Pranayama at Moksha Festival
On Friday at the Moksha Festival, I was lucky enough to attend the Pranayama and Meditation class led by Tracee Stanley. I didn’t know what to expect because I’d never taken a Pranayama class before, but that didn’t lessen my enthusiasm. When it was time, I grabbed my yoga mat and blended into the mass of people climbing the hill to class.
Tracee Stanley was the perfect teacher for a newbie like me. During class, Tracee fully explained each new movement and breathing pattern, so I never felt lost. She also participated fully in the class, so I was able to follow her lead whenever I needed.
Pranayam is a Sanskrit word that translates to ‘extension of breath and life force.’
That describes exactly what I experienced in Tracee’s class. Eyes closed, I listened as Tracee walked us through the steps for alternate nostril breathing. It took me a couple of tries, but eventually I got the hang of it. Instead of focusing on the separate processes of inhaling and exhaling, I started to visualize my breath as a never-ending cycle. After only a few minutes, I became so focused on my breath that I forgot where I was.
The class lasted one and a half hours, but felt like only half that. As I stood and tried to gather my belongings, I found myself so relaxed that I actually stumbled a bit. Perfectly tranquil, I felt transformed.
In the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali describes Pranayama as the fourth limb of yoga. It’s made up of various breathing exercises designed to break us from our erratic, unconscious breathing patterns and help us to create a system of long, smooth breathing. Practicing Pranayama is known to lower a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. It is used by many yoga therapists to treat people with sleep disturbances, anxiety, chronic pain, and depression.
Prana is the life force within all of us. The practice of Pranayama teaches us how to channel our prana, so we can calm our minds and rejuvenate our bodies. I highly recommend studying with Tracee Stanley.
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