Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cultivating Prana Flow

Hello Dear Yogis,
It's an absolutely magnificent spring day here in Ithaca, and the forecast predicts glorious weather for the next several days. Given that yoga is a practice that involves our whole being and life, consider taking your yoga outside. I'm talking about much more than dragging your mat outside and doing sun salutations (although that is a wonderful way to greet the day!). Yoga is about so much more than postures. It's about being fully alive, drawing upon all that is available to us to support the flow of the life energy(prana) in us, through us, and around us.
Prana is life force - the stuff of those million, zillion stars circling and exploding. Human beings receive it directly into the body through the air. We take it in other ways as well - through live foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, through fresh water, through living, breathing, trees and vegetation, and, if we are open to it through the love of other people and creatures. We probably take it in more mysterious ways, too, I think - through music, the sound of inspiring words, and perhaps through beautiful sights.
~Stephen Cope
Prana is the first and most essential nutrient that we need. The good news is that it is all around us, and we have plenty of opportunities to cultivate it and invite it in. Here are some simple ways you can increase the flow of prana, off of your yoga mat:
  • Spend time by a waterfall, at this time when the abundant rains and the melting snows have given rise to a powerful flow, and feel the spray on your face.
  • Sit under a magnolia tree and breathe deeply. Take in the fragrance like it's nourishment for your soul (it is!).
  • Let your eyes delight in the colors of all that is in bloom everywhere. Look deeply and be grateful, as these ephemeral blossoms will soon fall to the ground.
  • Prepare and eat a salad of locally-grown baby greens.
  • Enjoy a good belly laugh. Laugh for no reason.
  • Share a big,warm hug with someone today. If there's no person to fill that role today, embrace a pet or a tree.
  • Listen to birds, and sing back to them. Sing your joy of being alive, in a spontaneous, made-up language.
There are infinite ways to invite prana into your being each and every day. Let your practice be deep and wide, on the mat and in the beautiful world around us. Let your yoga be your life.

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