As we continue to explore the poses and our breathing practices, we are expanding our level of awareness. We are learning to pay attention. We are discovering what it is to be in the present moment. And, it is in the present moment that we experience our true “state of yoga.” It is where we see our connection and remember who we are.
The fourth limb of the yogic system is pranayama or breath control. It is made up of a range of techniques that begin with simple awareness and continue on with more intensive control approaches.
Although pranayama is an integral part of yoga, the practice is not generally taught until a student is comfortable resting with their breath in either a supine or seated position. In this way, a student learns to relax completely in order to receive the breath.
Breathing practices give your mind focus – you virtually tune in when you pay attention to your breath. This can occur whether you are in a resting pose or actively performing the asanas. As many teachers will tell you, “if it is not with the breath, it is not yoga.”
I have been spending the month of August exploring the style of yoga known as Viniyoga. I was first introduced to this method through the work of T.K.V. Desikachar. As the son of one of the greatest yogis, Krishnamacharya, Desikachar has carried down his father’s teachings in a very comprehensive yet practical manner.
In his book, “The Heart of Yoga“, Desikachar addresses the importance of adaptation and customization in yoga. The fundamental principle of the Viniyoga tradition is that an individual should begin from his/her own starting point. From there, a student is directed to develop a practice with techniques designed to promote self-awareness.
Focusing on the Breath
Viniyoga’s main position is that the breath and movement should be linked. While many forms of hatha yoga reference the breath, it is the repetition and rhythm of coordinating the movement and breath that is key to Viniyoga. Continue reading “What is Viniyoga?”→
As we progress through life, we periodically encounter times of stress and bouts of physical, mental and spiritual imbalance. Although this blog primarily focuses on the system of yoga, there are various modalities available for releasing tension – methods that can direct us back to balance so that we may reconnect with our true nature. Most of these techniques complement the practice of yoga, making its effect even more beneficial.
Jin Shin Jyutsu is one such method of healing. Known as the Japanese art of harmonizing life energy, it is a noninvasive approach to restoring the body that utilizes energy channels or meridians to unlock stress and pain.
The sessions involve light touches on certain areas of the body that correspond to specific energy pathways. Although many times a practitioner facilitates the flow of energy for re-opening, it is the participants themselves who are the true intuitive healers through this sensation of touch.
Jin Shin Jyutsu has the potential to correct many imbalances that we experience. There are several flows or holding sequences that are centered around the organs of the body and the major meridian channels. These are best introduced with the help of a practitioner. Currently, I am undergoing sessions for assistance with trigeminal neuralgia at A Spa For You here in Sedona.
There are also basic finger flows that can be self administered. Your challenge this week is to use the chart below to locate any area(s) that may be valuable and healing for you.