Teacher: Tara Lemerise

Tuesdays 6:15-7:30 pm

July 23 to August 6

$50 for the full series / $25 for members (members, email us for your discount code!)

Register here.

 

Why Meditation?

Meditation is shown to have numerous health benefits, including stress release, impulse control, alleviation of anxiety, and heightened emotional health. In addition, meditation can enhance self-awareness and even generate kindness. It can be practiced by anyone, and uses a variety of techniques to still the mind. One of the easiest forms of meditation involves pranayama.

 

What is Pranayama?

In Greek, it is known as pneuma. In Chinese, ch’i. In Latin, it is anima. In German, od and in Hebrew, it is ruah. The yogis call is prana, or life force. It is the energy that animates all things and makes all things function, move and grow.

Pranayama is literally translated to control of the life force. But to think we can control our life force is a bit presumptuous. Imaging rowing a boat and thinking you are able to move the entire ocean with your oars.

It is more accurate to think about pranayama as the oars that help you navigate the currents of the life force sea. It is the practice of managing breath as a way to enhance, regulate, and clear the pathways for the movement of our life force.

Pranayama is an accessible and fundamental – if not often taught – yoga practice. It can help alleviate stress, shift your emotional state, and quiet your mind, opening the door to meditation. Even better, it is available to everyone. If you can breathe, you can do this!

 

What is this Series About?

In this 3-week class series, you will learn how to notice your patterns of breathing, why and how it could be useful to disrupt those patterns, and several simple but powerful pranayamatechniques.

We begin class with some exercises and activities to heighten awareness of your typical breathing habits. You will learn about the anatomy, mechanics, and benefits of breathing in a more physiologically efficient way.

We will explore why yogis practice Ujjayi and the strategy for creating this recognizable “ocean breath” sound.

We’ll learn the technique called kumbhak, or breath retention. This practice is said to hold the most salient experience of meditation because when you practice it there is nothing to accomplish – not even the need to breathe!

And of course no pranayama study could be complete without the most widely recognized pranayama practice, Nadi Shodhana, commonly called alternate nostril breathing.

Our practices will include some work with mantra (phrases to help focus the mind), mudra (hand positions), and mala beads (beads that help keep track of repetitions, akin to prayer beads in other traditions.)

Everyone is welcome. If you breathe, you can do this yoga! If you’ve been interested in meditation but found it difficult or frustrating or just don’t know where to begin, this is the perfect class for you.