The sectional breathing techniques are used as a preparation for the full, deep yogic breathing practice called Ujjayi Pranayama. Our normal breathing which happens involuntarily, 24 hours a day, is quite shallow and is felt only in the upper chest area. Which means that during normal breathing only the upper part of the lungs gets oxygenated. The sectional breathing technique can correct the breathing pattern and also help to increase lung capacity by encouraging fuller breathing into different areas of the lungs. Deep breathing into different parts of the lungs brings in abundant supply of fresh oxygen into these areas. This helps improve the health of the lungs as well as making more oxygenated blood available for each and every cell of the body. Because our attention is focused on different parts of the lungs, our overall awareness of the breathing process is enhanced.
In the following breathing practices, keep the eyes closed so you can completely focus on the depth and quality of breathing as well as on the movement of the arms and shoulders.
For each breathing cycle, use the Ujjayi breathing technique, keeping each breath deep and soft. It is important not to strain the breathing in any way. Try to deepen the breath only so much as not to impact the depth and quality of the subsequent breath. With practice over a period of time, you will be able to prolong the duration of each inhalation and exhalation.
I am pleased to announce the next 21-day Yoga Immersion program. The past programs have been very well received by all the participants. For most of them, it has been truly a life-transforming experience. I invite you to join me on this exciting and deeply rewarding 21-day yoga journey. Here are the particulars:
What: 21-day yoga immersion
When: Monday, October 12- Sunday, November 1, 2015
Time: 6:00 AM – 7:30 AM
Where: 4000 Bear Cat Way, Suite 102, Morrisville, NC 27560
is a very commonly practiced seated spinal twisting pose. The word is a composite two Sanskrit words – ardha, meaning "half" and Matsyendra. The literal meaning of Matsyendra is "lord of fish". However, this pose is named after the great yogi, Matsyendranath, who according to some texts is considered one of the prominent forefathers of modern yoga practices. The pose allows the spine to be twisted all the way from the base of the spine to the very top.
I invite you to watch the video and follow along for the practice.
The word ‘bhramari’ (भ्रामरी) refers to the humming sound made by a ‘bhramara’ (a bumble bee in Sanskrit). The Bhramari Pranayama consists in making a deep, soft humming bee-like sound while inhaling and exhaling.
Because Bhramari Pranayama has a very calming effect on the nerves and the mind, it is usually practiced as a prelude to meditation. As a part of the pranayama routine, it should be practiced at the end of other pranayama practices, usually after the alternate nostril breathing (naadi shuddhi, aka Anuloma Viloma), prior to getting ready for meditation.
Bhramari Pranayama is also practiced as a part of the yoga tradition called Nada Yoga (yoga of sound). As the name implies, Nada Yoga uses the element of sound, both external and internal, to reach higher levels of consciousness. In the subtle stage of Nada Yoga, one listens to internal sounds allowing the perceived sound to arise spontaneously. The Bhramari Pranayama is used as a preliminary stage of the practice of Nada Yoga.
Come and join me for this life-transforming experience where you will learn two of the most important aspects of a complete, integrated yoga practice – pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation. In this program you will be introduced to many of the breathing techniques that are mentioned in our ancient yogic texts. You will also learn the concepts and techniques of meditation.
No prior pranayama or meditation experience is required.
When: Monday, September 14 – Sunday, September 27, 2015
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 AM
Location: 4000 Bearcat Way, Suite 102, Morrisville, NC 27560
Boat pose (Navasana – नावासनor Naukasana – नौकासन) is one of the basic poses that can be practiced to effectively build core strength (in addition to many other benefits, as given here). It is usually practiced along with some of the other poses that are practiced from the supine position – for example, the shoulder stand (sarvangasana), fish pose (matsyasana), bridge pose (setu-bandhasana) etc.
I am presenting here a video of the boat pose along with some of the variations. Hope you’ll enjoy practicing with the video.
In some of my previous posts I have discussed the need for and the importance of establishing a home-based yoga practice. As we know, it is only through a regular home practice that we can realize all the benefits that yoga can offer. Moreover, as I like to emphasize in my classes, yoga practice must include all the three major components – asana (physical postures), pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation. So, ideally your practice should include all three. If you are strapped for time, you can split these practices during different times of the day as long as you give yourself a gap of about three hours after a full meal. For example, you can do asana and pranayama in the morning and meditation in the evening, or vice versa.
The most common reason that I hear for not practicing at home is lack of time. It is true that both job and family life demand a lot of time and attention. However, if we can set our priorities right, it is always possible to find the time needed for a yoga routine.
Given the paucity of time, many of my students ask me to recommend a "bare minimum" practice that they can do on a daily basis. They can do a more complete routine as and when they find the time. I firmly believe that when you establish a daily routine, even though for a short duration, you will start realizing the benefits of the practice. Once you notice the benefits, you are likely to be motivated to spend more time on your practice.
Stress relief or stress management is perhaps one of the most common reasons why people join a yoga class. In addition to the mental and emotional suffering caused by stress, most people tend to feel its physical manifestation in the form of pain or discomfort in the neck and shoulder area. Of course, stress can manifest in other areas as well, for example, jaws, spine or the hips etc. However, neck and shoulders are the ones most commonly mentioned by my students. The problem is further exacerbated because most of us sit in front the computer all day long in non-optimal postures which causes further strain to the neck and shoulders.
In today’s post, I am pleased to present a video demonstration of a few simple stretches that will bring relief to your tensed up neck muscles. Since I have a torn rotator cuff and a stiff neck (both resulting from the same accident), I am not in a position to demonstrate the neck stretches effectively. My good friend, Ami, has graciously agreed to demonstrate these stretches in the video. Hope you will enjoy practicing with the video.
We should note that neck and shoulder muscles are intimately connected together and it is best to practice stretches that will benefit both the areas.
is a beginner level back-bending pose, which is normally practiced along with a couple of other back-bending poses like the Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) and Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose). Even though the basic version of the pose is relatively easy to practice, it still offers excellent benefits for the health of the spine.
The word "shalabha" in Sanskrit means a locust. In the final position the pose roughly resembles a locust (grasshopper) – hence the name.
I hope you will enjoy practicing with the video demonstration.
Parshvottanasana (पार्श्वोत्तानासन) (standing side stretch)
is a beginning to intermediate level pose which is great for the health of the legs as well as the spine. It provides an excellent stretch for the entire back side of the legs, hamstrings in particular.