Breath is the foundation of human life: inhalation is our first act when we enter this body, this world - and exhalation our last act when we leave it. There is ample evidence in both modern science and the more ancient indigenous yoga teachings gifted to us from India showing that developing the ability to control and extend the breath - the essence of prāṇāyāma / प्राणायाम practice - is as important or perhaps even more important than asana/postural practice in its ability to improve health, increase vitality, hone mental clarity - all of which help us lead longer and happier lives. Developing the ability to control and attune to our breathing enables both the rhythm of performing yoga poses and relaxing the mind. Pranayama is part of the "outer" limbs of a well grounded and holistic yoga practice. And, cultivation of proper breathing through the regular practice of pranayama, along with asana and the first two limbs of ethical precepts (yama) and self observances (niyama) not only brings wellbeing: these practices together aid our efforts to calm and control the reactions of the mind to the challenges, stresses and anxieties of modern living and prepare us for the challenging practice of meditation.
Pranayama is the necessary next, deeper step, after asana or posture practice, on the path to the state of union with Source - that is, the state of yoga - which is the birthright of every human being.
In this workshop, Michelle will share teachings from yoga shastra, including the Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, that illustrate and emphasize the importance of pranayama practice, along with a brief discussion of modern scholarly investigations into the effects and benefits of intentional breathing. Participants will then learn and practice the Four Purifications of Baba Hari Das - easy and gentle daily kriyas or cleansing practices that sensibly prepare the body for more challenging pranayama practices to come later. After a short break, Michelle will help students learn four beginning pranayama practices, which can be slowly cultivated and integrated over time as part of their daily sadhana.
All participants will be given a laminated worksheet outlining both the Four Purifications, plus the four pranayama practices outlined in the workshop, along with a program they can follow to gain progress incrementally over 3 months. Michelle will be available for guidance and Q&A via an online Facebook practice group during this time period, as well as in person after Mysore sessions at the shala, or via email.
NOTE: If there is a desire for it by participants, a refresher/follow up workshop will be planned for late April/early May. Participants in this workshop will get 15% off the followup workshop.
Prāṇāyāma is a a Sanskrit word made of up two words - prāṇā meaning "lifeforce" and ayāma, meaning "extension."
Click here to purchase.
Attendees must have a grounded and regular asana practice in any modality of yoga to attend.
Space is limited to 12 students.
Cost: $40. Includes workshop, laminated worksheet guide and access to a Facebook practice group, plus ability to follow up with Michelle in the coming months, and a 15% discount on any upcoming pranayama workshops with Michelle.