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Posts Tagged ‘Discipline’

Yin Yoga and the Breath

Posted on February 1st, 2015 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

By Sarah Powers

 

Using our natural intelligence to focus on our breath and mobilize the distribution of prana throughout our body is called pranayama, which is an enhancement discipline that involves three aspects: inhalation (puraka); exhalation (rechaka); and the gap between, or suspension of breath (kumbhaka). By varying our respiration and holding our breath, we enhance the quality and mortality of the prana within. When practiced skillfully, intentional breathing has physical, energetic, and mental benefits. Physically, it helps oxygenate the blood and strengthens our digestive, eliminative, circulatory, and respiratory systems. Energetically, a pranayama practice helps balance, concentrate, and harmonize the flow of prana within us. When our energy is imbalanced, our prana is dissipated and weak, often resulting in unpredictable and dissonant emotions that leak out in uncontrolled, chaotic ways. A yogi, on the other hand, is described as someone whose prana is contained within the center of her body. Her emotional life is rich and her mind is clear.

 

In pranayama, we attempt to reduce the amount of prana that leaks out and enliven the quality of energy existing within us. This is not possible without concentration. Our mind is closely linked to the quality of our prana, and our breath influences our pranic body. When we concentrate on using our breath to balance the subtle (or energy) body, there is a unifying effect on our overall state of being.

 

Through aligning our minds with our breath, we can experience relaxed alertness in the energy body and mind, a state that has extremely therapeutic effects on the body. The key ingredient is attention. As we watch our breath, we begin to tune in to our capacity for focus and concentration, qualities that arouse meditative awareness. Pranayama is therefore a wonderful practice to sequence before meditation, because it tethers the mind and prana within our body, amplifying our awareness in the present moment.

 

The breath can be thought of as the catalyst for inner circulation. When we engage in full use of our diaphragm in an unhurried and conscious way, we assist in enhancing the distribution of prana throughout our bodies. This style of breathing is called Ujjayi (“victorious”) breath and has a number of benefits. As we slow down the rhythm of each breath, it has a soothing effect on our nervous system. This in turn releases the tensions in our body, helping us to feel more relaxed. As we let go, we tune in to the sound of our breathing, helping to diminish the distractions of the mind and leading to more inner quietude. Focusing on the breath in this way helps increase our ability to concentrate in an effortless manner, preparing the body and mind for deeper integration.

 

Excerpt from: Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers.

 

To learn more about Sarah Powers, visit her website at www.sarahpowers.com, and check out her DVD’s and online courses here at Pranamaya.

powers

 SARAH POWERS

An internationally acclaimed master teacher, Sarah Powers weaves the insights and practices of yoga and Buddhist meditation in an integrated practice that seeks to enliven the body, heart, and mind. Her yoga style blends a yin sequence of long-held poses to enhance the meridian and organ systems, with a yang or flow practice influenced by Viniyoga, Ashtanga, and alignment-based vinyasa teachings. – Read more HERE.

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Q&A: Sri Dharma Mittra on Ahimsa and Vegetarianism

Posted on December 27th, 2011 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Sri DharmaSri Dharma Mittra has devoted much of his life to service and teaching. In 1967, he founded the Yoga Asana Center in New York City, which is known today as the Dharma Yoga Center, and he’s been teaching weekly classes and offering his wisdom there ever since. The Sacred Cow talked to Dharma this month about ahimsa and vegetarianism. Read More »»

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Attached to Your Practice—Or Just Disciplined?

Posted on July 16th, 2011 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

yoga practiceWe practice yoga and meditation for many reasons, one of which is to let go of our attachments to emotions, relationships, and habitual patterns and addictions. But what if we start to develop an attachment to our practice? And how do we know if it’s an attachment—or if it’s discipline? Read More »»

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A Vacation … From Yoga?

Posted on July 4th, 2011 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

water yogaIt’s Fourth of July … or Christmas, or spring break. You’re leaving behind your job and your daily routines to take a pause from life and your myriad responsibilities. Yes! It’s a good thing to do, no doubt. But temporarily letting go of your regular routine may also mean letting go of your regularly scheduled yoga classes or home practice. For most of us, a vacation from work can also mean a vacation from yoga. Read More »»

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Not in the Mood for Yoga?

Posted on February 22nd, 2011 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Even yogis have bad moods. Just because we have a mindfulness practice doesn’t mean crappy stuff doesn’t happen. A lousy day at work. A breakup. An unsettling email. Or maybe someone steals your parking spot as you’re trying to make it to—of all things—a yoga class. And then suddenly, things feel terribly wrong. And, of course, sometimes nothing happens and things still feel terribly wrong. Read More »»

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Welcome to The Sacred Cow

Posted on July 12th, 2010 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Karen in a TwistWelcome to The Sacred Cow! This is a new blog that I have developed in conjunction with Pranamaya to further the company’s mission of creating thoughtful and unique conversations about yoga.

If you aren’t already familiar with Pranamaya, it’s an innovative San Francisco-based company that creates one-of-a-kind media—mostly DVDs—with modern yoga masters like Sri Dharma Mittra, Paul Grilley, Sarah Powers, and Gary Kraftsow. The company was founded in 2002 by longtime friends Ian Albert and Mark Holmes to capture the teachings of these great thinkers and practitioners, and offer those teachings to the world. Read More »»

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Q&A: Mark Horner on Preparatory Practices

Posted on July 10th, 2010 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

internal cleanseThis month, The Sacred Cow talks to Mark Horner, a San Francisco Bay Area-based Shadow Yoga teacher, about the importance of preparatory work in asana practice.

Preparatory work consists of simple, yet dynamic movements and positions that are given to a student to practice before he or she even begins an asana practice.  They are an important part of Shadow Yoga, which was developed by master teacher Zhander Remete and is an evolving style of yoga that draws from the shared principles of Hatha Yoga and self-cultivating arts like martial arts and dance.

Read More »»

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