The potency of pranayama to bring poise and peace

Wonderful people, tender people, courageous people, weary people, you, and you, and me. I am reading inspirational verses from people who never knew they could write, or pray, or stand up and shout truth to power, or get down and weep. What connects us now are our aspirations and fears, air hugs and virtual communities. Connecting… this is the new norm.

Waking up to a new world we have options, choices, and wow! How about that! If your day used to begin with that alarm pushing you to the morning joe and out the door, now you have this rare opportunity. A new day-to-day routine.

Join me each Wednesday at 7:30am for an hour of practice. Please have several yoga blankets or thick towels which you can fold lengthwise to support your spine.  Streaming with YogaWorks at https://www.yogaworks.com/classes/live/. Please review this pdf on how to prepare your blankets.

I begin each day with pranayama and meditation. Those early morning moments when I am between my shadow/dream life and the daily waking me-self are the most precious gems of experience. Connecting with the vital and subtle energy in my being through my breath reminds me of the rhythmic ebb and flow inherent in everything corporal. And the in-between moments, the pause before the next cycle, that is where grace hovers, waiting for me to inhale its fragrance of tranquility.

This practice cultivates great sensitivity. In Light on Life, Śrī B.K.S. Iyengar says “Sensitivity is not weakness or vulnerability, it is clarity of perception and allows judicious, precise action.” To awaken and greet each day with an affirmation of life; to clear the cobwebs of sleep and tune my mind to a finer sensibility; to set my heart aright and true to myself; and to recognize the potency of this simple thing we call breath, this is what the pranayama practice does for me.

In these unique times, I find myself vacillating between feeling overwhelmed and either manic or paralyzed with what I seem to have no control over. At other times, gratitude fills me and I succumb to a tenderness for all of humanity when I see the sacrifices people are making to protect and save others. Like a pendulum, my emotions swing. Yoga has trained me to watch and see these natural tendencies in my thoughts and behavior. Yoga has also given me the tools to lesson the momentum of the swing, to cultivate a middle way, and to find an inner poise even within these challenges.

The Bhagavad Gita includes a dedicated breath oriented practice as a sacrificial act “some offer inhalation into exhalation and others, exhalation into inhalation, restraining the path of inhalation and exhalation, intent on the control of the vital breath.” -Sloka IV.29.

Let this ocean of energy bear up the lungs and let it purify the body and refine the consciousness. –Light on Life, pg. 76

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