Daily Yoga Practice Week #2

meditation-2307812__340I started my journey back to a full yoga practice last week. It was a little difficult getting to my mat each morning before the traditional tea or coffee “kick start” but, as I stated in my last post, putting meditation/breathing as the first order of business is the best way for me to seal the habit.

So, it was wonderful. I spent about 6 minutes doing the prescribed practice before heading into my usual 20-30 minute asana session. I found that the breathing and meditation helped me to delve deeper into my hatha yoga. Overall, my practice felt stronger and more effective. 

This week, my plan is to try to drink more water and get more sleep. 6-8 glasses and 6-8 hours should be a good goal.

If you are wanting to take the Daily Yoga challenge with me, here’s this week’s plan:

1.) Centering (Sacred Space, Invocation & Resurrection Breath).

I’ll be focusing on the niyama shaucha (or purification) which should connect well with the increases in water and sleep!

2.) Sipping Breath (we covered this last week).

3.) EEEE Mantra:

  • Inhale quickly though your open mouth.
  • Exhale while chanting aloud a strong and persistent EEEEEE sound while smiling.
  • Keep the sound strong, try not to waver and end decisively.
  • Hold the breath as long as comfortable then rest.

Repeat 2 more times

4.) Be Still (2-3 minutes)

If you’d like a guide, here’s my audio version of the sequence:

Be sure to follow this practice with either a Hatha Yoga class/practice or some other form of exercise that you may be currently doing. Again, this segment doesn’t have to happen every day.

My Tip:  If you are having trouble remembering the techniques/sequences, try recording the instructions on your phone (use the Voice Memos App) or computer like I have. Simply use my links to the directions and record the cues that will keep you on track.

Shanti Friends!

Control Your Life Force

This sounds like a pretty intense request, doesn’t it?  Control your life force. What exactly does that mean?

In yoga, we define life force as Prana.

It is simply the energy that flows through us. Although it is not physiologically documented, prana is known to be carried into and out of the body through the breath.

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Pranayama is the control of the life force.

You may remember the term pranayama from this week’s YOLY Challenge.  We can control our life force or prana when we manipulate the breath and direct it in some manner.

As the fourth limb of the yogic system, pranayama is made up of a range of techniques that begin with simple awareness and continue with more intensive control approaches. Although pranayama is an integral part of the postures, it is not generally taught until a student is comfortable resting with their breath in either a supine or seated position.

Why should we practice pranayama?

It is an essential aspect of yoga that takes into account the body as well as the mind.

As we learn to deepen and slow down our breathing habits, our lung capacity extends, oxygen levels increase and all systems benefit.

Breathing practices also give your mind focus – you virtually tune in when you pay attention to your breath.  This can occur whether you are in a resting pose or actively performing the asanas. As many teachers will tell you, “if it is not with the breath, it is not yoga.”

Through this blog, I hope to share many of the various pranayama methods with you. While some are relaxing and clarifying, others can be energizing, stimulating, or even mind blowing.

I told you this would be intense. Proceed with caution.

YOLY = Year of Living Yogically Challenge #1

invocationA nice challenge to begin this journey… to find one new way each week to live yogically (a word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary btw).

So, lets take it. The challenge I mean. We can do this.  It’s Monday, the beginning of the blog, the start of summer – a good day to begin our YOLY.

This first week, I challenge you (and me) to take 5 minutes each day to breathe. Just breathe. Set your phone’s timer – after making it silent – and find a quiet place to be with your breath.

Simply allow your body to breath you.