Riding the Currents of the Breath

Last night I visited the class of a very gifted teacher on the other side of the river...

It was a 7:30 PM class that was virtually packed and I later found out that some had been attending this class for years...

The class focused on the breath and included instructions on activating the various bandhas or locks as well as a number of pranayama techniques.

This teacher normally teaches an almost identical sequence of poses from week to week but with a different emphasis each time. Students have told me that throughout a session they embody the practice very deeply and that the experience is truly transformational.

We were invited to connect deeply with the breath in very subtle and energetic ways and to explore areas of resistance within our bodies. With every inbreath - particularly in challenging poses, backbends, or balance poses involving longer holds, we received very poetic instructions to expand - receive - and catch the waves - and ride them powerfully as we deepened in the pose.

It always amazes me how many different styles of teaching there are - and how each pose can be explained in so many different ways. As a teacher, I try to attend other classes always with a beginner's mind so that I can experience what it is that those around me might be experiencing.

I found myself thinking again and again of the breath like waves - waiting for the right one to come along on an inhale - then expressing the pose more deeply on the exhale.

There were so many references to the moving currents of prana within our bodies and where it not only meets resistance within us - but where it irrigates and nourishes if we only allow this happen. It was a good reminder of how important it is to pay attention to the breath, and an indication to focus on it more directly in the future.

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