Yoga Journal - - Practice Well -

Move­ment Di­rec­tion All around Cen­tered in The chest; it gov­erns in­hala­tion.

Ex­pressed Cycli­cally; prana vayu is re­flected in your abil­ity to be within a cy­cle of on­go­ing change while re­main­ing con­nected to your cen­ter. Im­bal­ances in prana vayu af­fect the ner­vous sys­tem and man­i­fest as anx­i­ety or fear, trig­ger­ing symp­toms such as breath­less­ness or heart pal­pi­ta­tions. Yoga teaches us to pay at­ten­tion to our breath cy­cle. For be­gin­ning prac­ti­tion­ers, the ini­tial in­stinct is to hold the breath when a pose feels chal­leng­ing— which stops the flow of en­ergy, lead­ing to in­creased ten­sion and re­sis­tance. Over time, we learn to trust the cy­cle of the breath, and as a re­sult en­ergy flows smoothly. The Pose Salamba Supta Baddha Konasana (Sup­ported Re­clin­ing Bound An­gle Pose) Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet touch­ing. Sup­port your outer knees or up­per thighs with blocks or folded blan­kets. Make sure your fore­head is level with, or slightly higher than, your chin. The shape cre­ated by your legs and the con­nec­tion be­tween the soles of your feet are sym­bolic of the cir­cu­lar na­ture of prana vayu. As you rest your body in this sup­ported po­si­tion, you in­vite your lungs and your heart to open and your fo­cus to gen­tly re­turn to your in­hala­tions. By mov­ing from rest­less­ness to ease, we em­body the no­tion that all things are ever chang­ing—our breath, our feel­ings, even our yoga poses them­selves. Hold this sup­ported pos­ture for 5–8 min­utes.

Take it off the mat Each morn­ing, set aside a few min­utes to prac­tice samavrtti, a form of pranayama that en­cour­ages even, bal­anced breath­ing. There are four parts to this cycli­cal breath: the in­hale ( pu­raka), the pause at the top of the in­hala­tion ( antara kumb­haka), the exhale ( rechaka), and the pause at the bot­tom of the ex­ha­la­tion ( bahya kumb­haka). Come into a com­fort­able seated po­si­tion, and in­vite your body to soften. In­hale for the count of 4. Pause, and soften your body as you briefly re­tain the in­hala­tion, then exhale for the count of 4. Pause and soften your body again as you briefly re­tain the ex­ha­la­tion. The in­ten­tion is to es­tab­lish breaths that mir­ror each other in qual­ity and length. Then, if you ever no­tice fear, anx­i­ety, or breath­less­ness aris­ing, prac­tice this breath pat­tern.

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