We offer 4-week Pranayama courses. This is a gentle practice of breath work in either a sitting or reclining posture. Pranayama is beneficial for increasing lung function, decreasing high blood pressure, and brings a stillness and equilibrium into the mind.
BKS Iyengar states that the three stages of breath in pranayama — inhalation, retention, and exhalation — are the means by which we can abide in stillness in both body and mind and merge with the great mystery. During inhalation we invite prana into the house, he says. And when prana enters, the individual self moves out of the way for the soul. We generate energy, expansion and awareness within.
Mr. Iyengar believes that in normal breathing the brain is drawing energy to itself.
The energy causes tension in the brain and thus the breath is constricted.
However during the practice of pranayama the brain relaxes and is kept in a passive, receptive state. Then the physical body initiates active breathing. Rather than sucking in air, or grasping for prana, the body receives the breath as one does a respected guest. BKS Iyengar says we must cajole the breath as one would a skittish animal. Nothing can be forced; receptivity is everything. Do pranayama with the intelligence of the heart — not the brain.