Pranayama- breath control
A most sublime pranayama class today taught by the wonderfully warm and kind Nalvaaz.
It’s hard to describe a pranayama class and truly relate the experience. It’s subtle, it’s individual. In this class, the brilliance was the physical instruction to create and maintain a proper vessel in which to move the breath followed and interwoven with philosophical spiritual points that get one in touch with the true gift of breath. And after 2 weeks of some very strong work, I feel my body is just about prepared to handle the challenges of this work. Pranayama is hard and it’s been difficult for me. I get hot, break out in a sweat, tense up and panic. But tonight, with her subtle physical instruction such as to control the interrupted exhales from the diaphragm rather than the neck, made it less about me doing effortfully and instead something being done to me. I tapped deep down into the interchange of this cosmic or universal energy that some call the divine or divinity and my body or what I perceive as myself..
I had recently done an exercise answering the question about what my perception, belief and relationship is with the idea of a universal energy, “mother”, divinity, source (choose your word) that is abundant, giving and constantly available. My upbringing created a rather more cynical and defensive view of the world. Lying on my bolster in Pune India guided by the tenderly strong voice of a masterful student of yoga, I began to feel , as Navaaz explained that this breath is not ours , it is a gift for which we extend gratitude and respect.
The concept of surrender is not easy for many people, including myself especially if you come from a strongly individualistic belief system. But whether you want to or not every inhale connects you and every exhale you surrender, you offer. There is something quite comforting in connecting to this thing greater than yourself – you aren’t all on your own because as Nalvaaz said you can have all the material things you own but you can’t own the breath. And there we are, as Prashant says, the breath is so much more than an act of respiration.
At 7 am on the way to Gulnaaz’s studio, I had to fight with the rickshaw driver who wanted to charge 1 and 1/2 times more than the meter. I’ll pay more than what the meter says because it’s really pennies to me…well more like 10 pesos but this guy spitting red (literally since he was chewing paan) made me red. So another guy swooped us up and to the glaring eye of the other driver. But then he turned on his radio (video on FAcebook) and it was so loud I couldn’t think. I asked to turn it down. Got the head bob but nothing changed. At first I thought, he is trying to torture us for bargaining with the first driver , it’s punishment and I started to feel all cranky and the fight came up in me. And then I turned and looked and saw his stereo system and thought he could just as equally be showing off his mega sound system. And though the volume outside didn’t lower the volume inside me quieted down with a twist in perception
Lunch was cauliflower, a delicious curry lemon dal soup thing, chapatis and rice with mustard seeds and other yummy things. Mango shrikhand, ginger cookies, chai and lime soda. Tomorrow is thali day so stay tuned.