Pranayama, the yogic art of breathing, leads to a control of the emotions which in turn brings stability, concentration and mental poise. Pranayama is a bridge which helps the student of yoga to cross from the realm of purely physical development to that of the spirit and forms a crucial stage in his journey towards self-realisation.
In Light on Pranayama B.K.S. Iyengar defines Pranayama this way:
‘Prana’ means breath, respiration, life, vitality, energy or strength. … ‘ayama’ means stretch, extension, expansion, length, breadth, regulation prolongation, restraint or control. ‘Pranayama’ thus means the prolongation of breath and its restraint.
Pranayama is the 4th limb on the 8 fold path of Ashtanga Yoga. It comes after Asana (the 3rd limb). Once Asana has been developed then a formal Pranayama practice is introduced. In Iyengar Yoga Pranayama is first taught in a reclining position, with the upper body supported by props. This practice helps facilitates stillness and maximum relaxation so that the breath can be presented more clearly to the practitioner.
Our next Target Class is called “Introduction to Pranayama”. In this class we will discuss the aims of Pranayama, look at some helpful text books, and then practice some quiet Asanas, which culminate in a supported Savasana (above) to observe the breath. We will then discuss and practice a few preliminary Pranayamas. All levels of students are encouraged to attend.
Introduction to Pranayama
Saturday, April 28
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