This month, we are working with the element of Air or Vayu, so that we can more deeply experience Prana in our bodies. Prana is the life force with in our bodies, and with in all living things, that enlivens us and makes us feel alive. Its the difference between a statue (or a rigidly held Yoga posture which we as Western Yogis experience all too often in class) and a living, breathing, embodied person. "Breath is the life of beings, therefore it is called the life of all. Those to venerate it, live life to its full."
The Sanskrit word Prana as translates as "Pra" to fill "na" to breath, to live. My teacher Shiva Rea says that it is "the One breath breathing us all."
Specifically in class we are and will continue to explore 5 movements of Prana apana - downward, rooting We experience this in the rooting sensation in our feet in standing postures providing stability. prana - rising, indrawing We experience this as we extend out to our fingertips when we extend our arms or legs, like in warrior 1 or dancing warrior. samana - contracts in the core We experience this when we hug our muscles to the bone or hug the midline of our body. In Anusara Yoga, we call it hugging to the midline, embracing the Divine that resides deep within your core. vyana - expands omnidirectionally This is where we expand through or entire body, it makes the body light and strong. udana - rises and moves outward We will feel this as music rising from the core out through the heart and mouth as in the mantra Om.
The marriage between these movements of Prana is what gives us a feeling of life. The exchange between inhale and exhale, the dynamic movement of expansion and contraction, the play of life. So in our practices together this month, lets make our intention be, to experience our breath more fully. As always, I encourage you to not contain this practice to the mat only. Allow your breath to live fully through your awareness in each situation. Watch how you respond.
See you soon! Kat