I’ve been practicing a lot of pranayama lately. For whatever reason, I’ve felt a pull back to particular pranayama practices.
*For those who are unsure what I mean by pranayama, the simplest way to think of it is breathing techniques.
Whilst away over Easter, fortunate enough to spend the weekend in the Grampians, I felt an intense need to practice Kapalabathi (shining skull), Uddiyana Bandha (flying up) and Nauli (stomach rolling).
The first practice, Kapalabathi, is practiced by forcefully expelling air out of the nose in very quick, short bursts. I can do any where up to 100 breaths in a minute, hence the name shining skull. Uddiyana Bandha is all about drawing the internal organs upward within the rib cage, hence the description of ‘flying up’. This is also understood to manipulate energy flow, or Prana, to move upward.
Then there is Nauli, stomach rolling. This is literally what I’m doing. Rolling my stomach and giving the abdominal organs a massage whilst detoxifying them at the same time.
Starting a business has meant less time to practice some of these additional techniques. My personal asana practice has always been consistent – I make sure of that – but my attention to pranayama has dwindled as of late. This is OK. I’m human and the reality is I can’t spend my entire day on my yoga mat. But for whatever reason things are catching up to me, and my body is calling for this deeper attention.
I’ve always looked at yoga as a lesson. That it is a means of coming to understand myself on a greater level. I’m therefore interpreting this calling back to a more regular pranayama practice as a sign I’m not breathing enough. That I need to slow down, pause and notice what’s going on – whether that be what is going on in my own body, in my relationships and so on. My physical and energetic body is signaling to me, and instinctually I am finally listening to it. (I think the signals have been there for sometime but with a busy schedule I’ve ignored them somewhat).
Given pranayama is so widely misunderstood and often overlooked for the powerful benefits it has for both body and mind, I’m considering running a workshop that teaches people how to practice some key techniques. I’d love people’s opinion about whether this would be beneficial for them. Comment below. I know my body has certainly craved for it, and I’m so happy to have reintegrated these stronger practices into my day.
Feel free to leave comments, suggestions and feedback below.
Big hugs and so much love to you all,