Ecstatic Yoga Workbook

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Asana I Workbook
Pranayama Practice Cooling & Balancing

 

EY Pranayama Practice Cooling

Welcome to our balancing and calming pranayama practice

The pranayama we will include today in our practice is the following:

  1. Mindful Breath… breath awareness

  2. Belly Breath… abdominal breathing

  3. Dirga Pranayama… 3 Part Yogic Breath

  4. Nadi Shodana… alternate nostril breathing

  5. Samavritti… equal breathing with Kumbhaka (Breath Retention)

  6. Sitkari… hissing breath

  7. Brahmari… humming breath

  8. Mindful belly breathing

Begin by sitting in a comfortable position in a chair or on a block or cushion with the spine erect and straight. Clear your nasal passageways if you haven’t already and rest in mindful breathing, breath awareness for a few breaths. We invite you to amplify the benefits of this practice by gently engaging the bandhas, especially the mula bandha, and re-engaging the bandhas deeper on inhalation. This will seal the prana into your body allowing it to increase the life force energy within your body.

 

Mindful Breath;

Mindful breathing is an opportunity to bring all your attention to your breath without changing or manipulating the breath in any way. Notice your breath with no judgment, simply be the neutral observer.

As you continue to breath naturally, honoring your natural breathing rhythm, notice where your body is grounded and supported by Mother Earth, feel that support, acknowledge you are safe and supported. Honor that grounding and that connection your body has with Mother Earth. Bring your awareness to the physical body, fully present to the body… noticing physical sensations, noticing where the body is in time and space.

Begin to dive inward and scan inside your body for sensations, energy moving, the heart pulsing… feeling that pulsation expand throughout your entire inner being… to the fingers and toes. Noticing tingling, inner vibrations, trembling, warmth, cool, energy flowing and moving.

Bring your awareness to the emotional body, the emotions that are within you, basking in that soup of emotions, avoid entering into the mental realm by labeling the emotions, see if you can stay in the felt sense of your being, feeling the emotions fully, whatever arises with no judgement, allow whatever is there to be acknowleged by your awareness and attention to them. Bring it on, bask in the bliss of the emotional body no matter how charged, active or calm and still.

 

Belly Breath;

Entering into belly breathing now as you drop the breath deep down into the lower abdomen below the belly button and pelvic floor. As you inhale allow the belly to expand out away from the spine. As you exhale feel the belly come in towards the spine, really allow that belly to expand and contract with the breath. As you inhale imagine like pouring water into a glass dropping to the bottom of the glass first, as you inhale the breath dropping down to the bottom of the pelvic floor. Belly breathing sends a physiological response to the brain and nervous system that you are safe and the nervous system triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to take over, releasing serotonin and other health building hormones. Allow the body to relax deeply into this deep belly breathing, remind your body it is safe, it is supported, you can relax completely.

Continue to breath deeply into the belly, fully present to the breath, the belly expanding and contracting naturally, finding deeper and deeper relaxation in the body.

Durga Pranayama (3 part yogic breath);

Beginning now to expand the breath into our durga pranayama, 3 part yogic breath filling the entire abdominal cavity. Inhaling deeply into the belly, and like a wave inhaling into the ribs, feeling a lift of the front and back ribs, and inhaling into the chest, allowing the breath to fill the chest all the way up to the clavicular area. Full yogic breathing. Pause a moment at the top of the breath, then exhale releasing the chest, then the ribs and finally the belly.

Continue for a few breaths, then move into a deep relaxation on the exhale, simply letting the breath go completely.

 

Nadi Shodhana (Alternate nostril breathing);

We will practice alternate nostril breathing now to balance the nadis and energy systems in the body. You may use Vishnu mudra or Vishnu with pointer and middle fingers extended and resting on and stimulating the third eye.

We will be closing off one nostril at a time, switching nostrils on the exhale. I will guide you through the first few breaths and invite you to continue this pranayama  on your own for a few breaths.

Begin with your Vishnu mudra on your right hand and relax the left hand on your lap. Inhale deeply, at the top of the inhale use the thumb to close off the right nostril and exhale out the left nostril, inhale same left nostril… at the top of the inhale release the thumb and use the index or pinky finger to close off the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril, inhale same side… right nostril.

At the top of the breath release the finger and switch sides again closing off the right nostril with the thumb and exhale out the left nostril, inhale same side, at the top of the inhale release the thumb, close off the left nostril and exhale… continue on your own for a few more breaths, allowing each breath to balance and relax the mind and body deeper and deeper.

 

Samavritti without and with Kumbhaka (Equal breathing without and with breath retention)

We will move now to samavritti… equal breathing. We will begin with 4 count breathing with no pause or kumbhaka, then 4 count breathing with pauses, move to 6 count breathing with 4 count pauses, then 6 count breathing with 6 count pauses. Back to 4 count breathing with 4 count pauses. Honor your body and know if you ever need to release the breath or rest in the practice that is ok, always listen to your body temple and simply do your best.

Wherever you are in your breath I invite you to exhale completely… beginning with the inhale… Inhale two, three, four… Exhale, two, three, four… Inhale two, three, four…. Exhale two, three, four…. Inhale two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four…. Inhale two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four… Inhale two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four…. Inhale two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four…

Adding kumbhaka, breath retention now, Inhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four…. Inhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Inhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four hold two, three, four…. Inhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Inhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four…. Inhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four, Exhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four.

Moving up to a six count with 4 count for kumbhaka…

Inhale two, three, four, five, Six… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four, five, six… hold two, three, four…. Inhale two, three, four, five, Six… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four, five, Six… hold two, three, four… Inhale two, three, four, five, Six… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four, five, six… hold two, three, four…. Inhale two, three, four, five, Six… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four, five, Six… hold two, three, four.

With Kumbhaka at six

Inhale two, three, four, five, Six… hold two, three, four, five, six… Exhale two, three, four, five, six… hold two, three, four, five, Six…. Inhale two, three, four, five, Six… hold two, three, four, five, six… Exhale two, three, four, five, six… hold two, three, four, five, Six. Inhale two, three, four, five, Six… hold two, three, four, five, six… Exhale two, three, four, five, six… hold two, three, four, five, Six…. Inhale two, three, four, five, Six… hold two, three, four, five, six… Exhale two, three, four, five, six… hold two, three, four, five, Six.

Dropping down to four again

Inhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four…. Inhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Inhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four hold two, three, four…. Inhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Inhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four… Exhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four…. Inhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four, Exhale two, three, four… hold two, three, four.

Letting the breath go… taking a few integrative breaths bringing your awareness to pratyahara, inner aliveness and sensation.

 

Sitkari… hissing breath;

Entering into sitkari pranayama now also called hissing breath. This pranayama we will inhale deeply and slowly with an open mouth while our tongue is placed on the roof of the mouth, tip of the tongue gently against the back of the front teeth. Feeling the air move through the mouth and into the throat. There will be a hissing sound as you inhale this way.

On the exhale we will close the mouth and slowly release the breath through the nose.

We will practice this breath for 3-5 minutes, begin now and I will prompt you to return to a few integration breaths.

 

Brahmari… humming bee breath;

Our next pranayama is the humming bee breath, this is a beautiful calming breath that soothes the entire nervous system in a beautiful and simply breath. We will be cupping our hands over our ears for this breath… closing off the sounds of the world and going within listening to the sound of our own humming.

With hands over the ears taking a deep inhale in through the nose, then humming with mouth closed on the exhale.

We will practice this pranayama for 3-5 minutes and I will bring you back for our last few integration belly breaths.

 

Mindful belly breathing as our final integration breaths.

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