A student recently snapped this shot of a class observing Eileen doing a pranayama demonstration. The practice we do at Karuna is a mindfulness practice of seeing, hearing, feeling, and doing. Doing from a place of being. As an aspect of the Iyengar practice students learn the art of observation; we observe actions in each others bodies and try to translate these actions into our own bodies. One may wonder how it is possible to observe the breath. This photograph is a great example of the subtle awareness one begins to gain through the yoga practice. Watching pranayama is another aspect of meditation on the breath. Here each student is able to witness the movement of the breath through the body and become more familiar with the sound of the different methods of breathing as well as the quality of softness in the muscles and skin. Observation throughout the class not only illustrates the physical qualities in each posture and method, it also becomes a practice in quieting the mind and turning one’s attention to dharana: fixing the consciousness on one point.
Archive for the ‘pranayama’ Category
Sometimes from the depths of my body a great wind comes and lifts my breath with ease, and every cell begins to multiply and hum and I feel as if bloated by the divine that hides within. And just like when you’ve eaten too much, any exacerbated movement throws the whole plot into the compost. It can be such an effortless experience as fragile as the waterford crystal my grandmother collects.
My practice has become like this: my grandmother asks me to dust and clean her precious crystal wares, and so with great love and appreciation I spend the rest of my life completing this task to ensure that I learn to use the right amount of care. Now the challenge has become – with so much work ahead of me, where do I start? I can become so easily overwhelmed, throwing caution to the wind. However, the more I pass through this, the more clear the veil appears. And in due time, thanks to my grandmother’s love, this veil becomes the cloth I use to dry my finished work.
By Chris Hamel
Chris Hamel is a much loved frequent contributor of poetry and prose to the Karuna blog. He is also a great teacher, student and friend within the Karuna community. Hopeful we will continue to hear more of his insights into practice as he embarks on his next journey this fall. Stay tuned!