Pranayama and asana

Let’s begin a discussion about pranayama experiences during asana practice. What pranayam techniques do you use during your asana practice? Ujjayi, Wave or Full Yogic Breath, do you ever do Kapalabhati during asana practice? Do you ever forget to breathe!!

Breath is life. Become one with your breath and you will see the connection between all things. The breathless state of Samadhi is actually becoming one with the breath so that the act of breathing is not noticable. However do not confuse holding ones breath with this state. As one breathes in meditation focussing on the breath allows one to concentrate and quiet the mind. The next step is more difficult in that now one has to focus deeper within than the breath and yet continue to breathe. This is done with steady practice and patience. One must practice with discipline and yet not “try” to obtain certain expected or desired results. Rather follow your breath inward and quietly experience the trip each time and enjoy the experience each time you sit down.

Prana is the life energy - yama is traditionally referred to as a restraint of the breath. Various techniques are offered within the yoga traditions for methods of controlling or regulation of the breath. Practicing these techniques, it is advisable to follow the advice of your yoga teacher, or one who is acquainted with the effects of these techniques. (I know you are, Rumi!)

The breath can be regulated by duration of inhale or exhale, location of breath, or by how number. There is a natural occurrence of a cessation of the breath, in which the ingoing and outgoing breath, merge as it were, in their dance together. This is observable at the turning of each breath, and one can become aware of it even when not doing a formal pranayama practice. A more advanced practice is that of extending the pause, although as Rumi comments, it is an effortless effort.

Investigating the pause between the incoming and outgoing breath, the point of stillness, is a lovely offering of the mind’s attention to the dance of prana.

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