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June/July 2003
Peace of Mind in Difficult Times

By Sat Jivan Singh Khalsa



Photo courtesy of Kundalini Yoga East

Have you noticed that your stress level has increased significantly? The complex, fast-paced world we live in is chockfull of stress. And unrelieved stress creates dis-ease. The very machines and inventions we thought would free us from work (computers, fax machines, cell phones, etc.) have done nothing more than make it impossible for us to disconnect from it. Very few of us have been spared the negative impact the pressures of modern life have had on us, whether it be disruptions in our sleep patterns, increased anxiety and worry or just an inability to let go and relax. Modern living is stressful living. And too much stress blocks our ability to be happy. So what do we do? We learn to neutralize the stress.

Neutralizing stress is easier than you might think if you know the secret—control your breathing. By controlling the breath we are able to control the mind. The old adage about counting to 10 when you get angry was based on the idea that once the breath slowed, your mind would follow. What happens when you get excited or emotional? The breath becomes rapid and shallow. Learn to control it and the mind is yours to command!

Here is a very simple meditation that will help you gain control of your breath and your mind. Practice this meditation to gain a calm mind and strong nerves and to bring mental balance. It will help protect you from irrationality.

How to Do it
Sitting in “easy pose”—legs crossed with a straight spine—hold the right hand at ear level with the thumb tip and tip of ring finger touching (fingernails don’t touch). For men, place the left hand in the lap with the thumb tip and tip of the little finger touching. Females should reverse the position so that the left hand has thumb and ring finger touching with hand at ear level, and the right hand is in the lap with the thumb and little finger touching.

The eyes are one-tenth open. Make the breath long and deep but not powerful. Let your mind relax.

If you need a tool to help focus your meditation, you can silently repeat the mantra of your choice. A good one to try is the mantra of joy: “Wahe Guru”—“the wisdom is indescribable.”

You can practice this meditation anywhere, starting with 11 minutes and working up to 31 minutes. To end the meditation, inhale deeply, open the fingers, raise the hands and shake them rapidly for several minutes. Then relax and let joy enter your life.

Sat Jivan Singh Khalsa has been teaching Kundalini yoga in the New York area since 1970. With his wife, Sat Jivan Kaur, he is co-founder and co-director of Kundalini Yoga East, where they teach yoga classes regularly. To learn more or attend a class ($15), visit Kundalini Yoga East at 873 Broadway (between 18th and 19th Streets), Suite 614; see, or call (212) 982-5959.


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