I am so happy that spring is here, even though I know here in New England we could easily have some more snow before its over. My crocus are blooming (under the piles of leaves) and I see the sprouts of my hostas and daffodils….I hope that your yoga practice is including some beautiful, solitary walks in nature, perhaps a walking meditation.
Fourth Limb - Pranayama - Breath
As we continue our exploration of the 8 limbs of yoga, we reach the fourth this week, pranayama, which is yoga breathing techniques or practice. The word comes from two Sanskrit words: prana (life force) and ayama (expansion). I recently read an explanation of this s explaining that in the “eight-limbed system, pranayama sits at the intersection between the more worldly, physical practices and those that that develop the mind”. (More on those in the upcoming weeks!)
Prana is the life force or energy that runs through our body. Pranayama is the practice of controlling and directing this energy primarily by controlling the flow of breath. There are many different techniques that work towards different results. We can use the breath to calm and balance, to energize mind and body-the goal is to promote our overall physical, mental, and spiritual health.
For more on pranayama, I like the following article from yoga sanctuary very much.
Our practice – Ujjayi Breath – AKA Ocean Breath (or Darth Vader Breath)
We talk about ujjayi breath in class often. The Zoom students probably know firsthand how this sounds: when I have my mic on, they can hear this breath better than anyone! In fact, my friend (and college roommate) Julie, after taking a Zoom class with me, called back right after, and asked “Jule, who was breathing so loud during class?” I burst out laughing, of course it was me (invoking Darth Vader apparently).
This pranayama technique is one that is warming and energizing. Great for a vinyasa flow class (or preparing for a run); not a great technique for a yin class or falling asleep. If there is interest, we can certainly explore other techniques of pranayama. Let me know!
We will practice ujjayi this week, for more detail on the practice see link below.
Meditation on Breath
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk, meditation teacher, & author
Nurturing with Food – Nothing in the House for Lunch Bowl
The other day a friend and I were talking about food (no big surprise). We were talking about making a salad with quinoa or farro and the different salad fixings we would pile on. She looked at me and said, "remember when we just threw everything leftover in the fridge into a bowl and called it a big salad? Well, now it is a thing you go out for, and they call it a bowl and people pay money for it!" We laughed so hard…
This “recipe” is one I have posted before. It came to me during the heart of the pandemic when I was trying to come up with a healthy lunch every day and was not venturing out often to the stores. So rather than a recipe, it is some ideas for making a “nothing in the fridge for lunch” bowl…. (aka as a big salad-warm or cold).
See you on the mat!