The Yoga of Breath | Richard Rosen

Summary of: The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama
By: Richard Rosen


Delve into the ancient art of pranayama, a yogic practice that harnesses the power of breath control, and learn how it can transform your daily life. Through this book summary of Richard Rosen’s ‘The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama’, you will be guided in mastering the foundations of breath control, identifying and addressing inefficient breathing, and adopting rituals to enhance your pranayama practice. Discover techniques such as nostril balance, Conqueror’s breath, and Against-the-Grain breath that can help you connect with yourself, alleviate stress, and achieve a sense of balance in life.

Breathe Right

Learn about the crucial link between breathing and consciousness, and how practicing pranayama can help you combat stress and improve your health. In this summary, you’ll discover the right way to breathe and how it can impact your body and mind. By breathing efficiently, through your nose and from your entire diaphragm, you can rid yourself of the ill-effects of breathing incorrectly. Start your pranayama journey to healthier breathing today.

Pranayama: The Art Of Breath Control And Rituals

Pranayama is a practice of breath control, accompanied by specific rituals that form an integral part of the tradition of yoga. This ancient practice requires regularity and discipline, practiced preferably during the hour of Brahma, a peaceful time just before sunrise, but consistency is the most important thing. A calm state of mind is essential before starting the practice, and dedicating a physical space for practice in a peaceful room is recommended. Yogis believe that starting a brief opening ritual facing towards the east direction where the sun rises while being in silence and dedicating your practice to the divine is helpful. It is highly preferred to unblock your sinuses before starting your practice and keeping a diary of your pranayama journey is a useful way to adjust course along the way, continuing with what’s working for you.

Finding Your Inner Witness

If you are a new student looking to start your pranayama practice, it’s essential to understand where you are before you set out on your journey. Instead of jumping right into complicated breathing exercises, take the time to get comfortable with an exercise that helps you gain more insight into both your mind and body – the witness exercise.

The witness is a way of looking at the world that you can harness all on your own. It is a friend who helps you contemplate yourself objectively without making any judgments or having any expectations. The witness exercise is useful because it lets you recognize how you usually breathe, and as a new student, you may discover that some aspects of your breathing are inefficient or unnecessary.

To get in touch with your inner witness, start by picturing yourself stepping away from your physical body and looking at yourself from a slight distance. From your toes to the crown of your head, how does every part of you feel? What do you notice about how your body breathes? The witness exercise teaches you to accept transitory emotions and thoughts without judgment and to let them pass.

By finding your inner witness, you will learn to see your true self beyond your emotions and thoughts while recognizing bad breathing habits and allowing them to disappear on their own. So take the time to find your inner witness and lay the groundwork for your pranayama practice.

Pranayama Journey Map

To enhance your breathing, mapping the inner spaces of your body is the crux of your Pranayama practice. By lying in shavasana and being in touch with your witness, you can build a mental map of your inner areas. One of the most important regions to map is your rib cage since it moves in all directions driven by your respiratory muscles. Observing the movement and size changes in your thorax and noting them in your pranayama journal can assist you in journeying through Pranayama.

Embarking on a Pranayama journey without a map is unwise, similar to starting any journey without a clear path. Mapping the inner spaces of the body is essential to breathe better. Instead of buying a pre-made map, your pranayama map is constructed by yourself with the assistance of your witness. The first step to building a pranayama map is to map the body’s surface, even the parts invisible to you.

Breathing without the awareness of your body’s inner areas can cause breathing problems. Avoid thinking of your body as flat and two-dimensional, as this will result in shallow breaths that do not reach deeper into your body. The solution to this is to focus on mapping the inner regions of your body. The pranayama map creation process starts by lying on your back in shavasana, which means corpse posture.

In shavasana, you must be as still as possible; this entails being mentally and physically immobile, identical to a dead body. When you’re in the corpse posture, your next step is to get in touch with your witness and start mapping your inner areas. The rib cage is one of the most crucial internal regions to map when creating a pranayama map.

Your ribs continually move when you inhale and exhale; their movement is not just up and down but also in and out and back and forth, propelled by your respiratory muscles, including your scalenes and intercostals. Unfortunately, several of us have stiff ribs that don’t move well because of poor posture or emotional stress.

Begin to construct the mental map of your rib cage by using three or four minutes to observe the rib’s movement. Start at the bottom ribs; place your hands over the ribs at the front of your chest, cross your hands over gradually, and bring them upwards to the top of your rib cage. Observe the changes in your thorax’s width, length, and breadth as you inhale and exhale. Once you’ve gained insight into how your rib cage moves, take note of this information in your pranayama journal.

In conclusion, mapping the inner spaces of your body is critical to your Pranayama journey. Start by lying on your back in shavasana and getting in touch with your inner witness. Map the movement and changes in the size of your thorax by observing the movement of your ribs and noting them in your pranayama journal. With a well-structured pranayama map, breathing better will no longer be a daunting task.

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