The Science of the Breath: An Intro to Pranayama

Change your breath, change your mind, change your energy

The breath is the core of a Yoga Practice. The power and the reach of the breath surpasses asana. Yoga’s core intention is to move you from where you are currently to a better place. Thus, the breath is more powerful than your asana in creating a positive mental change. The breath reflects our mental and emotional states. It is through the breath we become more aware of the present moment. Inversely as we calm the breath, we calm the mind. Changing our breath patterns immediately effects our nervous system. The more yogic tools you mindfully engage as part of your practice, the more your awareness expands preparing the body and mind to safely turn inward nourishing your being. 

The yogic tool for mastering the breath is through the technique called, prāṇāyāma. In the west Prānayāma is also referred to as, yogic breathing. Prāṇāyāma techniques have been past down from teacher to student for thousands of years to help us experience and live the yoga. These ancient yogic sages living in the Himalayas fathomed the inherent quality of motion in creation and they called it, prāna. Prāna is a sanskrit word meaning, “energy” or the “vital life-force” that nourishes both the body and mind; the energy that keeps body and mind together and keeps one alive; the most subtle unit of energy. From the yogic point of view the entire universe is alive, vibrating with prāna. Āyāma, meaning to stretch, extension, expansion, length, restraint of control. Thus, prāṇāyāma is a series of techniques for controlling and expanding the dimension of prāna. Most notably, prāṇāyāma is the fourth limb of Patanjali’s Yoga Sūtras, chapter 2, sūtra 49-51) and is also disseminated at great length in several yogic texts i.e. Śiva Saṁahitā, Charaka Saṁhita, Hatha Yoga Pradīpikā and the Upaniṣads. 

A regular (daily) prāṇāyāma practice can increase your lung capacity, cleanse the nervous system, increase overall vitality and well-being. Prāṇāyāma’s use of specific rhythms and techniques bring us numerous benefits on the mental, emotional and physical levels. The ancient yogic sages understood deeply this profound science and according to the tradition through the body we connect to the breath; through the breath we link to the mind; through the mind we link to the soul. 

This workshop will provide instruction and practice of prāṇāyāma techniques that you can safely integrate into your current practice. 

In our workshop you will:

• Understand the basics of the yogic philosophy behind prāṇāyāma 

• Learn several beginner level pranayama techniques to add to your daily practice tool kit: 

- Four Part Supine Complete Breath - Deeply soothing and balancing. A master technique to balance the nervous system

- Ujjayi (Victory Breath)- Soothes Autonomic Nervous System, integrates mind/body 

- Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)- purification of the energy channels and balances the brain. 

- Brahmuri (Bumble Bee Breath)- Stills, calms and sensitizes the third eye 

- Viloma - (3 part breath with brief pauses) - Heightens the effect of ujjayi and nadi shodhana 

- Sitali- cooling (excellent for Piita), grounding

- Kapalabhati (Skull Shining Breath) - cleansing, energizing, expansive, detoxifying 

- Meditation on Breath (So Hum)- the inner/ silent sound of the breath 

Each participant will receive a detailed, illustrated handout providing resources including these techniques to begin deepening your yoga practice. 

Level: 
Beginners will get a solid introduction. 
Intermediates will get concrete, helpful hints that will greatly improve their practice.

No yoga experience necessary. Please kindly join us for a 3 hour workshop that will change your breath, change your mind, thus changing your energy. 

“As long as there is breath in the body, there is life. When breath departs, so too does life. Therefore, regulate the breath.” (Hatha Yoga Pradīpikā - ch. 2:Ś.3.)

Led by: Lesley Cruz, RYT 200
Cost: $30

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