By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

When teaching Pranayama (Yogic Breathing Techniques), to a student who is new to Yoga, you realize that beginners take their breathing for granted. It is natural to take breath and life for granted.

Breathing happens naturally, or conditionally, without giving it a thought. At the same time, breathing makes life, itself, possible.
In the Yoga Sutras, Maharishi Patanjali mentions pranayama as the fourth limb in the Eight Limbed Path.

Pranayama has therapeutic value, and it is the most basic tool for creating a mind / body connection. Through pranayama practice, self-realization and presence in our Yoga practice are discovered.

As you sit on a mat practicing meditation, asana, pranayama, mudra, bandhas, japa, or any Yogic method – this is just practice for daily life situations. All of these aspects should be part of your daily life, regardless of the location of your Yoga mat. The easiest method to transfer into daily life is pranayama.

How many people practice pranayama with every breath of life? Actually no one can do this because it is impossible to monitor your breath, with complete awareness, for days at a time. You have to go to sleep sometime. The moment you go to sleep, your breathing will not be monitored, and it will take an unconscious course.

However, if you make a concerted effort to practice pranayama throughout the day, you will feel much healthier. There are some pranayama techniques you can perform, during the day, without making anyone aware of it. The only awareness required is yours alone.

During 200-hour Yoga teacher training sessions, it is not necessary for interns to learn one hundred pranayama techniques. On the other hand, any pranayama taught in a teacher course should be thoroughly covered and practiced repeatedly.

Of the many pranayama techniques to choose from, Bhastrika, Kapalbhati, Anulom-Vilom, Brahmari, Udgeeth, and Ujjayi are essential. There are many more valuable methods, but these six techniques are priceless. Interns must be properly guided and monitored, as they will teach these techniques to their students. Complete understanding of six to ten techniques is essential.

Therefore, the ability to completely understand the therapeutic application, and how to perform each technique, is much more important than quantity of pranayama methods learned.

At the 200-hour level, it is better to know the application and mechanics of six essential pranayama methods thoroughly, than it is to learn one hundred techniques. Consider this: After the teacher training is over, how many graduates will remember more than six techniques?

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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