Week 4 has come and gone in our Yoga journey and, like the first three weeks, class was both fun and relaxing. Who would have thought that I would be so excited each week to go to a Yoga class? The class itself followed the normal routine so I won’t go into that this time (twists were the positional focus this week). Instead, let’s focus on the all of the non-position stuff we did, such as Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (sensory control), and the Gunas, which are the qualities of Prana (Sanskrit for ‘life force’).
For our pranayama exercise, we performed alternate nostril breathing. This was interesting to me because I have done it a little before. What I noticed most is that it actually seemed to open up my nasal passages (which is big since it is so hard for me to breathe through my nose). It was difficult to tell if I gained much more than that, as Yoga practice itself usually leaves me feeling more balanced anyway. If you have never tried this breathing exercise, Google it, and give it a shot. Supposedly, it improves balance in your brain, how you are sleeping, and how you are thinking.
For Pratyhara, we talked about how the senses tend to keep our attention outside of our bodies, which makes sense. The instructor spoke of turning our attention inwards and used the concept of Chakras for where we keep our attention. Regardless of what you think of ‘chakras’ or some of this stuff, turning your attention inward to certain areas has benefits. Most specifically, it helps you pay attention to how your body is feeling and the base emotional state that you are in.
This concept of Gunas really interested me. The three Gunas are: rajas (energetic), tamas (dullness), and sattva (balance). The idea here is that a person is in one of these three states, ourselves included, at any given time. Learning to think of your state in this fashion opens up some opportunities. The goal, I think, is to strive towards being balanced more often than energetic or dull (all three states are ok). I am going to do a little more research on this before I think of any techniques that could be used but check back in and see what I come up with.
As before, I loved the class and I am so glad that we are doing this. We have begun to see if we can take another class during the week but have to figure out the babysitting situation. Has anyone else here recently begun a Yoga class? How are things going for you?