Breath & Yoga by Tessa Murray

When breath departs, so too does life.  Therefore, regulate the breath.

- Hatha Yoga Pradipika – Ch.2:S.3

So why so much emphasis of breathing in yoga practice? We sat down with Tessa Murray to discover the power of breath and yoga.

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There are numerous benefits to including breath in our Yoga practices.

I feel pranayama can be better utilized in our western Yoga world. We must breathe to

live so it is often done unconsciously. However, the power of breath is a practice on its

own, and when mixed with Yoga asana it can create a mediation in motion.

The word Yoga means to yolk or unite. Pranayama is two words: Prana (life force or

breath) and Yama (suspending or causing a break).

In our physical practice we work to build a strong container by yoking breath, body, and

mind. Our mat is like a mirror exposing a true reflection of ourselves. The container we

create is what supports us in daily duties, so the more we learn to authenticate

ourselves on the mat the more our off the mat life is a clearer reflection of our “S” self

Asana puts our bodies into balance so we are able to work on prana. When asana and

pranayama are combined our nadis (channels the energies of the subtle body flow and

connect our chakras) are being cleansed of samskara (imprints left on the subconscious

mind by experience) and are better able to transmit energy throughout our bodies. This is

why we repeat postures and why they can feel so different from one practice to the next

or the first Surya Namaskar to the second and so on.™ rock

Including Pranayama in our sadhana (practice) whether it is Dirgha, Nadi Shodhana,

Kapalabhati, or Ujjayi calms and centers the mind which helps us hold challenging

postures and influence energy. We can use breath as a tool to guide prana to the heart

of a stretch, send resistance out of the body, or share energy with those around us. If

breath stops it no longer serves us.

Let go of the ego and the stories the mind creates the next time your in class and your

teacher asks you to do a loud strange breathing technique. Be in witness and present

to feel all that comes when your breath starts to build, grow, and influence your

sometimes static asana practice.

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We may not want to or ever achieve an enlightened state but, being able to be in the

moment and breathe, whether on or off our mats, can be just as fulfilling as deep states

of mediation and consciousness.

“Our breath is the first and last action we take in the world, so why is the time in

between spent ignoring it?” – Unknown

Breath and Yoga

- Tessa Murray

Yoga Instructor at The Hot Box Yoga

Find Tessa on Facebook  asseT Yoga
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Photos by Cheryl Beaubabes Goulet & Naresh Ron King

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