Friday, September 30, 2011

Alternate Nostril Breath

Why does the alternate nostril breath work?
Scientists have proven what yogis have always known... throughout the day we breath alternately from one nostril. That is one nostril will tend to be more open and that this will switch every 2-3hours.
Why does the body regulate the breath in this way? It is how we keep the left and right hemispheres of the brain in balance, by subtly stimulating one side and then the other. Rather than letting one dominate over the other. 
While breathing in the left nostril you are stimulating the right side of the brain, which governs creativity, lateral thinking and your intuition. This side is associated with the female energies in yoga, or the lunar cycle.
As you breath through the right nostril you are stimulating the left hemisphere of the brain which governs linear thinking, decision making, language and is associated with the male, solar energies. 
These two opposites are experienced in yoga and ida and pingala, the two opposing energies which run up the central cortex of the energetic body - at there meeting point is the shushumna. The aim of alternate nostril breath is to equalize the ida and pingala in order to activate and experience the energies of shushumna. 
1)Close your right nostril, and breath in through your left
2)Close your left nostril and breath out through your right
3)Still closing left, breath in through your right 
4)Close your right nostril and breath out through your left. Repeat
As your breath in take your awareness to the third eye. Begin to slow and lengthen the breath. Stay relaxed and continue for 5 minutes before silent meditation.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Ancient Yoga?

In Yoga Journal Mark Singleton shared his experience of discovering the lineage of prominent yoga asanas. 
He found how the modern movement, while seemingly referencing an ancient art form, actually advocates asanas which are far more modern and in fact inspired by Western physical health practices from the early 1900s. In fact, the movements of yoga were not easily found in the ancient texts.
He writes; Scoutring these primary texts, it was obvious to me that asana was rarely, if ever, the primary feature of the significant yoga traditions in India. Postures ... were not the dominant component. They were subordinate to other practices like pranayama (expansion of vital energy by means of breath), dharana (focus, or placement of the mental faculty), and nada (sound), and did not have health and fitness as their chief aim. (Yoga Journal May/June 2011 p 56).
This is a timely article, given the boom in asana practice without consideration or commitment to the more subtle and indeed more challenging components of yoga. Those which encourage your to encounter the Self and to create a relationship with the Soul through knowing your body and understanding the nature of your mind.
Miyoga Club has remained a small operation because it has never moved away from these core aims, aims which challenge and create deep change and in ways (that is disciplines) that society is craving.
The beauty of yoga is a private and inward journey. While sometimes sitting with the breath, making unusual sounds and holding focus on the mind may seem impossible - the rewards are immense.
It is nice to know that you have a choice!