meditationBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

The least understood aspects within a typical Yoga teacher training are pratyahara, dharna, dhyana and samadhi. These are the last four of the Eight Limbs described by Maharishi Patanjali within the Yoga Sutras. Many Yoga schools focus on the third and fourth limbs (asana and pranayama), because the physical aspects of Yoga exercises will be realized by practitioners long before the mental and emotional benefits of meditating are realized 

We commonly associate meditating with a soothing decrease in mental activity. Although the emphasis is on focused thought, some practitioners feel meditating is as close to sleeping as one can come, while still being awake. Meditation can actually have a profound impact on energy levels.

Meditating automatically increases energy by constructively channeling our thoughts. We waste priceless mental energy when we become angry, judge others, worry about possibilities, and feel frustration. Panic attacks and bouts with depression can drain our mental and physical energy reserves.

One method for increasing the amount of energy a practitioner has throughout the day is to practice short meditation sessions whenever energy begins to wane. With work schedules, it is not necessary to go into a deep meditative state during these sessions. Taking the time to focus one’s mind on what is truly important will naturally increase energy levels. These mini sessions are much like power naps, but they lack the residual grogginess many people find unpleasant.

Breath Awareness Meditation for Harnessing Energy

Brahmari, Dirgha, and Udgeeth pranayama are Yoga training techniques, but they can also be practiced in a short breath awareness meditation session. For those who really wish to harness the power of their inner energy, nothing beats the breath awareness meditation techniques.

Breath Awareness Meditation for Raising Energy Levels

By practicing Bhastrika pranayama, for breath awareness, one can also raise the internal level of energy. In fact, Bhastrika, alone, can cause an energy spike. When Bhastrika is practiced for breath awareness, this powerful energy boosting meditation technique has many different benefits, including oxygenating and purifying the blood, improving and increasing the efficiency of the digestive system, and increasing lung capacity. Additionally, this practice brings harmony to one’s mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health, by bringing the whole being into an energetic rhythm.

Start by sitting up straight on a Yoga mat or cushion; close the eyes and relax, feeling your inner energy. Now, imagine that there is an invisible thread running through the crown of your head that is forcing your spine to stretch. Make the neck as long as comfortably possible. The stomach must be relaxed and never clenched. Now, envision the lungs to be like two bellows used to fan flames, and start contracting air in and out; this should be practiced at a moderate speed.

As Bhastrika is practiced with an even inhale and exhale, it begins to set a rhythm on its own. There may be some struggle at first, but just keep at it, and the rhythm will find you. Remember that the emphasis is on both the inhalation and the exhalation, equally. There is no emphasis on one over the other.


Daily practice of breath awareness meditation is medicinal for maintaining or controlling energy levels. In practicing Brahmari, Dirgha, and Udgeeth for meditation, one’s energy will remain controlled and mellow. Therefore, feel free to try different techniques, and notice how they raise or control your energy levels. Your personal Yoga practice has to be customized to meet your needs.

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