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Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Artwork
Season 7 - Episode 3

Prana and Breath Meditation

25 min - Practice
19 likes

Description

Inspired by Sutra 1.34, James guides us in a meditation to tune into our prana and our breath. We notice the subtle sensations in the body and the spaces between the breath. You will feel centered and calm.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Transcript

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So here, following Patanjali's suggestion in the 34th sutra, we can use the support of the movements of the life force and the breath within our own physical body as the ala-mana or support for our practice. So taking a comfortable seat, but knowing of course that if you want to do this meditation standing that is also fine, and when you take a seat, know it's also completely fine to sit in a chair. The asana, the seat, is defined by Patanjali later in the second chapter as being at once steady and easeful, so this is really the most important thing, doesn't matter what it looks like, but can you take a seat that invites you into that experience of being steady and easeful? You might want to lift the hips a little bit, do whatever you need to, to get a nice comfortable seat. Feel that it allows you to feel spacious and alert through the length of your spine, and then for this practice, to begin with, it's nice if you can have the palms facing upwards, so if you're standing they can face forwards, and if you're sitting, place the hands on the thighs or in the lap in such a way that the palms face upwards, and as you establish your seat, take a couple of moments just to check that the skin of the forehead is relaxed and easy.

I'd invite you to close the eyes if they're not already. Feel that the shoulders are relaxed and easy. Take a couple of moments to notice the way that the body gently expands with the inhalation, and gently draws back in towards the center with the exhalation, and then bring the awareness to the palms of the hands, and allow yourself to notice there in the palms of the hands a sensation of soft energy movement, and as you notice that sensation of soft energy movement in the palms of your hands, softly but audibly to yourself, say yes, and then bring in the awareness to the fingers and the fingertips, allow yourself to notice there the sensation of pulsation, first noticing the sensation of pulsation in the little fingers, then noticing the pulsations in the ring fingers, allowing yourself to notice the pulsations in the middle fingers, allowing yourself to notice the pulsations in the index fingers, and bring in the awareness to the thumbs, and allowing yourself to notice the pulsations in the thumbs. These pulsations are like the echo of our heartbeats. And for a couple of moments now, allow yourself to notice the heartbeat.

And allow yourself to notice how really the whole body is pulsating. Maintain an awareness of that pulsation. Bring the awareness once again now to the fingers and the fingertips. And this time, allow yourself to notice there subtler sensations like electricity or a gentle tingling. And first allow yourself to notice those soft electric sensations in the little fingers.

