Each afternoon we participated in a series of Yoga in Daily Life practices aimed to deeply relax, heal and rejuvenate us. Starting with Yoga Nidra, followed by a gentle asana class and finishing with a long pranayam practice.
We gifted all participants with their very own pranayam danda – yoga breathing stick. They were cut to the appropriate size for each person and everyone decorated their own stick with coloured felt for the top and individual hand drawn designs where ever they wished to put them.
This danda / stick made it possible to practice pranayam comfortably for longer.
Pranayam very loosely translates as breathing exercises. Prana is the life force, the vitality that gives life. Yam means something like control. The main aim of these techniques is to bring the mind into a meditative state. Amazingly it also has heaps of very positive side affects!
There we were, 5 lovely days away from the stress and challenges of our everyday life. Even though we love that life, it’s important to take time to properly rest and rejuvenate. This afternoon program was designed especially to allow the yogic techniques to awaken the natural intelligence in our body systems to bring them to balance; for healing, deep rest, adrenal replenishing, immune boosting, mental clarity and filling us with vitality (prana!), just to name a few of those positive benefits I mentioned before.
Pranayam is a very subtle technique. Our breath and nervous system are directly connected, and even though we cannot feel anything when practicing there is a lot going on, it is very potent. If nothing else just remember this - the most important point to remember is to keep the breathing rhythm relaxed. Why? Think of how you breath when you are scared – you are probably not breathing at all! When you are nervous its generally short and quick breaths. When you are relaxed, like when you are in deep sleep it is slow and deep breaths. The state of our nervous system is reflected in our breathing. The yoga masters teach us to take full advantage of the fact that we can consciously influence our breathing to create a positive effect on our nervous system. When we practiced Nadi Shodhana Pranayam at the retreat with a relaxed breathing rhythm we were sending a message to our nervous system for balancing and harmonising. This message goes to the brain and then to all the other systems in the body. It’s nothing short of amazing!
We also increased our pranic intake through simply breathing in the fresh air of the nature around us of the Royal National Park & South Coast beaches of NSW, by eating freshly prepared vegan wholefoods and keeping positive company with our new yoga friends.
So 2017, we are recharged and ready for a fabulous New Year!
How To Practice (from http://www.yogaindailylife.org/system/en/ )
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama Level 1 Purification of the Nervous System
Starting Position: a comfortable, upright sitting position
Concentration: on the process of relaxed breathing
Repetitions: 20 times with each nostril
Sit relaxed and concentrate on the normal breath for a few minutes.
> Lift the right hand, place the index finger and middle finger at the eyebrow centre (Pranayama Mudra) and close the right nostril with the thumb.
> Breathe through the left nostril 20 times - the breath is slightly deeper than normal and directed into the abdomen.
> Open the right nostril again and close the left nostril with the ring finger.
> Breathe through the right nostril 20 times - the breath is slightly deeper than normal and into the abdomen.
> Return the hand to the knee and observe the normal flow of the breath.
Rest your right elbow on your pranayam stick while your hand is in pranayam mudra. It takes away the tension from trying to hold the arm up in the practice.
Click > here to learn about more retreats happening throughout the year. And enjoy some more photos of this retreat following.