Sunday, August 23, 2015
Introduction to Pranayama
With Richard Rosen
Level: Open (all students welcome)
Cost: $75 (10% Discount for Yoga Shanti Members)
When we in the West hear the word “yoga,” we tend to think of asana or posture. But for many hundreds of years before the twentieth century, the central practice of hatha yoga was conscious breathing, technically known as pranayama. This self-transformative breath work has largely been ignored or forgotten in modern times in favor of asana. Originally, though, asana was a means to an end–mostly a collection of exercises meant to prepare the yogi to sit comfortably and in proper alignment for breathing as well as meditation.
This workshop will lay the foundation for an ongoing pranayama practice. We’ll first review some traditional asana preparations, learn how to properly align ourselves for breathing practice in both reclining and sitting positions, and then study how to simply breathe with awareness. This will set the stage for the practice of formal pranayama breaths, both traditional and modern, several essential supporting techniques, and some long-forgotten hatha meditations. Some experience with yoga postures is desirable but not necessary.
Richard Rosen began his practice of yoga in 1980, and is a graduate of the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco. He’s written two books on pranayama for Shambhala, The Yoga of Breath and Pranayama: Beyond the Fundamentals, and produced a set of seven CDs of guided pranayama instruction. For the same publisher, he’s also wrote Original Yoga, a book on traditional yoga practice from the seventeenth-century hatha text, the Gheranda Samhita. Richard is a contributing editor at Yoga Journal, and president of the board of directors of Yoga Dana Foundation, a grant-making organization supporting teachers in the Bay Area who bring yoga to underserved populations.