Svara Yoga Pranayama - Yoga of Sound Breath

Yoga of Sound Breath
svara = sound, air breathed through the nostrils

Steps :
1. Traditionally the five "elements" that make up our body-mind (and the entire material universe)-earth, water, fire, air, "ether"-are each energetically associated with a fixed point on the linings of our nostrils. So it's possible to influence and transform our body-mind by channeling our breath over or away from these points. .
2. This exercise is a variation of the traditional teaching, since our two points are non-traditional and not elementally potent, and our immediate goal is simply to become better acquainted with our breath. These points (two in each nostril) are the "inner nostril" just beside the septum, and the "outer nostril," underneath the "wing" (ala) of the nose.

3. Sit comfortably and attend to your breath as it passes in and out through your nostrils. It's likely you'll feel a difference between the two; your inhale, for example, is touching your right nostril near the septum, but your left nostril below the wing.

4. Watch for a minute or two, then begin to channel (or "narrow") your inhales across your inner nostrils. Continue for a minute or two.

5. After breathing normally for 30 seconds, begin to channel (or "widen") your exhales beneath s your outer nostrils, "widening" your breath. Again continue for a minute or two, then return to normal breathing for 30 seconds.

6. Finally combine the inner and outer breaths and breath slowly for a few minutes. You can practice this version of Svara Yoga during Ujjayi or Kapalabhati (on the exhale).

> Increases breath awareness and control

Contraindications and Cautions
> Avoid Surya Bhedana if you have high blood pressure or heart disease
> Don't do both breaths on the same day

Preparatory Poses
> Virasana
> Baddha Konasana

Follow-Up Poses
> Bharadvajasana I


Breathing is the most important thing we do. General wisdom says we can survive 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, 3 hours without shelter and only a few minutes without oxygen. This exercise helps us breathe better so we can get more bang out of our breathing buck. I offer a demonstration of what yogis call "Pranayama." Pranayama is a great way to oxygenate and bring blood to the brain, body, and its organs; it helps expand the lungs up to 70% more than normal breathing and prepares the body for yoga.

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