There are five sheaths or koshas. Over the last two weeks we have been focusing on Annamaya Kosha, the physical body. and now we’re moving on to Pranamaya Kosha, the energy sheath. This one joins with Annamaya Kosha to form the Gross or Dense Body, and is supported by the practice of pranayama.
We’re going to begin with the Complete Yoga Breath, Mahat Pranayama. Then we’ll sit for the practice of Kapalabhati. (This is the skull-shining breath. It clears the head and does a wonderful job of toning the abdomen!)
We’ll work with butterfly knees, rocking buddha, Merudandasana and the beautiful tortoise, and then we’ll rest while working with Ujjayi Pranayama.
On to the mermaid now, and then to the variation on the swan, Hamsasana, which is our challenge pose of this half-term.
We’ll use downward dog as a transition pose to standing and there we will practise the Tree of Life Breath done with Ujjayi Pranayama.
Let’s move on to Warrior 2, allowing it to lead us into Triangle. And now for a balance!
Back down to the mat through the squat and we’ll practise the Bee Breath, Bhramari.
For the meditation we’ll try Sama Vritti Pranayama, the square breath, remembering that it is Pranayama that supports the Pranamaya Kosha.
Relaxation will be Anu Loma Viloma Kriya, which works with the energy sheath.
The reading this week is an old Hindu Rhyme.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti
Let’s begin with the left hand on the heart and the right hand on the lower abdomen. The short relaxation is a time to let go of our busy lives and to step into the present moment.
After the stretches we’ll stand for Malla Kriya, the whooshing breath. And then we’ll meet some wide-legged forward bends. Let’s balance that with assisted backward bends and then standing twists. After resting in the mountain pose we’ll move into the mountain sequence. We’ll do this first of all with the arms shoulder width apart and then with the hands in ‘namaste’, Anjali Mudra. On to a balance with the leg extended.
Having returned to the mat through the squat, we’ll come on to all fours for the cat pose. Then back into swan, and the variation of swan. Now this is going to be our challenge pose for this half-term! It’s a good one, opening the hips and the shoulders very effectively. Returning to kneeling, thunderbolt pose, we’ll finish with a neat little twist.
After our cool downs we’ll meditate on the breath and a mantra. ‘I am well’ on the in-breath, and ‘I am safe’ on the out-breath. Then resting in our physical body, physical sheath, annamayakosha, we’ll run through ‘I’m relaxing my toes, my toes are relaxed…I’m relaxing my feet, my feet are relaxed’ etc.
The reading this week gives us a good explanation of the food sheath, annamayakosha.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti
This term we’re going to look at the koshas or sheaths. We’ll begin with Annamaya Kosha – the physical sheath.
Let’s start our practice with the left hand on the heart and the right hand on the lower abdomen – the position of self nourishment. After the stretches, we’ll work with the nose to knee poses, while lying, then move on to the bridges. Twists follow this, beginning gently.
We’ll use the boat pose to take us to sitting, then move into forward bends, backward bends and twists while seated.
Swan – cat – dog follows this, interspersed with the mermaid twist. A really nice focussed routine.
After the cool downs, we’ll sit for meditation. Here we’ll combine Pranayama with Meditation by employing Sama Vritti Pranayama.
We’ll complete our practice with the 22 body part relaxation.
So good to be back to class, and to embrace our yoga family once more!
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti
This book is a sequel to Yoga Prescribed and although written in a completely different format, is equally informative and enjoyable. As we glimpse the priveleged and idealistic concept of living out our twilight years in a loving, healthy, supported way as an occupant of an old ‘yogi’s’ home, we become acquainted with each resident and learn about their lives during and prior to their arrival. The proprietors, Susie and Rob, are the unfailingly kind and loving couple who own and run the home, appropriately named Home from Om. Susie is the yoga teacher there, too, and through her ideas and teachings the story provides a clever framework through which we are taught an abundance of yoga techniques, practices and understandings. The book is easy reading yet provides a plethora of ideas to ponder and incorporate in to the reader’s own yoga practice or teachings whilst simultaneously introduces to us the comforting notion that our final chapters could be fulfilling and immensely enjoyable. I recommend this book to all yoga enthusiasts and indeed anyone wishing to expand their sense of inner peace.
Back to class next week, Lovely Yogis! It’s been a blissful, long summer, but what joy to return to the mat amongst friends. See you all soon…
Love, light and blessings,
P.S. Thank you so much to everyone who posted a review for my latest book, ‘Home form OM – the last yoga retreat’ on Amazon! It’s absolutely romping away!