4-wk Intensive Course | INTRODUCTION TO YOGA BREATHING with Richard Rosen

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4-wk Intensive Course | INTRODUCTION TO YOGA BREATHING with Richard Rosen

4-wk intensive on Pranayama with Richard Rosen

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For a thousand years prior to the twentieth century, the main practice of Hatha Yoga was the systematic conscious breathing known as pranayama, literally the retention and expansion (ayama) of the vital force (prana). The popularity today of asana practice is so widespread and dominant that it’s often equated with all of yoga itself. But traditionally, asana played no more than a supporting role in yoga, serving essentially as a sitting position for the yogi. According to the fourteenth century CE “Seed of Yoga” (Yoga Bija), “whoever wants to achieve success in yoga without ... practicing pranayama ... is like a person who wants to cross the ocean in an unbaked earthen pitcher” (77). This means, naturally, that such a practitioner has no chance for success at all.

But now that we’ve refined our asana practice to a degree unimagined by the old yogis, it seems like an opportune time to turn our attention back to pranayama. How to start? With an approach that’s both simple and accessible to anyone with a relatively consistent asana practice. This intensive will consist of four weekly classes, each two hours in length, and will focus on the two foundational breaths of modern yoga, Conqueror (ujjayi) and Against-the-Grain (viloma). We’ll also work with preparatory asana-based exercises, several supporting techniques, such as nadi shodhana, the “purification” of the energy channels (nadi) and the “unspoken” (ajapa) mantra, and a traditional breath or two, such as Bee (brahmari), and Cooling (shitali). The practice will begin with reclining breathing, then toward the end of the intensive, we’ll work with proper sitting for breathing and meditation. There will also be time at the end of each session for students’ questions.

This intensive is recommended for students with at least six months regular asana practice, though with that said, everyone is welcome....

RICHARD ROSEN began his yoga study in 1980, graduated from the teacher training program at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco in 1983, and has been teaching yoga since 1987. He’s written five books on yoga, two of them on pranayama, The Yoga of Breath (Shambhala, 2002) and Pranayama: Beyond the Fundamentals (Shambhala, 2006). His next book, Yoga by the Numbers, is due out in December 2022.