Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New Thing #16: Breathing Lessons

I've never been to a yoga class. That will eventually be a New Thing, but I figure it's not something that one can just leap into; my pragmatic side tells me I should have some sort of foundation. I've also been sick (though against better judgement, I did go to work today), so doing something so physical, especially when I've never done it before, probably wouldn't be a great idea. Today, with the help and resources of my Buddhist coworker, I practiced Pranayama breathing. I didn't realize how much more to it there is than just taking a deep breath, counting to an arbitrary number, and letting go. Complete yoga breathing consists of abdominal, middle, and upper breathing. Kumbhaka concentrates on the heart; Kapalabhati and Sukh Purvak concentrate on the inside of the nose (and worked wonders on my pounding sinuses); Ujjayi concentrates on the thyroid gland and Bhakstrika (my favorite, for its bellows-like breathing rhythms) is meant to aid the throat and nose and is particularly beneficial to practitioners with a cold, asthma or poor circulation. Armed with these techniques, I tried the "Seven Little Breathing Exercises" as detailed in the "Pranayama Breathing Exercises" chapter of Yoga and Health.

I'm checking the ceiling for candy.

The playlist, belated courtesy of Mr. Claude Debussy