You can imagine that I retreated to the yoga mat again this week. It has been an emotional and mental taxing kind of week as I continually reflect on the passing of my grandma.
I searched the Do Yoga With Me website to find the best way to practice and support myself. Initially unsure, I picked the Yoga for Anxiety video.
Thinking, "I'm not anxious!"
Yet, I was pulled to this practice. Rightly so, it was time to breath...
As Do Yoga With Me's, David Procyshyn stated,
"...this practice is all about getting things unstuck. Anxiety is often about holding on to stuff. So using breath and movement to push that stuff through. To feel much more relaxed and at ease."
Although, I don't really see myself as anxious, what David was offering was exactly what I needed. Releasing the tension and hold of grief.
It is time to get unstuck.
The dominant feature of this practice was pranayama, yogic breath. So essential to yoga as it is one of the foundational aspects found in the eight limbs of Patanjali's yoga sutras.
This practice began with focused breath through the "four quadrants" of the torso - the front stomach, the side ribs and the rear back. It was very beneficial and focused way to start. It foreshadowed what was to come in the rest of the practice.
We covered three notable breathing practices below.
1. Breath of Joy
A welcomed breathe, Breath of Joy was an amazing rush of oxygen. As Yoga International states:
"The Breath of Joy awakens your whole system. It increases oxygen levels in the bloodstream, temporarily stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, circulating more prana, and gently stoking agni."
Oh - agni again. Better yet, here’s a brief video that demonstrates it much better than my written words.
This breath is literally translated as “Skull Shining Breath”. Sounds some what scary and forceful. Yet, as I began the short, explosive exhales, the body responded with a relaxation reflex. The more I did it, the more things began to let go.
To find a description and better yet, a video of what is Kapalabhati is all about look no further than below.
3. Lion’s Breath
Now this pranayama I’m no stranger too. I written about it before. Nothing like a little child’s play to lighten my load. Roaring like a lion, releasing my jaw and rolling my eyes clearly can push “stuff” out. It was a welcomed breath or two to blow out all that grief.
Easily, each of these forms of pranayama could be explored in their own individual blog post. Maybe another week.
The breath work was such a nice focus this week. At the end of practice, I had a release of tension and calming effect to get on with the rest of my day.
The power of breathing,
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.