Reflections on practice: Ujjayi, Viloma and Brahmari Breath

Posted January 24th, 2013 by Erin under Health & Wellness, Student Writings.

As part of the last 200 hour Teacher Training at Karuna students were asked to reflect on their experience of three different methods of pranayama: Ujjayi, Viloma and Brahmari. Aurora Sjostrom shared these reflections

My Pranayama experience recently has been profound. I have enjoyed Ujjayi for quite some time now- the sound of the breath like waves of the ocean. It is supremely soothing, but sometimes so soothing that sleep creeps in. At bedtime this can be really nice, but in class not so much. I have found Ujjayi is a good tool to pull out of my pocket during the day when I need to take a moment to calm down. Villoma has profound effects- I can really feel the energy grow with the inhale in segments. My mind feels much more alert. In contrast, exhaling in segments (especially 3 parts) is so calming- I feel my heart settle, my eyes soften. The feeling I get when I get into the groove with Villoma on the inhale and the exhale, each parcel being equal in space and softness, each sip of air equal to the others- it is supremely beautiful and I feel like I could go on forever. Sometimes, however, my mind is too busy to handle Villoma, but when its good its so good! My experience with Brahmari has changed so much. I remember Eileen once saying shre tried to find the OM in the sound of a chainsaw- the OM in Brahmari is so beautiful. I start slow, quiet. Each breath becomes longer than the last, the sound louder, the reverberations deeper. I pull the air in and feel myself expand in space, I exhale and sound engulfs my being. I can find a kind of quiet that is so unique- I find myself feeling out of place when I return to normal breath- like the world is somehow less real. I very recently had a moment in Savasana that was a completely new experience. Upon being instructed to do so I placed one hand on my belly and the other on my heart, and I breathed into the space under my hands. After a few breaths I found a warm light growing in my chest, filling my experience with a kind of loving and softness I had never found. The softness of this moment stays with me. I found my heart, my tiny atman, and I held it in my hands and smiled. I was there for a moment, and eventually we were instructed to roll to our sides and come up to sitting. I thought ‘No- I want to stay in this warmth forever now that I know it is here’ but I rolled over anyway. I sat up slowly and with my eyes closed bowed my head to my pressed palms, and I could have wept for all the sweetness in the world.

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