yoga class, you may have heard your teacher referring to ‘Drishti’ which is a gazing technique that helps develop focus. And considering its focus that’s helped me achieve anything worthwhile, I want to hack into it by any means possible. If you take a moment to dart your eyes around the room right now, notice how it feels. Then let your eyes gaze softly to one place. People report feeling calmer and ‘grounded’ just by resting the eyes. In a world when stimulation is at an all–time high, this could just be one of the most productive practices you’ll do all day.
4. Extended out-breath — for relaxation
When we can learn to extend the exhalation or manipulate the rhythm of the breath, a long exhalation is like sending a message to the nervous system that it’s ‘all good’. Literally right under our nose, it’s a tool that we can use whenever things feel overwhelming be it at our desks, in confronting conversations, and to deal with any kind of grieving. Practice breathing into the count of three or four and out for six or eight.
The times when I don’t think I should be still – that’s when I require stillness the most. Stillness is a superpower. A place where things get acknowledged, processed, and where our body better achieves homeostasis. Lie, down, close your eyes and let yourself be breathed. Surrender is the sweet knowing that you’re right where you’re meant to be. Don’t resist it. As Lao Tzu says, “By letting go it all gets done.”