For the first time, I am going to share the science of Pranayama in the second module of Mothers Love Kids Yoga Teachers Training next month. The content is not confined to what I have learned in my yoga teachers training but I will also be transmitting the experiences in my muscle memory and bio memory from the initiation I received from my Guru, Bhagawan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam (fondly known as Swamiji).
What is pranayama?
The word pranayama comprises of two roots: prana plus ayama. ‘Prana’ means ‘vital energy’ or ‘life force’. ‘Ayama’is defined as ‘extension’ or ‘expansion’. Therefore, the word ‘Pranayama’ means ‘extension and expansion of prana’.
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I remembered an incident that happened in one of my yoga classes in 2002. It was during the deep relaxation phase, I guided a group of students to visualize breathing all the way down to the toes with awareness. After the class, one middle-aged lady, who was a teacher, came to ask me “How can we breathe to the toes when we only breathe through the lungs?”
This incident taught me the importance of giving a deeper understanding about the breath beyond the physiological process to a layman. To the laymen who are wired by logics and intellectual scientific facts, they are only able to accept facts relating to the matter world. In the field of energy, the modern science still has a long way to catch up with spirituality. The good news is they are moving towards the right direction. We can see a growing interest in research about energy and the popularity of alternative therapy such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Acupuncture, Ayurveda and different forms of energy healing in recent couple of decades. One thing these practices have in common is their fundamental core understanding in seeing the human body as holistic bio-energy not just as matter of different systems.
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