Mahat Yoga Pranayama

MAHAT YOGA PRANAYAMA PREPARATIONS

Mahat Yoga Pranayama begins with finding your seated posture-Finding your seated posture is essential for a sustained practice. An effective comfortable seated posture will need to be established If the mind is not going to be constantly drawn towards the body through discomfort.   

MUKTASANA

Muktasana is a variation of siddhasana. The heel of one foot is placed at the perineum, with the other heel resting in front on the floor. Muktasana, meaning liberation posture, is perfect for pranayama and meditation. It is slightly more accessible than siddhasana, while retaining the benefits.

CORRECTLY ALIGNED

If the hips are open the knees will readily fall out below the pelvis, ensuring the pelvis sits in a neutral position. The lumbar spine will then retain its nuetral lordotic curve, making it easier to remain upright throughout. If needed, sit the tailbone on a cushion and this will tip the pelvis forward. It may then be necessary to support the knees if the thighs are tight.         

BEGINNING THE PRACTICE

Now seated begin by closing the eyes and turning the awareness towards the tip of the nose.

PREPARING THE MIND & BODY

As mentioned earlier if the body is uncomfortable then it becomes much harder to turn the attention to the breath. Yoga asana will prepare the body for prolonged seated practices, but if the mind is agitated the body will follow.     

VAGUS NERVE TONING

A technique known as vagus nerve toning can quickly bring the mind into a calmer state, and therefore the body.

  • Begin by observing the natural flow of the breath for a few minutes. Now take the breath down to the lower part of the belly, while noticing the belly expanding on the inhale, and retracting on the exhale.  
  • Next begin to slow down the breaths, until around six per minute.
  • Continue for a few minutes.

Now the mind will be calmer, and it will be easier to settle the mind.  

ADHAM PRANAYAMA

Adham Pranayama is abdominal or Lower Lobular Breathing. The breath is controlled and directed into the abdomen only. Autonomic breathing is of this type only.

  • Practice taking the breath into an out of the abdomen only.
  • Visualise the breath beginning at the centre of the abdomen and expanding out in all directions simultaneously, in a three dimensional way.
  • Practice for five minutes

MADHYAM PRANAYAMA

Madhyam Pranayama is thoracic breathing, or Between-the-ribs. The breath is controlled and directed into the middle lobes only.

  • Practice taking the breath into space behind the ribs only.
  • Visualise the breath beginning at the centre of the chest and expanding out in all directions simultaneously, in a three dimensional way.
  • Practice for five minutes

ADHYAN PRANAYAMA

Adhyam Pranayama is Clavicular or High Lobe Breathing where the breath is controlled and regulated into the superior lobes of the lungs.

  • Practice taking the breath into space at the top of the chest only.
  • It is important to remember to not take the breath into the head
  • Begin by feeling the top of the sternum lift with the inhale
  • At the same time feel the upper back lifting at the same time
  • Add to this a feeling of the upper arm pits lifting
  • The effect is to feel the whole of the upper chest, front, back and sides all lifting simultaneously.     
  • This will create a feeling of space without force.    
  • Practice for five minutes

3 DIMESIONAL BREATH-CREATING SPACE

Three dimensional breathing is an adaptation of the three part breath, which will successfully aid in creating space for a much deeper breath.

HOW TO PRACTICE

Adham Pranayama

  • Begin with Adham Pranayama and visualise the breath expanding 3 dimensionally within the abdomen only
  • When the breath is taken into the abdomen the space expands forward and backward, up, and down, and side to side at the same time
  • Continue with this practice for 5 minutes       

Madhyam Pranayama

  • As the breath rises into the ribcage, feel the ribs forward, behind, and both sides expanding simultaneously
  • Continue with this practice for 5 minutes       

Adhyam Pranayama

  • Continue with the breath lifting the top front of the chest, the upper back, and the upper armpits all in one continuous movement    
  • Continue with this practice for 5 minutes       

Begin to deepen the breath making the inhalations and exhalations longer and slower.

Remember do not force the breath or feel as if you are straining. There will be a feeling of effort, but not force.

THREE PART BREATH- MAHAT YOGA PRANAYAMA

The three part breath practice is essentially one complete inhale and one complete exhale, in which the breath is taken equally into the abdomen, then the rib cage area, and finally the upper chest.   

HOW TO PRACTICE

  • Begin your inhale in the abdomen.
  • Continue the inhale taking it into the ribcage area (Thoracic).
  • Finally draw the breath into the upper chest.  
  • Now begin the exhale from the top of the chest
  • Taking it down into the ribcage.
  • And finally, the abdomen.
  • Keep the breath equal in each space, working up to a count of 9 on the inhale and exhale.
  • That is 3 breaths per section.   

Think about this practice as one continuous wave like motion with the breath rising on the inhalation and descending on the exhalation.

Begin to deepen the breath making the inhalations and exhalations longer and slower.

Remember do not force the breath or feel as if you are straining. There will be a feeling of effort, but not force.

Continue with this practice for 5 minutes.  

Martin Thompson.

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