And then allow yourself to notice those soft electric sensations in the ring fingers. Allow yourself to notice those soft electric sensations in the ring fingers. Allow yourself to notice the soft electric sensations in the middle fingers, allow yourself to notice now the soft electric sensations in the index fingers, and then allow yourself to notice those soft electric sensations in the thumbs. These soft electric sensations are an indication of the life force within us, the prana, also referred to as the chi for example, it goes by many names, and it's always there. Feeling that subtle energetic vital presence through the body, bring your awareness now to the area between the nostrils and the upper lip, and now allow yourself to notice the easy movement of the breath in and out of the body through the nostrils, and allow yourself to notice how as the breath moves in, the sensation there in the nostrils is relatively slightly cooler, and when the breath comes out it's relatively slightly warmer, and allow yourself just to notice now for a couple of moments, that experience of the slightly cooler sensation on the inhalation through the nostrils, and the slightly warmer sensation with the exhalation, and having noticed that slightly cooler sensation on the in breath, and the slightly warmer sensation on the out breath, maintain awareness of that subtle breath pattern, bring your attention once again to the hands, to the palms of the hands and the fingers, and allow yourself to notice how there too, in the hands and fingers, there is a subtle inhale exhale sensation, and when we notice that subtle inhale exhale sensation in the palms of the hands, it's an indication that our awareness is clear and relaxed, and with this balanced, clear and relaxed awareness, we'll continue now, and bring the observation to the breath, and the easy move to the breath in and out of the body, and as we do this we're going to take care, but as soon as we start to watch the breath, it can be easy to artificially amplify or even accelerate the breath, so take it easy, just allow yourself to notice the body breathing, as you're breathing in and just be aware of the inhalation, be aware of the phenomena of the fact that you're breathing in, and as you're breathing out and just be aware, I'm breathing out, and take it easy, and the breath doesn't have to be any particular way, just let it be as the body knows it wants to be, because the truth is that the body is an expert breather, so as the body goes about the breathing, allow yourself to relax into subtle observation, and as we're breathing in, we just allow ourselves to be aware of the phenomena, the experience of the in-breath, and as we're breathing out, we allow ourselves to be aware of the phenomena and the experience of the out-breath, and stay with that for a few moments now, as we're breathing in, we're aware of the inhalation, as we're breathing out, we're aware of the exhalation, and if at any time the awareness wanders off somewhere else, no problem at all, when we notice that, it's just the observation to gently, patiently reorient the awareness back to the point of support, in this case, the easy movement of the breath in, and the easy movement of the breath out, and as we observe the easy movement of the breath in and out of the body, we may begin to notice the occurrence of a third phenomena, at the end of the inhalation, even if it is momentary, there may arise a subtle pause before the beginning of the exhalation, and at the end of the exhalation, there too, there may be a subtle pause, or gap, before the emergence of the inhalation, so allow yourself also to notice, as well as the easy movement of the breath in to the body, and the easy movement of the breath out to the body, this sensation, this experience of the pause, or the gap, between the breath in and out, and between the breath out and in, so now, and continuing, as we breathe in, we're aware that we're breathing in, and then at the end of the inhalation, we allow ourselves to be aware of the pause, and then as we breathe out, we're aware that we're breathing out, and then at the end of the exhalation, we allow ourselves to be aware of the subtle pause, or gap, and so continuing like this for a few minutes now, as we're breathing in, we're aware that we're breathing in, at the end of the inhalation, there may emerge naturally this experience of the pause, or the gap, we allow ourselves to notice that, and then as the breath moves outwards, we allow ourselves to notice the exhalation, at the end of the exhalation, we may experience this subtle pause, or gap, we allow ourselves to notice and experience it, and so on like that, and so now, the point of awareness, the support for our meditation practice here, the movement of the breath in, the pause, the movement of the breath out, and the pause, the experience of the inhalation, the experience of the pause, the experience of the exhalation, and the experience of the pause.

Taking it easy, and if at any time we notice that the awareness has wandered off somewhere else, no problem at all, that noticing is just the opportunity and the invitation to patiently, steadily, invite the awareness back to the point of support. In this case, the movement of the breath into the body, and the pause, the movement of the breath out of the body, and the pause. Taking it easy, and we'll continue like this, for about seven minutes now. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Softly now. Taking your time.

Allow yourself to notice once again now. The subtle impact of the movement of the breath in the body and physical space. Noticing as you breathe in. The way the body gently expands laterally. And as you breathe out, that gentle drawing back in towards the center.

And as you breathe in again, invite a little bit more space to open up across the palms of the hands and between the fingers. And as you exhale again, keeping the skin of the forehead, keeping the shoulders relaxed and spacious. Bring the two hands so the roots and tips of the fingers and thumbs meet. More or less in front of the level of the heart or the sternum. Feel that connectivity between the two sides of the body.

And as you join the hands, allow yourself to notice the sensations and the pulsations in the two hands. Feel the temperature between the hands. And notice the temperature around the hands. And then keeping the forehead and the shoulders relaxed. You can invite the temperature between the hands to increase by rubbing the palms.

And once the palms are nice and warm, bring the warm palms in front of the eyes, fingers towards the head. And with the palms in front of the eyes, the fingers on the head, shoulders relaxed. Take a moment in this position to notice the connection from the roots of the spine through to the crown of the head. Feel the connectivity to the whole of the body. And then taking your time as you're ready, gently bringing the hands down in front of the eyes, the face, in front of the torso.

And then letting the hands rest once more on the thighs or on the lap. And then taking a few moments, taking your time to gently begin to open the eyes. And as you're ready, begin to come out of the meditation practice, or rather to come out of the practice of the meditation technique. And then continue with the real practice of meditating the rest of the day. And bringing the integration that we've cultivated through this work with the technique into whatever it is that we're going to get on with now.

Thank you.

Comments

Joan J
1 person likes this.
Wonderful meditative experience. You make it delightful to go inward, relax and feel the sensations of the bodies' energy. Grateful for your teaching 🕊
Jytte R
Yes, wonderful meditation….became soft and emotional. Thank you❤️

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