Pranayama

First up, your yoga practice does not have to include a full asana practice each time.

Doing asana after asana may just leave you feeling even more exhausted when your energy has been depleted.

Why not sit quietly in Sukasana (cross legged seated), perhaps using a blanket to support, and meditate for a few minutes morning or evening, watching your breath and observing your thoughts pass like clouds, or try some simple pranayama breathing exercises.

Breathing is life. It is one of our most vital functions. From a yogic point of view, proper breathing is all about bringing more oxygen to the blood and to the brain, and to control Prana or the vital life energy, Pranayama goes hand in hand with the posture practice or can sit in isolation.

BKS. Iyengar tells us to think of the contact of the breath against the inner lung as the connection between universal soul and individual self…

The length of the retention [of the breath] varies. It should last just until the content (prana) begins to move away from the container (the lung)…Developing the ability to feel something as subtle as when the universal soul and the individual self begin to separate in the course of a breath takes regular practice and is what pranayama is all about.

But it is not a simple matter of making the breath do what we want to achieve this kind of awareness. Mr. Iyengar, in his characteristically poetic way says that the breath must “be enticed or cajoled, like catching a horse in a field, not by chasing after it, but by standing still with an apple in one’s hand. Nothing can be forced; receptivity is everything.”

Two to try!

Alternate Nostril (Anuloma Viloma)

In this Breathing Technique, you inhale through one nostril, retain the breath, and exhale through the other nostril in a ratio of 2:8:4. The left nostril is the path of the Nadi called Ida and the right nostril is the path of the Nadi called Pingala. Anuloma Viloma restores, equalizes and balances the flow of Prana in the body. One round of Anuloma Viloma is made up of six steps. Start by practicing three rounds and build up slowly to twenty rounds, extending the count within the given ratio.

The Vishnu Mudra

In Nostril breathing, you adopt the Vishnu Mudra with your right hand to close your nostrils. Tuck your index and middle finger into your nose. Place the thumb by your right nostril and your ring and little fingers by your left.

Try Iyengar and more styles of yoga at Yoga Rathmines