For a couple of weeks I have been at 21 counts in my Samavrtti Pranayama,the even-counted breath. Unlike all the previous counts it has been pretty effortless from day 1. I continued at 21 counts for several days to allow my body and mind adjust instead of just moving forward right away. In doing so I learned a little bit about the state of my mind and body.
This has been the first count that was long enough to challenge my mind, at least for the first few minutes of each session. My mind expected to breathe faster and shorter. I had to consciously slow it and extend the inhales and exhales. This was the first time it felt like territory beyond "breathing deeply and slowly." I expect this challenge to continue for a few more weeks or months - my mind will be uncomfortable with the slowing of the breath. But eventually I expect it to settle and even crave the slow controlled breathing of Pranayama practice.
Because the count is starting to get long my lung capacity is being challenged, a big reason to progress slowly and patiently. I want to allow the lungs time to develop. I notice my upper lungs starting to come into play, a whole new world of breath capacity that is yet untapped. Along with this is muscular control of my upper ribcage to expand and draw air into the upper lungs. Occasionally it happens spontaneously to accommodate a huge breath, but I need to develop more consistency and control.
Tomorrow I will increase the count to 22.
This journal honors my ongoing experience with the practice, study and teaching of yoga.
1) Sridaiva Yoga: Good Intention But Imbalanced
2) Understanding Chair Posture
2) Why I Don't Use Sanskrit or Say Namaste
3) The Meaningless Drudgery of Physical Yoga
5) Beyond Bikram: Why This Is a Great Time For Ghosh Yoga