Through classical breathwork, we learn to expand the prana, or vital energy. In this beginning pranayama course, you will learn techniques for revitalization, relaxation, and balancing of energy through yogic breathwork. You will learn how to sit, use accessory muscles in breathing, and deepen your lung capacity. You will learn the true meaning of pranayama through practice, which is not to control breath, but to expand vital energy. Techniques are drawn from years of practice through the Sivananda Yoga Ashrams and The Ayurvedic Institute.
Beyond this, you will gain an intimacy with the breath itself, understanding the qualities of the techniques, and how to sense those such that you will be able to sequence as per your needs going forward of this course. You will learn how to subtly embrace life and let go through working with the breath and be gently guided towards meditation. Several meditation techniques are also offered as part of these sessions.
Additional reading materials and homework suggestions will be offered.
8 classes, 1 hour each (this course can be shortened or lengthened to any length)
Classical Techniques Explored
extremely heat producing and detoxifying for the body. It increases flow of air into the body, lung capacity, and often enhances the ability to retain the breath without strain. Therefore, it is a great aid to meditation practice
translates directly as “skull shining” breath is often called breath of fire. Though technically considered a cleansing kriya more than a pranayama technique, it can be very useful to learn the parts of the breath, use of the diaphragm muscle, and passive inhalation. It massages the internal organs, brings energy toward the heart for increased circulation.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
is a pranayama technique is beneficial for all body types and doshas and can be practiced alone as a complete pranayama practice in and of itself. (effect: balancing, nadi purification, kundalini awakening). It can be helpful for balancing irregular cycles like sleep and hormones.
is a kriya is said to balance digestive fire, hence it's name which tranlastes to "perfect fire". It is not a classical pranayama technique but can be an aid to the practice.
translates to victorious breath. It’s effects are tranquilizing and heating, therefore most beneficial for increased vāta dosha. It is said to remove diseases of the dhatu, 7 constituents of the body: blood, bone, marrow, fat, semen, skin, and flesh.
Shitali and Shitkari
are cooling, tranquilizing, balancing breaths, which help to control hunger and thirst, and reduce high blood pressure. These are considered minor pranayamas and are more useful in hotter climate or in high pitta conditions.
or bumble bee breath is the third minor pranayama which is used to relieve mental tension and clear the throat. Sometimes practiced with closing the ears or full shanmukhi mudra to increase pratyahara, sense withdrawal, and enhance meditative effects. This is excellent for racing thoughts, stress, imbalanced hormones, and anxiety
or upward song is a pranayama I have only experienced through ayurveda guru Dr. Vasant Lad and have not seen official writing about. However, the use of sound or chanting within pranayama or as pranayama is classical. Singing can be the best pranayama!
Additional Learning: several meditations and non-classical techniques will be offered to enjoy and explore the breath.
Are you ready for an intimate experience with breath?
Take this course if you want to:
Bring depth to simple practices that are so often left out of “mainstream” yoga. Practices like pranayama and chair yoga as well as discourse around the ethical principles (yamas and niyamas) will set you up to introduce yoga to people who never thought it applied to them or reach those who never felt comfortable in a traditional mat class.
Create the space in your home that supports a life of balance and resilience. Ayurveda is also central to this course. Expand your idea of what practice really means and create a lifestyle that supports longevity.
The work of personal transformation opens doors to diverse classrooms, settings, and radical imaginings of ways to spread love.
With Anjali and her team of guest instructors and collaborators, we learn how to live our practice beyond the mat. We can begin to interact with each other with personal and community accountability. We can create a world more inclusive and welcoming to those we may see as different from ourselves. We can feel whole.