By Bhavanjot Kaur
“In any communication, or in any situation which you cannot confront because it is exaggerating, hot or aggressive, just change your breath. Breathe through the lips instead of through the nostrils. Exhale always through the nostrils. Inhale through the rolled lips and make it slow and long. It will slow everything as required. It will increase your sensitivity. It will give you 10 times more projection over the person you are talking to.”
-Yogi Bhajan July 3, 1984
When I was just a little girl, I had a really interesting way of dealing with conflict. If something made me angry or upset, I would hold my breath until I passed out.
While unusual and dramatic, it was quite effective in avoiding an argument, since I was completely unconscious when all was said and done. I can only assume that by the time I regained consciousness, all had been forgotten and forgiven. My caregivers had become so used to this behavior that it no longer elicited a reaction.
Then I started holding my breath while standing at the top of the stairs. How clever.
I was also told that my German grandmother, who at the time barely spoke a word of English, would come to visit on occasion and would be subjected to my peculiar behavior. I was told that she would freak out when I was unconscious and she would rush me to the sink slapping cold water on my face and body to bring me back to awareness. I would wake and all would be well. No harm. No foul.
This story, while rather laughable, is also seemingly significant. One might consider the possibility that I was just a very young yogi practicing the control of my breath and learning at a very young age the importance of breath in the midst of conflict. I clearly had not mastered my breath, but I was certainly giving those around me a run for their money. Strange as it may be, I always enjoyed hearing this story about myself as a child. It puts a smile on my face every time.
As they say, everything comes full circle. I am now the mother of a little girl who has, against all odds, opted to remain conscious during her spells of dissatisfaction. Perhaps it is safe to say that parenthood is one of my greatest teachers on the topic of avoiding an argument.
“The best thing to do when you are uptight is to whistle or sing a song.”
-Yogi Bhajan 9/28/02
I have found that if I change my breath, chant a mantra, whistle or sing a song, then I can change my energy effectively and immediately in those more challenging parenting moments. With these practices in motion, I can often skip the argument altogether and consciously parent my daughter in a calm and loving manner.
It sounds so simple, but it has taken some time and effort to really sink in. As a matter of fact, there are some days when my mind gets hijacked and I experience a yogic amnesia of sorts and I forget these tools are available to me in the heat of the moment. On those days, I compassionately remind myself that this is a practice and each breath is a new opportunity for that practice. I tend to see my weaknesses as my strengths because it is within those challenging experiences that I am led to a greater awareness of what I am being called to practice on and off the mat.
Antaar Naad Mudra
Saa Ray Saa Saa, Saa Ray Saa Saa,
Saa Ray Saa Saa, Saa Rung
Har Ray Har Har, Har Ray Har Har,
Har Ray Har Har, Har Rung
I remember learning this mantra in my level one teacher training. I recall being told that this mantra is the first one a yogi should learn, as it is, in essence, the foundation for all of the other mantras. I have also heard that adversity will essentially melt before this mantra, which is helpful when you are trying to avoid an argument with anyone.
The Antar Naad Mudra (also called Kabadshe Meditation) utilizes this same powerful sound current and it is said that anyone who practices this meditation is granted protection against attacks. Practice this meditation for 11-31 minutes a day for 40, 90 or 120 days. You just might find that you are able to avoid an argument with anyone while also remaining ‘conscious.’
“Trouble without you doesn’t exist. If you do not welcome the trouble and do not participate, confront, counter and enlarge it, it will go.”
-Yogi Bhajan 2/13/95
Photo: Bhavanjot with her grandmother.
Bhavanjot Kaur is the owner and founder of Hamsa Healing Arts in Old Saybrook, CT. Bhavanjot is a Kundalini yoga teacher, Reiki Master & Teacher, Craniosacral therapy practitioner and she also offers sound therapy with a 32" gong. Bhavanjot hosts a local women's circle and various workshops on therapeutic grade essential oils, medicinal mushrooms and The Art of Reiki Levels I and II. She is a proud single mother to a beautiful and delightful four-year-old little girl who overcame a rare childhood kidney cancer.