A Guided Breathing Practice
A Guided Breathing Practice with Mark Stephens
The breath is essential for life and at the heart of yoga practice. Yet breathing is often difficult or disturbed, and in yoga it more refined techniques are often said to be dangerous and kept secret unless one is "blessed" to receive the teachings. In this episode, Mark first discusses breathing and pranayama (for about 15 minutes), offering some historical and philosophical perspective. He then gives a guided practice – basically the same daily morning practice he's been doing for the past 18 years.
In this episode you will hear:
- A brief talk on breath, prana, and pranayama (breath cultivation practices), scanning the topic form ancient times to the present;
- Preparing for a safe, comfortable, sustainable, and potentially transformational pranayama practice;
- A guided practice practice with several techniques, including ujjayi, sama & visama vriiti, viloma, antara & bahya kumbhaka, kapalabhati, and nadi shodhana (all translated into and presented in plain English);
- References and links to resources for further and deeper exploration.
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GUEST INFORMATION & LINKS
After dabbling in yoga as a teenager in the mid-70s intrigued by matters of consciousness and the cosmos, Mark Stephens began a daily yoga practice in 1991. He has explored deeply and widely in the theories and practices of various traditions, in yoga and tantra as well as Eastern and Western philosophies of being and consciousness, in the sciences, in matters of social change, and in other fields, most recently the arts of expedition kayaking, growing culinary herbs, and pruning fruit trees.
Mark Stephens' Website: You're here!
Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques (2010)
Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes (2012)
Yoga Adjustments: Philosophy, Methods, and Techniques (2014)
Yoga Therapy: Foundations, Methods, and Practices for Common Ailments (2017)
Yoga for Better Sleep: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science (2019)
OTHER LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED
- Online 17-Hour Pranayama Course
- Valerie Roebuck, The Upanishads
- Yoga Sutra of Patanjali (c. 325 CE
- Swami Swatmarama, Hatha Yoga Pradipika (early 15th century)