Pranayama exercise is always included in our yoga class. Last Wednesday, we did 11 rounds Om together as a good balance of building strength in the earlier part of the class. Our intention in last week was “Trust your inner voice! Trust your strength! Trust yourself!“
In the process of building trust, it is normal to face up-and-downs, frustrations and exhaustion.
Thus, doing this deep exhalation exercise helps us to let all these emotions go in order to reset our centre and move on.
We are always reminded to breathe in the class, but a lot of us always pay attention on inhalation and forget the importance of exhalation. Especially in the stressful and fast changing urban lifestyle, we need a lot of deep and comfortable exhalation to calm down our body system. Otherwise, our body is always in flight-or-fight mode and never has a chance to rest truly.
The International Breath Institute, Colorado, has found 70% of our body’s natural toxins are released during exhalation. Inefficient exhalation is the primary cause of hypoxia, which simply means that there is insufficient supply of oxygen to the cells in the brain and other important parts of body. Try to exhale deeply, the deeper you do it, the deeper inhalation follows. It is like dunking all its waste air out and create the suction effect for more fresh air to get in.
When we breathe in, we are making ourselves receptive to fresh experiences. When we exhale we are letting go of past memories and experiences. The old Taoist saying says “Breathe the old out, breathe the new in”. Goraksha Paddhati says in Chapter 1:38-39 that the whole disharmony in our body-mind complex is because of imbalance between prana (life force) moving in and out. The essential aim of Hatha yoga is to eliminate impurities and reduce ignorance, avidya, by harmonising the breath. Pranayama (breathing exercise) is the way to clear these physical and psychological impurities. This is why breathing technique is not just used by sports people but also regularly advocated by the medical community for relaxation, stress management, control of psychophysiological states and improvement of organ function (Ritz & Roth 2003).
The Om is actually made of three sounds: A-U-M. “A" is pronounced for 2ish second with mouth just open and raised head. “U" is pronounced for 3ish second and neutral head while pursing the mouth. “M" is pronounced for 5ish second with the mouth closed and chin down.
In the “A”, we can feel vibrations around our belly button, which is known as Manipur Chakra.
In the “U”, we can feel the vibration around our throat and back of the neck, which is Vishudhdha Chakra.
In the “M”, we can feel vibrations at the top of our head, which is Sahastraar Chakra.
These three sounds follow one after another without any break.
Some people may feel reluctant to make the Om sound, I would suggest them to make the Hmmmm sound instead. It is also helping them to get the benefit of the sonic massage from the vibration and deeply exhale.
When we practice it, just sit in a comfortable position or lie down, it is not a must to sit in cross-legged.
The soothing effect from this sonic massage is even greater when we practice in group compared with practice alone. My Guru always said Three S are important and “Sangha” is one of the “S”. No matter group practice or individual practice, it serves different purposes. That’s why we have our group practice weekly.
See you on Wednesday Morning 10:35-11:50am at Antenna Studios. "Let’s practice not for perfection, it's for progress”.