A Vital Action
Guruji made this statement during a course on the five Vayus (centres of vital energy) at his Institute in Pune. On senior pupils he showed how the flow of this energy was obstructed and how to free its flow with the practice of yoga.
Probably you’ve had the experience of entering a class tired and leaving in a calmer healthier state of body and mind. Or perhaps you arrived with no energy, overwhelmed by life, and left with energy and focus to deal with these obstacles. In our current crisis our entire way of life is under threat as is our life itself.
There is not much most of us can do beyond following the protocols for cleanliness, hygiene, social distancing, quarantine plus supporting those we love and our society at large as best we can. As Geeta Iyengar would have said: Is it not your Duty?
There is also a duty to oneself: to take care of our own body, mind and breath. If we want to live we have to breathe in and out until the time comes when we exhale and then……….. (fill in the blank for yourself). Meanwhile, coming back to the present, a breathing practice is an excellent way to approach this challenge, and give our body the best possible chance to handle the virus which threatens us all.
Some people are drawn to reflective practices and others to active ones. As Guruji says, we need both! Breathing is a vital action and one simple way to serve both purposes is to lie down on an even surface, with suitable support, observe your breath and make adjustments so it can flow smoothly, quietly and healthily. And whenever thoughts intrude, if they are concerned with anything other than your body/mind/breath at this moment in time, put them aside and focus on another smooth inhalation, slow exhalation. This can become a mantra which will spend the day with you wherever you are whatever you are doing. And if you have never been taught pranayama, we offer a few suggestions on how to support yourself, inhale and exhale!
Shirley Daventry French
with illustrations by Lauren Cox