Thursday, September 20, 2012

Breathing through Padmasana

I was poking through Light on Yoga yesterday, when I stumbled upon Padmasana. I was a bit surprised that a large chunk of the description was about breathing. Few of the postures described in light on yoga discuss breathing - Iyengar leaves that for his Pranayama section at the end of the book (with a few exceptions, of course).

When describing Padmasana, Iyengar quotes the Hatha Yoga Pradipika - "fix the chin firmly upon the breast and contemplating upon Brahman, frequently contract the anus and raise the apana up; by similar contraction of the throat force the prana down. By this he obtains unequalled knowledge through the ascent of Kundalini (which is roused by this process)."

I figured since I was bringing attention back to my Pranayama practice (and since Iyengar thought it was so important to mention in the description of the asana), I would give it a shot. I decided to practice these suggestions for 10 minutes - 5 minutes on each side.

I was surprised how wonderful the experience was. Just like most experiences with Pranayama that I have, I didn't really feel the effects until I returned to normal breathing. When I took the normal breath break in between, I lifted my chin. I immediately wanted to drop my chin and close my eyes and start again. It felt like my chin was being pulled down!

After the second side, I felt an amazing sense of softness. Everything wanted to move in (like it was happening on its own). I thought I was imploding. The feeling of being pulled in was so overwhelming. I could not help but feel a warmth in my belly and chest - the experience brought me to tears. I am not necessarily seeking unequaled knowledge, like the Pradipika states, but I have a feeling that the knowledge has to be an awareness of the beauty in ourselves.

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