Wednesday, May 03, 2017

NO yoga without pranayama

So many yoga practitioners who claim that they do asanas but  not pranayama. Some are proud to be meditating but no asana, no pranayama. Some teachers, which is worse, do not practice pranayama, so obviously cannot teach pranayama. Most of the classes think of pranayama as dispensable or a boring practice. 
There are some reasons why a teacher does not make pranayama a regular event in her/his class: 
* They themselves do not practice. 
* Giving instructions of pranayma requires a strong energy base from the teacher -- it requires a lot of mental energy from the teacher to be able to manage pranayama as an event in the class. 
* Most beginners find pranayama difficult or boring, so the teachers who want to make a commercial success of the class, succumb to this market "demand".
* Most people resist pranayama because it involves a pre-meditative behavior and most people are still not connected to yoga as a mind-body practice. So, it could be that the class is not meditative and therefore it becomes difficult to include a meditative attitude. 

But there is no yoga without pranayma. More on this later, but here is a short story that is popular amongst yogis: 

In yoga, the experienced world is a marriage between two entities. Consciousness, which is the male element or purusha.  The female element of prakriti, experienced  as breath. They co-exist and move together like a man and his shadow. The harmony between the two means good health. It is said once there was a quarrel amongst the senses and mind on one side (the senses and mind co-exist, each feeding the other) and prana on the other side. The mind and senses, since they were such a large group, felt they were indispensable for life. Prana or breath refuted their stand. To prove their point, mind stopped functioning. Nothing happened, the body continued to be alive. The senses stopped their work too. The body continued functioning. When prana decided to leave, the body started to die. This convinced the mind and its attendant senses that prana indeed was the superior force.  

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