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Energizing, relaxing, or balancing: Using yoga to meet your needs

From: Kathy's Yoga Blog,

24
February
2009
Energizing, relaxing, or balancing: Using yoga to meet your needs

There are 3 different effects that a yoga practice can have on energy.

One is brmhana. This is an energizing type of practice! The word comes from the Sanskrit root word meaning "to expand."

It's opposite langhana is purifying, calming, and reducing. You'll feel this way after a restorative yoga class. This is related to the word laghu, light. These practices calm the nervous system and help clear & cleanse the body.

Samana - balancing, is a combination of the two. In this kind of practice you'll do a combination of energizing and relaxing practices.

When you know which practices & postures are energizing or relaxing, you can create your own home practice to help you achieve the energetic state you want.

When thinking of Brmhana yoga practices, it is important to emphasize:

  • Postures: Back bending, side bending, repeating postures several times, faster practice, and/or longer holds in stronger postures help build strength and energy. Shorter rest periods. Less emphasis is on forward bending, twisting, and slow, gentle stays which are langhana - these practices calm, purify and reduce.
  • Breath work: Inhale & exhale of equal duration increase energy. Gentle holds of the breath after inhale and/or alternate nostril inhale (see breath blog) build energy. Building the breath to a comfortable maximum inhale & exhale is important. Straining or forcing the breath is not healthy, it's like straining any other muscle! In langhana, (reducing) practices, emphasis is on longer exhales or holding the breath comfortably after exhaling.
  • Chant: Louder, faster chanting with higher pitch increases energy / Slower, quieter, & at lower pitch calms the body. The choice of chants also has either a stimulating or calming effect. Try making the sound ahhhh vs the sound eeeeeee and you can sense which one is calming.

Krama inhale is a useful practice to build energy and to help you develop your inhale. For many people, inhale is the more challenging portion of the breath, and this practice helps build inhale.

To practice 2 stage krama;

  • Build inhale & exhale to 8 seconds over the course of several breaths.
  • Inhale focusing on expanding your chest on all four sides: 3 seconds, hold breath 3 cts
  • Inhale softening the belly: 3 seconds, hold breath 3 cts
  • Exhale 6 counts.

Of course, to practice at home, when you're doing a building, energizing practice, you'll want to add forward bends to relax & stretch the back after back bends. Just don't emphasize calming stays in forward bends. This will keep your energizing practice from becoming a balancing practice, which is a nice combination of both energizing and reducing postures. Of course, while a qualified yoga teacher may be able to help you create something that really meets your needs, you can log your home practices, and see what postures and practices influence you and how!

In this way, you'll gain insight into yoga and how it affects your own system.

Kathy

Tap into your own depth revel in the consequences! Inhale

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Kathy Jones works with clients to customise short yoga programs to meet their needs through Charym in Litchfield, CT. She teaches teaches therapeutic group classes including evidence-based yoga for chronic back pain, yoga for neck and shoulder tension, sleep yoga and fertility yoga, as well as offering private sessions. To arrange an appointment or to see the current class schedule, visit www.charym.com or email yogainfo@charym.com.

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