Pranayama is one of the areas that I’ve historically found hard, but an area which I’ve felt that I’ve both improved on, and started to appreciate more, during my ytt. When I first started yoga as the self confessed gym bunny that I am, I always used to find the pranayama part of a yoga class somewhat pointless and a bit of a waste of time – can’t we just get on with the class? I was always (literally) running to my yoga class during lunch break and wanted to make the most of it. I guess that’s my vata body in action!
In my yoga sessions of old, no-one really explained the purpose of the more complex pranayama, nor how we were meant to properly execute the breathing techniques. I think I had ujjai sussed as I used to spend most of my time in a hot class – without ujjai I would have died a slow (or actually a very quick!) death! But the rest of them – a couple of teachers tried to introduce them, but in a big mixed ability class, they never really had time to explain what we were doing. I therefore found myself aimlessly trying to follow the person sitting next to me (who probably also didn’t know what they were really doing either, but pretended they did), spent the time daydreaming a bit, planning lunch and really just waiting for it to be over and the ‘real’ class to begin – that’s vata me in action again!
What I’ve found during the last few weeks is that I can actually do and appreciate the different pranayama techniques, and I can do these for however long Jessica asks us to, and it’s all good. I’m not sitting there waiting for it to finish. In fact, I can get quite lost in myself and truly relax.
Pranayama is definitely an area I will take into my everyday life – and introduce it to those close to me, to help them relax, centre and set themselves up for a great day ahead or a great nights sleep. May the expansion of life force be with you.