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2012 - November - Ishwara

Ishwara, ‘The Science of
Pranayama.’ 17th November 2012

Lovely, lovely, lovely!

If you have not practiced pranayama with Ishwara, DO!

Ishwara embodies sensitivity and openness, kindness, good old Northern honesty, and humour. He is also a very good pranayama teacher and a poet. Coming from a background of Kundalini, Ashtanga, and Sivananda yoga his teaching was very refreshing as, I personally, have not practiced Sivananda yoga before and the counting system he used for some pranayama practices was very supportive.

We started the day with a big smile and vedic shanti mantras. It was so nice to chant mantra throughout the day, particularly Gayatri and Mrityunjaya. These were interspersed with pranayama and also closed the day beautifully. A lot of time was spent on allowing the belly to move with breath, encouraging softening and response. We were reminded that when the belly is soft and fluid, the head is cleared. Ishwara likened the body to a 200 year old tree in a storm where the top branches are the head, branches flying around in the strong wind, but lower, at the base of the tree is the belly, stable and strong in the storm. Move down to the base, to the centre when the emotions are high. Good advice!

We moved on to 3 part breath, the relationships between the chest and stomach, kapalabhati, and bandhas with kumbhaka. And throughout we touched on the philosophy of Patanjali and sutra 1.12 Abhyasa vairagyabham tat nirodhah, translated as ‘never give up, always let go.’

After lunch we were treated to relaxation, discussion, and more mantra. Once lunch was digested we practiced Kundalini pranayama with nadi shodhana, kumbhaka and bandha with the intention of raising kundalini. The focus was on moving prana from moola bandha upward to ajna and returning to form a circular movement of prana and breath.

It’s funny. It seemed a very simple day in some respects but I was deeply moved by both the practices and the loveliness of the man. As I am sure many others were too. The day was a fine mix of pranayama, mantra, bandha, and poetry.

I have incorporated some of the practices into my daily practice as they really do feel necessary to do. If you have the opportunity to practice breath-work with Ishwara, do it. He may not have been teaching for as long as some of you (he started in 2003 I think) but he truly embodies and is clearly passionate about what he teaches.
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