Kriya to the rescue

I have to admit something. Most of my  visitors don’t come here to read about my yoga practice and other jottings.

They come to check out my pages on the Art of Living Foundation, sudarshan kriya and sahaj samadhi. I get a huge amount of traffic from Sometimes, they will ask questions about the practice or where to find a teacher or whatever. I am not very qualified to talk about AoL practices. I am not one of their trained and certified instructors. I haven’t been to the maja kriya (group practice) in at least four years, even though the Washington DC National Chapter has great facilities for classes and yoga (Meridian Yoga Studio) on 15th Street, NW. For a long time, I let my kriya practice lapse as I concentrated on hatha yoga. But this summer, I started to return more regularly to my breathing practice, and now I try to fit it in everyday, but it’s closer to five days a week.

In many ways, I’ve become less methodical with my kriya now. I don’t freak out if I don’t get the exact number of repetitions of pranayama that are prescribed. I’ve also softened my approach: I used to be a Type-A breather who tried to get the biggest volume of air in and out of my lungs as fast as possible. Ever since Howard Rontal liberated my diaphragm, I’ve become more mellow in my breathing practice because the same volume of air seems to flow without as much effort. I pay more attention to the quality of my breath.

I’ve also added my personal touch to the kriya practice. In between each exercise, I fit in yogic stretches for my arms and shoulders so that I open up my rib cage and broaden my shoulders as much as possible. I also need to stretch my legs if I am seated on the floor; otherwise, my legs will be numb by the end of the session.

I fit my routine in whenever I can. If I have 15 minutes to spare before going to work, I do it before going to the Metro station. At work, I may look for a vacant meeting room during lunch or on a break. Otherwise, I practice in the evening after dinner or my yoga class. On the  weekends, it’s a nice boost of energy in the afternoon because I am usually dragging after yoga class in the morning.

Now that I am writing about the AoL kriya practice, it reminds me that I really should go to a maha kriya. There is nothing like 10-20 people breathing in unison to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s high-pitched voice chanting the pace of the breath.