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I love Pranayama. It is my favorite limb of yoga. Anyone that has been in one of my classes knows this is true. It has expanded my practice and my mind to a place I never ever knew existed.
Pranayama means control of life force energy. “Techniques of pranayama provide the method whereby life force can be activated and regulated in order to go beyond new levels of well-being physically, mentally, and emotionally. Throughout time the process of breathing was always considered inseparable from our health, consciousness and spirit, and it is only recently that we have reduced breathing to a mere respiratory exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen. Prana can be thought of as the breath behind the breath or the inner breath or the energy that pervades all.” (Notes from The Art and Science of Breathing Workshop by Sandra Vanatko)
I am shocked at how far I have come. As I was opening up this document to start my teacher training blog assignment, I mistakenly opened a file called “Untitled document” – a document I realized I created over two years ago. I initially decided to close it right away without reading it, but after some pause, I decided to keep it open. I read the whole thing. I was shocked at how sad I was at the time. I was in a deep hole with no hope or knowledge on how to get out.
Teaching and practicing yoga has no doubt made me a better person. But, that doesn’t mean that I am perfect or even strive to be perfect. Actually, practicing yoga and meditation has helped me over the years to undo the perfectionist habits I had created long ago. Helping me to live a more loving and peaceful life with myself and others. Often times, it seems as though some people will place yoga instructors on some sort of spiritual pedestal. We are not worthy of any sort of pedestal placement, and most yoga instructors do not want to be placed there( of course, there is always the exception of the few that quite enjoy this pedestal they’ve been placed on; and have decided to stay put and then begin seeing themselves as better than others). For those, I offer compassion for the ego is a very tricky thing to balance. There are days, even when we practice yoga/meditation, that we succumb to the stress of life, lose our patience with people, turn to anger instead of patience, experience jealousy/ envy, have serious self doubts, have falling outs with friends, feel hate instead of love, choose not to find common ground because of ego, etc…