If you have attended any of my yoga classes, you are probably familiar with the three part breath. I often begin and end each class with it. It is a simple, yet effective pranayama practice that connects me to my body. Remember, pranayama is the art of controlling the breath so energy or prana can flow.
There are many forms of pranayama and all traditions of yoga employ pranayama to some extent. Pranayama has many recognizable benefits. The results I have noticed since introducing my personal pranayama practice include a decrease in stress and anxiety, better circulation (my toes aren't as cold!), and a more even heart rate. Are you guaranteed these results? No, but it doesn't hurt to try!
Dirga Pranayama is the Sanskrit name for the complete breath commonly known as the three part breath. This breath brings awareness to the body because as its name suggests, it uses three parts of the abdomen to complete it. It encourages you to slow down your breathing and actually feel each inhalation and exhalation. Sometimes we are stressed or overwhelmed our breath may become shallow and quick. This exercise may assist in overcoming that. Here are some simple instructions.
1. Sit tall on the floor cross-legged or in lotus or on the edge of a chair with both feet firmly planted into the ground.
2. Begin your inhalation, bringing the breath into the belly (around your belly button).
3. Continue your inhalation, engaging the lower lungs (floating ribs below your sternum).
4. Continue your inhalation, filling the upper lungs (above the sternum and below the throat).
5. Begin your exhalation, releasing the air from your upper lungs.
6. Continue your exhalation, extinguishing the air from you lower lungs.
7. Finish your exhalation, expelling the air from your belly.
You may pause a second or two after filling or expelling each of the three parts of your abdomen. You may also physically isolate each part by bringing your hands to the belly, lower lungs and upper lungs as you inhale and exhale. You may only repeat this once or twice the first few times you practice. Slowly build up your this exercise. Remember not to judge yourself and to proceed at your own pace.
As the warm weather approaches, I invite you to come begin a yoga practice with me starting this Wednesday, April 17, 5:30-6:30pm, at one of my favorite spots- The Enchanted Cottage! My classes are suitable for all levels of practice. Hope to see you this week!
Upcoming Classes & Events
Tuesdays- Meditation- Converging Paths Meditation Center, 7-8:15p
Wednesdays- April 17- June 12: Park Yoga- The Enchanted Cottage, East Sandusky Bay MetroPark, 5:30-6:30pm. Bring a mat or blanket- no experience necessary! We will be outside on the deck when the weather is warm or perhaps take a winding, walking meditation through the meadows!
Fridays- Morning Yoga- House of Yin Yoga Studio, 9am A gentle yoga practice perfect for starting your weekend!
Friday, April 19: Froggy Fridays! James McBride Arboretum, 7pm. Join me as we listen for and look for frogs. These amphibians have come out of hibernation and their breeding calls are getting loud! Listen for and try to catch spring peepers, chorus frogs, American toads, and leopard frogs! Plan to get wet if you want to catch frogs! Nets provided. Registration appreciated.
Sunday, April 21: Earth Day Extravaganza! Osborn MetroPark, 12-5pm. Come out and celebrate Earth Day with us! Food, crafts, Trashion Show, live music and green demonstrations! Come see me and our snakes on the front porch of the Frost Center!
Thursday, April 25: Full Moon Night Hike- Edison Woods MetroPark, main entrance, Rt 61, 8:30pm. Join me for a beautiful night hike on each month's full moon! Please leave flashlights at home; the moon will light our way. Family and friends are always welcome! Hikes will last about an hour. Registration appreciated.
Mondays, May 6- June 10: Runner's Yoga- House of Yin Yoga Studio, 5:30-6:30pm. Join Jess for a class designed specifically for runners! We will cover yoga basics, breathing and the deep stretching essential to the practice of running.
Sunday, May 12: Mother's Day Meditation- House of Yin Yoga Studio, 10am-12pm. Come celebrate our mothers at this free meditation class and stick around for tea, baked goods and fellowship afterwards!
Sundays, May 12- June 2: Meditation- House of Yin Yoga Studio, 10-11am. Various meditation practices, gentle stretching and perhaps some chanting!