Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pranayama Month.... Surya Bhedana

So February is here! Wow... as I sit here with blazing sunshine outside my window, it is hard to believe that it is still WINTER. Well, at least here in the PNW.

The American Heart Association calls February American Heart Month... I find it a wonderful way to incorporate heart opening poses into my practice and infuse my teaching with all manner of poses relating to the heart, both physically and emotionally. And, to me, delving deeper into pranayama is just a natural extension of that theme.

Last week, as a prep, we explored how our breath affects us on a daily basis: in our practice, at work, at play, as we sleep... under stress, in happiness, relaxed or busy. Then we began to explore how we change our mood, our perceptions and indeed our body through our breath... our power, our source.

Here is a great link to a site that asks some great questions such as what IS pranayama. Also suggested reading - Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing by BKS Iyengar

We all talk about Ujjayi Breath, aka Whisper or Victorious Breath and throughout practice I often remind my class come back to the breath, but this month we will reconnect to what it really means to practice Ujjayi Pranayama.

As an aside: It is thought that the best way to correctly learn pranayama is with a teacher, so I would suggest that, if you have never practiced some of the breathing techniques I write about this month, that you take a class.

This week I am introducing Surya Bhedana Pranayama (also known as warming single nostril breathing) during the beginning portions of class. This breathing technique stimulates the heating energies in our body. The sun or Ha (right side of body) or Yang energy is called forth through this breath and is thought to stimulate the brain and indeed the body. I am also linking here to Yoga Journal's page on Surya Bhedana Pranayama so you can compare what is written.

My experience in this morning's class was that I began to feel energized and ready to take on our practice with a clearer head. Unfortunately we had so many things to talk about after class that I forgot to ask my students... if any of you are reading this, please comment below.

I would love to hear from anyone else familiar with this technique to let me know your experiences...

Enjoy your yummy breaths.


  1. Nice posting. Do you know about these pranayama books?


  2. Thanks for the link, yes I am familiar with some of them but need to re-read and read new materials. There are just not enough hours in the day!