Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,
This week in class we will be exploring Pranayama, the fourth limb of Yoga.
Pranayama – rhythmic control of the breath.
In verses II.49 – II.53 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras the concept of pranayama is presented.
II.49 – tasmin sati svasa prasvasayoh gativice hedah pranyamah
Pranayama is the regulation of the incoming and outgoing flow of breath with retention. It is to be practiced only after perfection in asana is attained.
Prana means breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy or strength. Ayama means length, expansion, stretching, or restraint.
Normally the flow of breath is unrestrained and irregular. Observing these variations, and conditioning the mind to control the inflow, outflow and retention of the breath in a regular, rhythmic pattern, is pranayama.
II.52 – tatah ksiyate prakasa avaranam
Pranayama removes the veil covering the light of knowledge and heralds the dawn of wisdom.
Its [pranayama] practice destroys illusion, consisting of ignorance, desire and delusion which obscure the intelligence; and allows the inner light of wisdom to shine. As the breeze disperses the clouds that cover the sun, pranayama wafts away the clouds that hide the light of intelligence.
The yogini’s life is not measured by the number of days but by the number of breaths. Therefore she follows the proper rhythmic patterns of slow deep breathing. These rhythmic patterns strengthen the respiratory system, soothe the nervous system and reduce cravings.
As a fire blazes brightly when the covering of ash over it is scattered by the wind, the divine fire within the body shines in all its majesty when the ashes of desire are scattered by the practice of pranayama.
The practice of pranayama develops a steady mind, strong will power and sound judgment.
Why is it important to have practiced asana for some time before practicing pranayama and how does the practice of asana prepare you for the practice of pranayama?
How do the practices of yama and niyama prepare you for the practice of pranayama?
Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama, and Light on the Yoga Sutras, by BKS Iyengar
Rushing Water Yoga
Rushing Water Yoga
Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and
2003 Vancouver Washington