By Melissa Pini

Are you new to yoga? Eager or curious to learn this ancient healing practice? My friend, you came to the right place! Unlike other healing modalities or physical routines, yoga is a practice for all. Regardless of age, sexual orientation, or ability yoga has the potential to open you up to a life of prosperity and peace. A tool to give you purpose and meaning. As the Bhagavad Gita (an ancient yogic text) states, “Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” A path to purification of the mind and body to reach a state of self-realization and ultimately, samadhi, an exalted state of consciousness. So, how do you begin? Keep reading as I offer you a pranayama (breath focused) meditation to connect with mind and body. Let’s start with this gentle practice. Feel free to email to let me know how it goes. I look forward to hearing from you!

Find a comfortable, quiet space to sit or lay down. This does not have to be anywhere fancy. Pause in this space to notice. Check in with yourself to see how you are feeling.

If it serves you, close your eyes or bring a soft focus to the floor. Allow your hands to gently rest on your legs or perhaps bring one hand to heart, one hand to belly.

Start to bring your awareness to the sounds around you, the temperature, the body as it is rooted to your space and the rise and fall of the breath. Notice your natural inhalation and your natural exhalation. Without changing anything just notice.

Know that in this moment, everything is ok. You are safe and you are loved. If you need reassurance, within the mind, say the words to yourself “everything is ok” as you follow your breath on a journey of sensation through your body.

Notice how the breath moves through you like ocean waves. Inhale as a fresh wave travels upward, filling you with light, love and peace. Exhale new wave washes away any tension, worry or fear.

Become aware now of all the places where they body touches the Earth. Notice the back body or the parts of the body rooted to the Earth. Imagine as if all the positive, healing energy from the Earth is traveling upward through your body nurturing every cell. Notice the front body or the parts of the body facing skyward. Imagine as if all the radiant, bright light from the sun or moon are shining down upon you, filling you with optimism and vitality.

Notice the breath. Notice the whole body, complete and alive with radiant vibration. Breathe.

Stay here in meditation for as long as you like. When you are ready to return, start to bring gentle movements to the wrists, the fingers, the ankles and toes. Allow the body to move and shift in any way that it needs to have a full awakening.

Before you open your eyes or rejoin the world, take one more easy inhale and easy exhale. Give yourself a minute to manifest upon your own wellness, your own truth. If it serves you, repeat the phrase “Om Shanti” three times, as a mantra for inner peace.

Melissa Pini lives in Michigan where she has her yoga studio.

MAP KEYS YOGA: Weekly Mantra Key: Om Shanti, shanti, Shanti: Peace, Peace Peace.