Talitha Eustice knows a thing or two about building a happy and healthy body. Certified in massage therapy, corrective exercise and yoga, she offers a plethora of options to her students, including a unique kind of meditation-focused experience now offered weekly at the Bellevue Club.
The two-part class begins with a hatha (yoga of the body) flow and is followed by half an hour of pranayama (breath work) meditation. The classes can be taken separately or together. While both sides to the practice focus on calming the mind and gaining awareness of the body, Eustice says by including a classical meditation portion of the class people can make sure they are taking the time to hone their breath work.
“There are so many people who breathe very shallow, which is how you breathe when you’re stressed,” she says. “Focusing on the breath is such a good calming technique—just taking good, deep, full breaths for any amount of time. I also feel like the nice thing about breath work is it can appeal to everyone—all different populations. Everyone needs to breathe.”
Eustice was certified at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, a non-profit school in Massachusetts where she lived and trained in many disciplines from 2006 to 2010, and she brings many of the teachings she learned there to her classes.
“The goal of this style of yoga is to cultivate witness consciousness, the ability to engage with the experiences of life both on and off the mat with more equanimity and without judgment,” she says. “We focus on practicing the poses with mindfulness, exploring our edges, and allowing ourselves to soften into the experience without judgment.”
Meditation Made Simple
Talitha shares two of her favorite meditation exercises that can be done anywhere.
1. Sit in a seated meditation posture with your legs crossed and eyes shut. Place your hands on your lower belly. Take a deep breath in, focusing on your belly softening into your hands. Breathe out, releasing all the air in your lungs and pulling the navel in toward the spine.
2. Move your hands up to your lower ribs. Take a deep breath in, focusing on flaring the space between your lower ribs. Breathe out slowly, releasing all the air in your lungs and pulling the navel in toward the spine.
3. Finally, move your hands to the outside of your upper ribs. Take another deep breath, filling the lungs to maximum capacity while floating the upper ribs. Breathe out slowly, releasing all the air in your lungs and pulling the navel in toward the spine.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
1. Start in a seated meditated position. Using either hand, place your forefinger and middle finger on your forehead. Release all the air in your lungs. Use your thumb to close off the nostril that’s closest to it and slowly inhale through the open nostril. Once filled with breath, hold to the count of four to 10. Then use your ring finger to close off the nostril you used to inhale and then release the air through the other nostril. Repeat on the opposite side. Perform for three or four times.