Advanced Yoga Practices

Main lessons

by Yogani

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Lesson 62 - Duration of One Spinal Breathing Cycle?

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, “Why This Discussion?”

From: Yogani
Date: Wed Dec 31, 2003 1:17pm

Q: How long is one spinal breathing cycle supposed to be?

A: It varies from person to person, and even in one person at different times. It depends on how the nervous system is operating at a given time. This varies as the cycles of purification are occurring. When the breathing is slow, there are few obstructions being released, but the preparation for release of obstructions is happening during the slow breathing. When obstructions come loose and are released, the breathing will not be so slow. The instruction is to breathe slowly and deeply with comfort during pranayama, not to press beyond the present natural limit. That limit may change from day to day, or even within a single session.

With the above points for basic understanding, we can say that a spinal breathing cycle (including both inhalation and exhalation) can vary from fifteen seconds to half a minute. It can be shorter or longer than this range. Don’t set goals. Let your body tell you what is right. Sometimes we may need more air. Other times our breath may suspend completely during pranayama. It is a natural process. We just go with it and follow the procedure.

Likewise, we may notice changing patterns of breath in meditation, where there is no direct supervision of breath at all — just using the mantra. The body will purify itself when given the opportunity. Changes in breath are an indicator that something good is happening. Advanced yoga practices are working for us. We just stay with the program.

The guru is in you.

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Note: For detailed instructions on spinal breathing, see the AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama Book, and AYP Plus.

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