Tag Archives: breath

Art of Living course gets spotlighted in the Washington Post

washingtonpost.com Nonprofit Group Teaches D.C. How to Take a Breather also has some great photos of the open-air event in downtown Washington.

“Take a Breath DC” ran from Wednesday to Saturday and culminated in a group meditation for about 600 in Lafayette Park. The course was organized by the Art of Living Foundation, a nonprofit group that has its national headquarters on 15th Street NW. The cornerstone of Art of Living is a rhythmic breathing technique called Sudarshan Kriya. About 30 years ago, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (not the sitarist who knew the Beatles; different guy) discovered that this type of breathing, combined with yoga and meditation, can bring inner peace; he and his followers have taught the art of better breathing to millions since then.

I learned the AOL routines back in early 2004 and have continued them to this day, though I don’t do them everyday because it’s hard to fit all my practices into a single day. If I do yoga, I usually won’t do a kriya unless I’m really dead tired and need to revive my energy. I haven’t been to a Art of Living weekly session for several years and need to go back just to refresh my memory of the whole process.

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Missed my morning practice

I got home late last night and could not get settled into bed until well past 1:00 am. I did some yoga in an effort to unwind, but I was still alert and vigilant afterward. It was nearly impossible for me to wake up at 6:00 am to do my pranayama and meditation. That’s par for the course — on/off, and always a worthy excuse.

While doing my routine last night, I noticed that my thighs were stiff and a bit sore, probably from my hip-opener workshop.

Flipping my practice

Tonight I did not go to yoga class, but stayed at home and did a sudarshan kriya and then 20 minutes of meditation. It was really refreshing to purge my system and then let it simmer for a while in a peaceful place. It occurred to me that instead of doing this practice in the evenings, I should make a concerted effort to do it in the morning. Rather than being restored, I could energize and enliven my body and mind for the day. That would leave my evenings for a yoga class or journaling or family matters.

The biggest obstacle is that I have never been a “morning person.” I am not fully conscious until I have my first cup of coffee. I’ve tried to do a morning practice before, but always backslide after a few morning sessions. I have also tended to work on my websites, watch TV or surf until midnight or later. Since Teresa and I leave the house at 7:15 on Wednesdays and Thursdays so she can get to her school early, that removes the possibility of meditation and pranayama, unless I want to get up at 5:30. All this means that I can have the same routine each day, which would make it easier to form new habits and sleeping patterns. But she’s only got a few more weeks of teaching so we’ll be back to the normal routine of driving to the Metro at 8:10. But the real issue will how to make myself roll out of bid, put my knees on the floor and do my durga three-part breathing that starts out the Art of Living routine. Once I get started, the pranayama will goose my juices like a cold shower.

Breath and Life

I had a great workshop with Darren Main at TranquilSpace: Prana — the Breath of Live. Darren is a sensitive, insightful teacher and he led us through some really deep breathing exercises. I wish I could have gone to the other workshops this weekend, but I had too many things cooking. I’ve been writing about the experience offline and may try to put up something more substantial than this simple entry.

If anyone has a chance to grab a seminar or teacher training with Darren, I highly recommend it. He also has some interesting books that I am going to check out.

Six months of breathwork

I have completed a little over six months of daily pranayama. What strikes me is that despite the repetitive nature of the practice (I am doing the standard Art of Living kriya practice), I have not gotten bored. I’ve developed a more nuanced sensitivity to how my breath affects the whole body. There’s a lot more to than just moving the diaphragm up and down.

New Art of Living group

This weekend I realized that I had not done the long kriya in nearly two months. My original group had stopped meeting because it lost its borrowed office space. I looked up another group in my area (Rockville, MD), made contact to confirm the meeting, went to Stephen and Amita Cupp’s house this Sunday afternoon and participated in the weekly gathering. It was a very Indian setting — we sat in a living room without chairs or couches, just a beautiful carpet. In addition to the long kriya, we spent some time singing AoL songs. Apparently my DC group was musically challenged and skipped the singing part.

It’s important to keep doing the long kriya because you can check your form and timing. I noticed that I was cutting my intervals in 3-part breathing too short.

Last week in my acupuncture session, Kelly told me that he was going to work at opening up my lungs and heart, in addition to dealing with my lower back strain. I noticed on Friday during my morning kriya that my breathing was exceptionally deep and fluid. That also made me want to do the long kriya as well.

It fits together.