Breath, Like a Falling Star

by Alessandra Sotti

My yoga practice has been started about 10 years ago, in a yoga class as an ordinary student. After a while, in my private life I began seeking more information about yoga. I wondered more and more: What was so “special” about this technique, what was the thing that made me feel so “alive”?

I totally fell in love with the physical practice, with asana at first… foto 1As the time went by, the aspect of the breathing became more and more intense, as an inseparable part of my practice. Doing the practice was like being in a warm, starry night where everything is perfect and the breathing was like a falling star making everything brighter. Pranayama is that falling star able of sweeping away all the thoughts!

Everyday I make time for my yoga practice. It can be 30 minutes or 2 hours. Whatever the length of the practice is, the thing that guides it is the breath. That’s also what I ask my students to do. In every yoga class I say: “Relax your shoulder, relax your arms, relax your face, your entire body… And just breathe… Feel the air trough your nostrils… Feel the journey of the breath going down in your body, filling your belly when you breathe in and emptying it when you breathe out…” Every time they focus on their breathing, their faces relax, their gestures and expressions change. Their souls become more comfortable inside, rigid body, the magic of the breath just happens. It makes the mind quieter…

This is only an impression that I observe from the outside. Thus, I also asked to those lovely souls to share just a few words of their own experience, about their feeling when the awareness is taken to the energy of breath. You can find their precious sharings below:

“I like yoga because for me it’s a way of observing and discovering myself by doing physical activity. I believe that the postures and pranayama must be together. When I used to practice regularly I could bring back some rare and precious moments of pranayama in my daily life, especially when I was stressed or I needed to be more focused and even when I was giving birth to both of my sons it was very helpful. After a yoga lesson I feel restored and every yoga class is a new beginning.” Nadia

“I feel the effects of pranayama practice differently depending on whether it’s done at the beginning or at the end of the yoga class. At the beginning of the class usually there is a fight against thoughts, concern, and resentfulness, I am trying to slow down the mind! The breath slows down but the mind does not so often. At the end of the class everything gets easier and I can lose myself into the rhythm of the air in a natural way.  When I manage to feel the air going in and out through my body I can feel the backwash of the sea in a steady day. The breath is light and deep at the same time, and I cannot explain in a logical way that this contradiction can exist, but that is the sensation I have.

I try to go back to pranayama technique to manage my anger. The anger contracts the mind and the mind contracts the body, in my case it hits my stomach. Then I stop and I start to breath in to my belly, I try to connect my thoughts and my breaths. I let go the air and the thoughts. The breath goes out while taking away the dirt and heaviness from the inside. The breath takes away my anxiety, dissolves my anger and makes me feel stronger and ready to face any kind of situation. I don’t succeed every time I try. But I believe that with practice it will become more and more easier.” Francesca

“I’ve been doing yoga for some years and also at the beginning of my practice I tried pranayama. All my yoga teachers included (and they still include) pranayama techniques in their yoga class. So I do the same in my personal practice. In the fall of 2010, I had allergies and for some time I took medicines. Few months later, I check for allergic reaction with some exams suggested by the doctor: they were negative. After, I carried on the pranayama practice with many benefits. In those periods of the year in which the allergies are most likely I never took medicines but I practiced regularly pranayama.

My yoga exercises often include two techniques of pranayama: Nadi Shodhana and Kapalabhati. The first one is calming but at the same time energizing. Indeed it works on two main channels in which the energy flows along the spinal column, Ida and Pingala, which carry two different types of energy. In Ida channel the energy flows calming and meditative; instead in Pingala channel flows dynamic and solar energy. The second exercise, Kapalabhati, is strong and intensive but very interesting because it helps to breathe well and to throw out toxins from breathing organs.

I consider pranayama an important part of yoga practice because it is useful for better breathing and, at a deeper level, it works to balance Prana.” Chiara

“I was able to use the control of the breath when I was giving birth to my second son, I managed to control the pain and that helped me having an easy delivery.” Monica

“When I have terrible headaches breathing has been always very helpful. Every day I make time for myself about 15 minutes to bring my awareness to my breath. It helps me a lot when my headache gets unbearable by diverting my attention from the pain. Recently I have tried doing Kapalabhati Pranayama which is perfect in giving me energy!” Chris

I have small classes of 4 persons, it’s an intimate moment and I can follow their needs. I used to plan a sequence that flow on Ujjayi Pranayama, in this way the mind gets focused on the breath and it’s easier to understand if everything is flowing correctly. Then I guide Nadi Shodhana Kapalabhati, Sheetali and other pranayama techniques depending on the needs of my students. Their feelings usually guides me during the practice. The magic of breath and pranayama is something that anyone can take from “the air” anything that is needed! The air is always the same but it can give us the peace we are looking for… And it’s totally different each time we take in.

If you need strength… Just breathe…
If you need calmness… Just breathe…
If you need energy… Just breathe…
If you need to rest… Just breathe…
If you need to clear your mind… Just breathe…
If you need not to think… Just breathe…
If you want to be happy… Breathe! And enjoy every single breath of your beautiful life!

About Alessandra Sotti: Alessandra is a naturopath specialized in reflexology, ayurveda, floritherapy and applied kinesiology. Her yoga practice started about 10 years ago and she recently become a certified yoga instructor. She continues learning and teaching yoga.

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1 Response

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