Welcome to Your Breath Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 7

Breath and Prana

10 min - Practice


Kira helps us discover the difference between air, breath, and prana. For this exploration we lie on our backs and use a strap to feel a stretch in one leg, breathe into the sensations we experience, and then notice how different this leg feels from the other after releasing tension.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap

About This Video


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Let's see if we can find some distinction between these words air, breath, and prana. We'll do that with a simple hamstring stretch. So lie yourself down. I'm putting a blanket underneath my head because it makes it more comfortable, but it's not necessary. And I'm going to be using a strap to make it easier to stretch my hamstring. Again, that's not necessary but oh, so helpful. Okay, keep the left foot on the floor and knee bent, let the right knee come into your chest, wrap the strap around the ball of the foot, just begin to extend that right leg up towards the sky. Now right away you can kind of feel a twang in the back of the right knee and through that hamstring. Soften that a little bit, relax your right hip slightly so that you let the outside of the right hip drop. And then just begin to reach through the right heel enough until you start to feel the intensity. And one of the purposes of deliberately creating a place of intensity of sensation in the body is it helps draw our attention there. Right? Like rarely do we pay attention to something that doesn't hurt a little bit. And so then, and then as you have your attention there, you might keep this left knee bent for more support in the back. If it would feel better to you to draw the left leg straight, go ahead, maybe a little flex through the left foot. And now notice that with your attention in the area of sensation, notice that you can have a feeling of like you can inhale into this region. And you can exhale in this region.

Like notice that you have a sense of being able to inhale in the back of the leg and exhale in the back of the leg. But of course, as we've been exploring the anatomy of the breath, you know that you're not really breathing into this area. So what's happening here? Okay, hold onto the strap with just your right hand and start to let that right leg open out to the side a little bit. So you start to feel this sensation more across the inner thigh and bend the knee a little bit if it's too much. And then same thing, like notice how you can move your attention to an area. And there's a sense as you inhale that you can direct the breath. We don't use the word air in yoga, we say direct the breath. And you can exhale and soften. And what you're starting to touch on is you start to sort of connect this awareness that you can use your attention and a feeling of your breathing to affect an area, the sensation, the quality of sensation in an area. You're starting to make a connection to what the yogis call your prana. Okay, next inhale, let the leg come back up to center. Wiggle the leg a little closer in towards you, feel a little bit of a, as you exhale, like with a mouth open, like exhale even a little bit more, like more dramatically. Nice, keep the leg extended, release the strap, shake the leg out a little bit and then slow, let the heel lower and let the leg fall all the way back down to the floor. Let both legs relax, big deliberate inhale, exhale everything. And now let your attention be aware of the feeling tone in the leg you just stretched in that right leg, like let your awareness be in how that leg feels. And if it helps compare it to how the other leg feels. And if it helps find a word or two or an image to help describe it, you know, usually longer is a pretty common word, but maybe it feels more fluid or fluffy or sparkly. Nice. And so what the yogis would say is, what's occurring is there's more awareness of the prana, which is usually translated as life force, there's more awareness of the prana in this leg. Now that we've relaxed some of the tension, reduce some of the muscular tension. Okay, bring the left knee in, bend the right knee so the sole of the foot starts on the foot, wrap the strap around the bottom of that foot and extend that leg up and then back it off a little bit. And then let a bit of a happen. So you soften the outside of the hip and then gently extend up through the heel. And so you can feel that twang. And again, pain is incredibly useful for getting your attention. So that little bit of sensation in the back of the leg, it's like, oh, you've noticed it, move your attention there. And now let that help you direct a sense of your breath is the phrase I'm going to use now. There's a sense that you can inhale towards the area, which kind of has a sense of preparing you for the situation. And as you exhale, let it soften. Yeah, let the inhale kind of prepare you for the situation. And then notice how you exhale, there's a sense that you can go a little bit deeper, like it's through the release, the release of the intensity that allows you to go a little bit deeper. Wobble it a little side to side, either keeping this right knee bent or letting it draw straight. So the prana, according to the yogis, okay, the prana is essentially what we would call the deeper layers of the breath. So after the exchange, after the exchange of the gases of the air, okay, then the feeling of that is the prana. Hold on to that strap in the left hand, let that leg open about to the side. And according to the yogis, you know, we have somewhere around 360,000 nadis channels through which this prana runs, of which only about 14 still have names of which usually we only focus on three, you might know the names, the shushumna, the eda, and the pingala. Not a bit of a happen, but obviously you can have a sense more of those 360,000 through your ability to reach your attention and a feeling of your breath towards an area. A couple more beats here. Okay, inhale, bring that leg back up to center, wobble it a little bit side to side, a little closer towards your face. Gorgeous. Now release the strap, shake the leg out a little bit, lead with the heel, let that leg lower all the way back down to the earth and then let it relax. Let both legs be easy, be deliberate, inhale, let it up. I'm just like, be aware of the resulting essentially luminosity in your legs through the release of the tension. And through the release of the tension with the yogi say is we become aware of the prana that is flowing all the time. Okay, so it's not necessarily that you've quote increased the flow of prana so much as you've removed what was blocking you from seeing and feeling it more clearly. Beautiful. Couple more moments here like just rest in this. So this is kind of like, this becomes useful the distinction between the air. But the air becomes breath, usually in the language of yoga when there's more of a sense of intention. And not only can we affect how we experience the breath throughout the body. But the suggestion is that we can actually experience the air we inhale as richer and more interesting as we become aware more of the context in which we swim. Okay, yogis, see you in the next episode.


Jenny S
3 people like this.
This morning I rolled out of bed and right onto my mat for this practice (which I highly recommend). This simple, subtle exploration woke up my mind as well as my physical body. What a wonderful difference in just a few short minutes ✨✨✨✨
Kira Sloane
1 person likes this.
Jenny S, LOVE!
Agnes Gerritsen
Wow, thank you Kira for practicing with and explaining prana. Looking forward to the next episode 🙏🏼
Kira Sloane
Sandra Židan
I loved this episode! Thanks, Kira!
Kira Sloane
Sandra Židan, so happy to hear!
Michelle F
1 person likes this.
luminous legs - what´s not to like! 
loving these little explorations Kira, so great to practice along with you again!
Have a beautiful day!
Kira Sloane
Michelle F happy to be together!
Kate M
1 person likes this.
You invite a deep dive with such gentle simplicity and love that it's irresistible.
Kira Sloane
1 person likes this.
Kate M, YUM!
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