PRANAYAMA & THE BREATH MODULE Yoga Rahasya states that pranayama without application of the three does

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  • © Yoga Teacher Central 2016. All rights reserved.

    PRANAYAMA & THE BREATH

    MODULE

    1

  • TERMINOLOGY & DEFINITIONS

    BREATHING FUNDAMENTALS

    PERSPECTIVES & CAUTIONS

    © Yoga Teacher Central 2016. All rights reserved.

    CONTENTS

    2

    PRANAYAMA TECHNIQUES

    BASIC BREATH TRAINING & YOGIC

    BREATHING

    Pranayama & The Breath Module

  • PERSPECTIVES

    TEACHING BEGINNERS

    Chapter Highlights

    © Yoga Teacher Central 2016. All rights reserved.

    PERSPECTIVES & CAUTIONS

    A long and subtle breath establishes a calm

    mind. A calm mind is the foundation for

    everything great.

    — Yogini Kaliji

    1

    QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    MORE CAUTIONS

    CHRONIC CONDITIONS

    Version 2.0

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    QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    • Describe multiple perspectives from which to examine the topic of

    pranayama.

    • How is teaching breath practices different from teaching formal

    pranayama?

    • Which practices are safe for beginners? Which are not?

    • What aspect of the breath cycle requires particular experience and skill

    to safely practice and teach?

    • Describe cautions to be observed during a practice, such as the

    environment, sequencing related to other class elements, advising

    students, etc.

    2

  • © Yoga Teacher Central 2016. All rights reserved.

    PRANA

    • Prana as life-force energy separate from

    the breath, and the relationship between

    Prana and breath

    • Energy concepts and subtle anatomy

    from yoga philosophy

    BASIC BREATH TRAINING &

    YOGIC BREATHING

    • Basic breath training, such as awareness

    of the breath

    • Yogic Breathing to increase respiratory

    efficiency

    BREATH & BREATHING

    FUNDAMENTALS

    • Physical process of breathing

    • Impact of breath on nervous system

    • Fundamentals of natural breathing

    PERSPECTIVES There are multiple angles from which to examine the topic of pranayama and breathing.

    While all are relevant and related, awareness of

    the distinctions will assist you in organizing your

    own study and in choosing teachings for

    different situations.

    We offer expert teachings in each of these areas.

    3

    PRANAYAMA

    • Pranayama as one of the 8 Limbs and a

    yogic technique to access, stabilize,

    refine and direct prana

    • Cautions

    • Techniques

    This Course covers distinctions

    between teaching beginners and

    experienced students plus other

    general teaching cautions.

  • © Yoga Teacher Central 2016. All rights reserved.

    4

    TEACHING BEGINNERS

    Pranayama is attempted only when the body,

    nervous system, and lungs have been

    strengthened by asana practice. This usually

    takes at least two years. As breath is subtle,

    even more care has to be taken over it than

    over the asanas.

    — Silva Mehta, Yoga: The Iyengar Way

    • Don't teach advanced

    techniques to inexperienced

    students

    • Teach preparatory practices

    to beginners

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    Although many students may not yet be ready for most

    pranayama, basic breath practices are excellent

    preparation.

    It is important to tell [new students] explicitly that in yoga

    we are interested in how we go, not how far we go.

    – Mark Stephens, Yoga Sequencing

    5

    • Traditional wisdom teaches that pranayama requires a

    still body and calm mind as developed through asana.

    Some lineages adhere to this while other modern

    styles teach pranayama alongside asana.

    • In considering this point, bring to mind raw beginners

    who exhibit bodily tension, habitual egoic aggression,

    and an inability (yet) to listen to their body or observe

    their mind. What tends to happen when they are asked

    to sit still for an unknown period of time while

    counting or extending their breath? Often we see

    rounded shoulders and stiff torsos, strained faces and

    tense bodies as these students heroically "fight" to

    perform the task they have been given.

    • For in-depth support on teaching safe breath-related

    practices, see Breathing Fundamentals and Practices.

    TEACHING BEGINNERS

    https://yogateachercentral.com/members-only/pranayama-primer/breathing-practices/fundamentals/

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    CHRONIC CONDITIONS

    • The majority of breath

    practices and pranayama

    techniques are intended for

    relatively healthy individuals.

    • General yoga often helps

    relieve temporary physical

    and emotional states.

    • Students with chronic

    conditions, however, should

    be referred to a yoga

    therapist or other expert. Please note that I'm not recommending that you try to

    breathe away chronic anxiety, fatigue, or depression.

    None of these conditions is easily or safely self-treated.

    In fact, tackling them by yourself, without professional

    supervision, could make them worse. But your breath

    can be a powerful ally in coping with temporary

    physical and emotional states—whether you're

    despondent about an argument with a close friend,

    apprehensive about an upcoming job interview, or

    exhausted after a tough day at work.

    — Richard Rosen

    http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/1523?utm_source=DailyInsight&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=DailyInsight

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    7

    Only teach breath retention if you are

    specifically qualified to do so.

    Teach breath retention only to

    experienced students.

    • Spontaneous pauses may be part of an evolution of practice.

    Pranayama practices incorporating kumbhaka, however, are known

    to be powerful while also presenting serious risk.

    • Holding the breath is only recommended for experienced students

    with qualified teachers.

    • Most recommend kumbhaka only with awareness of bandhas.

    BREATH RETENTION

    One should be very careful about retention… It

    should be practiced properly under personal

    guidance, without going beyond what a teacher

    tells us. The prana is very powerful energy. We

    shouldn’t play with cobras without a proper

    cobra trainer nearby.

    – Sri Swami Satchidananda

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    Simple breathing exercises such as diaphragmatic

    breathing can be healthy and helpful. But in order

    to really practice pranayama the knowledge and

    application of the bandhas is important. Without

    the application of the bandhas, pranayama

    practices can be injurious to one's health. A

    comprehensive knowledge of both the theory and

    practice of the bandhas is essential.

    – Swami Rama, Path of Fire and Light, Vol. 1

    PRANAYAMA & BANDHAS

    While many breathing exercises

    are safe for all healthy

    students, formal pranayama

    requires knowledge of

    bandhas.

    Serious pranayama should not be practiced

    without prior knowledge of the bandhas... The

    Yoga Rahasya states that pranayama without

    application of the three bandhas does not confer

    benefits and that without the bandhas, pranayama

    is useless and may give rise to disease. Contrarily,

    if done with all three bandhas, pranayama will

    destroy the causes of all diseases.

    – Gregor Maehle, Pranayama The Breath of Yoga

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    NOT EVERYONE EXPERIENCES PRACTICES THE SAME WAY

    9

    “My beloved long-time teacher Donald Moyer... was personally trained by B.K.S. Iyengar. He told

    me that the type of classic pranayama that Iyengar taught made him… nervous or anxious or

    something like that. That’s why Donald came up with his own way of practicing and teaching

    pranayama that involved bringing awareness to certain parts of your body and focusing on

    breathing into those areas. And many of his students loved the way he taught pranayama.

    But I didn’t—and trust me I gave his type of pranayama many tries over the years. While his

    style of breath work didn’t make me anxious, it made me feel “bad,” not calm and relaxed. How

    to describe it? Sort of heavy an