All physical and emotional states depend on a well functioning and rejuvenated brain. The blood flow to our brain brings oxygen, nutrients, hormones, antibodies and as it leaves removes toxins and waste products of cell metabolism.
Sufficient blood flow to our brain is essential for:
- Good memory.
- Clarity of thought.
- Freedom from headaches.
- Overcoming psychosomatic illnesses.
- Getting free from negative emotions.
- Greater concentration.
- Hormonal balance.
- A relaxed nervous system.
- A stronger immune system.
- More energy and vitality.
Most people do not have enough clean oxygenated blood flowing into their brains because:
- They have low blood pressure.
- They have tense – contracted arteries.
- Their arteries are clogged with waste products.
- They do not breathe deeply and completely enough.
- They are standing or sitting many hours and blood flow down into the legs (also creating problems such as varicose veins).
- They hunch over and do not sit or stand straight so that the blood can flow freely.
The following exercise, which we call the half-shoulder stand, is an excellent way to replenish the brain with blood, oxygen and nutrients while also cleaning up the veins of the legs.
Persons with high blood pressure of detached retina or other serious eye problems should consult their doctor before performing it.
Place a mat close to the wall and lie down on your back with your buttocks very close to the wall and your legs resting up on the wall. If you like, you can place a large pillow underneath your buttocks so as to create a greater incline (this will also make it more comfortable for the lower back). Make sure that your back, shoulders and neck are in a comfortable position. (If you have high blood pressure, you may find this position a little difficult in the beginning as you will feel the pressure in your head. You should check with your doctor to see if he agrees for you to do it). Now there are four stages to this exercise:
a) While lying in this position, inhale slowly while raising your arms up over your head until they rest on the floor behind your head. Hold your breath in this position for a few seconds and then lower your hands back by your side as you exhale. This movement may be practiced in harmony with the breath from five to ten times at the rhythm, which you feel most comfortable. A good rhythm is to have an equal inhalation, retention and exhalation. Thus one could inhale for a count of three, hold for three, and exhale for three.
b) In the next stage, you take a deep inhalation and then turn your head to the right while keeping the head in contact with the mat and holding your breath. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale returning the head to the center again. Then take another deep inhalation and turn your head to the left, hold a few seconds and return it to the center exhaling. This exercise too may be practiced with the breathing ratio inhaling for three, holding for three, and exhaling for three. One should always breathe as slowly and deeply as one can, without forcing the breath.
c) In the third stage we simply breathe slowly and deeply with concentration on the inhalation and exhalation. Never force the breath, but breathe as slowly and deeply as comfortably possible. On every exhalation allow the neck, shoulders and eyes relax. Take from 5 to 20 such deep breaths according to your capacity. The breath is more effective when it is rhythmic with the ratio of breathing in which the inhalation, retention and exhalation are of equal length.
d) In the final stage we simply remain in this position with the legs up on the wall and allow our shoulders, neck and head to relax as much as possible. Special attention should be given to the area of the eyes and the center of the forehead. If there is tension in the eyes, we can place the palms over the eyes in a gentle manner and allow the peaceful energy of the hands to flow into and relax the eyes and the forehead. The palms can be left in this position for as long as ten minutes if we have the inclination and time. We can also relax in this position with or without the hands in this position for as long as we feel comfortable.
It is obvious that this exercise helps to bring blood to the head, shoulders, neck and eyes. The twisting of the neck from side to side opens up the neck and stimulates the thyroid glands. This is a wonderful position to relax in and is as good for the legs as it is for the head. The deep rhythmic breathing allows for greater oxygenation and relaxation and rejuvenation of the nervous, endocrine and immune systems as well as the mind.
It is an invaluable tool for renewing our body, energy and mind.