David Swenson on Pranayama and Bandhas

29 April, 2008

I heard a wonderful explanation from David Swenson regarding the importance of pranayama, breath bandhas in Yoga and their relationship to Asanas; He used the analogy of an sculptor. To build a statue an artist needs and uses both heavy duty tools and detail-oriented tools. Smash away first with a hammer and large chisel to get some ways to where you need to get…and then use the smaller picks, chisels and scrapers to bring out the detail. You need both

You could use the subtle tools alone but that would take a very long time. You could use the heavy duty tools alone but the end product won’t have the subtle detail you need. The Asanas are the heavy duty tools. Pranayama and Bandhas the subtle tools. The former prepares the body and the nervous system for the power – the prana – that will be released through pranayama, and then contained and channeled by engaging the bandhas.

He Blogs Again

16 April, 2008

My blogging petered out because I no longer had the time. There is always time of course but for me, in the year that was 2007, where sleep and asanas were themselves scarcely scheduled, blogging didn’t really have a chance.

What a year… a beast that I ended with 115% billable utilization. I spent the summer working 80/90 hours a week and one monumental ‘day’ in July started at 6:00 am on Wednesday and ended at 11:00 pm on Thursday. Predictably it was a good year for the ego – I made a lot of money and increased my visibility in the Company (whatever that’s worth). I also kinda burned out…well I did burn out….and took December off to unwind, rest up, (and fill out)…and gear myself up for a new gig at a new account. I started January 15 pounds to the good. I didn’t do much yoga during my month off. Instead I took care of the household chores that piled up over a year of neglecting home – at least the urgent ones. I played with the girls. I bought proper Christmas presents.

Yoga wise, I would hazard a wild guess that on average I practiced two or maybe three times a week last year. Not so bad except that¬† there’d be 5 a week of my regular old 4:30 am practices and then a couple of weeks of none at all. That kind of thing.

And now? I’ve shifted into the slow lane for year. This suits me right now. I haven’t worked more than 45 hours a week since January – and haven’t worked a weekend (I don’t plan to either). Since January I’ve been re-building up my physical practice. (In January I was startled to find myself no longer binding Mari A – not comfortably at any rate).

It’s all back now. After a March in which I set a new benchmark for consistency – I only failed to practice on 6 days the entire month (and two of those were Moon days), I’m back where I left off. Which is where? Which is wondering how I get my feet behind my head and starting to peer beyond the primary practice to what lies beyond.

I’m also getting well past my infatuation with our (admittedly gorgeous) physical business – and putting it more than ever in it’s proper context and place. My yoga is broadening again past asanas; which so far involves a lot of reading –¬† Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, Gandhi’s Autobiography, Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, Andrew Weil’s Breathing – all of which have much to offer an aspiring yogi.

That’s all for now. Talk to you all again next year. Just kidding.