Archives for May 2014 | Monthly InSpirations by Fiona

InSpire - May 2014

Our sequencing for this month is focusing primarily on shoulders and hips - opening up with stability and calmness of breath, as well as staying attentive to our body and the messages it gives us. What is the importance of this process?….

Let’s return once more to the importance of our breath, and the vital role it plays in our lives, literally.
“In Greek, psyche pneuma meant breath/soul/air/spirit. In Latin, anima spiritus, breath/soul. In Japanese, ki, air/spirit; and in Sanskrit, prana connoted a resonant life force that is at no time apparent to us than when that force is extinguished at the moment of death. In Chinese the character for “breath” (hsi) is made up of three characters that mean “of the conscious self or heart.” The breath was seen as a force that ran through mind, body, and spirit like a river running through a dry valley giving sustenance to everything in its course.” Donna Farhi, The Breathing Book.

So, we can therefore not separate the breath and the spirit, the life force that is running through us constantly. However, when we bring more of an awareness to this connection and movement within us, we can then witness how we can improve our lives on many different levels, physically, mentally, emotionally and soulfully.

“Relaxation research shows that breathing techniques can help ward off disease by making people less susceptible to viruses and by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. When we breathe in a relaxed fashion we move from a destructive metabolic state to a constructive one. This shift from operating in a chronic stress mode to a mode of relaxed alertness can affect the synthesis of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, increase the production of cells for immune system activation, promote bone repair and growth, as well as enhance the cellular, hormonal, and psychological processes.” Donna Farhi, The Breathing Book.

To help us to deepen our connection to this process, we dive into the shoulder/hip opening connection in a way in which we can determine our limits, work with them as they are, and gently persuade the body to deepen into poses that are challenging, using our breath.
The meridians in the chest/shoulder area that are most affected by these openings, are the Lung/large intestine and heart/small intestine connection. In the hips, all the lower body meridians….so there is a lot happening when we explore these practices. Hear more about the workings of the meridians in class, or research it yourself (Sarah Power’s book Insight Yoga has good explanations that are easy to understand).

What are we observing and practicing on and off our mat this month?
Which part of the sequence can you recall, take home and practice, even if it is only one yin pose? Or keep going with Surya Namaskaras - can you increase the number of rounds you do, perhaps quicker to increase the heart rate? When the heart rate is up, observe your breath, and observe your energy levels. Keep the breath flowing steadily, observing 4-beats of breath…the inhale, the pause, the exhale, the pause….keeping a steady rhythm throughout your practice.