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Breath Series Reading List and Practices

It was so enjoyable to revisit an old friend, pranayama in December 2020. This post is inspired by Heidi. With heart, thank you.

What our practice looked like in the month of December:

Week 1: What is pranayama? And, intro to Nadi Sodhana - cleansing

Set up: Seated. Inhale right side, Exhale left side. *Followed BKS Iyengar's instructions from Light on Pranayama on page 213

Week 2: The bondhas - the locks or nets

Set up: Reclined. Breathe into pelvic floor, lateral diaphramic breath, and ujaii

Week 3: The koshas - the sheaths

Set up: Reclined. Elevator Breath. Use only 70% of effort for the full breath. 40% goes in belly, pause and then 30% in the chest, exhale all. Take a resting breath (or as many as needed) if dizzy, or triggered.

Week 4: Viloma - the pause

Set up: Reclined. Interrupt Inhale for 5 minutes. Play with interruption of the exhale with pauses. * Followed BKS Iyengar's instructions from Light on Pranayama on page 146. Play with other variations via book.

Notes along the way on our Breath Journey:

-It may be helpful to have a pillow or rolled up towel behind the head to help support the lock in the neck to calm the mind and stay focused on the breath technique.

-We played with 5 minutes for each part/variation of practice. We started each practice with ujajayi breath. Total time between 15-20minutes.

-It's always okay to take a break and take a few natural breaths.

Glossary from BKS Iyengar that anchor our practice:

ujjayi- A type of pranayama in which the lungs are fully expanded and the chest is puffed out like of a proud conqueror.

yoga - Union, communion. The word 'Yoga' is derived from the root 'Yuj' meaning to join, to yoke, to concentrate one's attention on. It is one of the six systems of Indian philosophy collated by the sage Patanjali. Yoga is the union of our will to the will of God, a poise of the soul, which enables one to look evenly at life in all it's aspects. The chief aim of Yoga is to teach the means by which the human soul may be completely united with the Supreme Spirit pervading the universe and thus secure absolution.

Suggested Yoga Practice Set Up - this will also attend to all 5 koshas

Asana - as little as 10 minutes

Pranayama - 5 -10 minutes

Meditation - 3-10 minutes

Savasana - 5-10 minutes

Nidra - 20 minutes

*duration can be longer but, a shorter practice will give you the sprinkles needed. <3

Suggested Reading:

Light on Pranayama by BKS Iyengar

The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali translated by Chip Hartranft

The Yoga Sutra Workbook by Vyaas Houston MA

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

Shut Your Mouth by Patrick McKeown


Jenny Hayo - local Seattle teacher - conducts Silent Retreats (8 Limbs Yoga) - exceptional Yoga Therapist

Tracy Hodgeman - local Seattle teacher - Nidra classes and retreats (8 Limbs Yoga) -

Rod Stryker - Master Yogi - Nidra training, app, and book due out soon - based in CO -

Tias Little - Master Yogi - Based in NM -

Gary Kraftsow - Master Yogi - Viniyoga Founder - based in CA -

Himalayan Institute - Meditation - Sheri Freidrickson - Master Yogini - Sheri has videos on Yoga International available on breath -

Aadil Palkhivala - Local Master Yogi - Redmond (Alive and Shine Yoga Center)

Apps to help guide practice:

Headspace - *my personal go to

Scantury - Rod Styker


Practice is practice. It is like a windy steam, it will flow easy at times, and at others will get lost. But, it will always be there to come back to. I hope these tools get added to your tool box in good times and in bad to help create ease in your life.

Be well. Take care.


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