Mountain Breath

Mountain Breath is a simple breathing practice that synchronizes the inhalation and exhalation with arm movements. Here is a link to a video of the practice. Linda Oshins is leading the practice and Michele Vinbury is demonstrating it.

Mountain Breath’s outward form invites awareness of upward flowing energy (prana), and downward flowing energy, (apana), both of which are always active in a living being, but they can be noticed and felt separately. With the arms overhead, do you feel a sense of expansion and uplift? With the hands pressing down on the legs, do you feel grounded, downward movement? On the breath taken when the body is stilled, open yourself to whatever sensation is arising for you. Your own experience is the one that matters. There is no one, right lesson to be learned from Mountain Breath. It offers itself to you differently on different days, at different times in your life. If you are anxious, it may be calming. If you are lethargic or exhausted, it may be just stimulating enough to rouse you to the task at hand, even if that’s a nap.

This practice is often done at the end of a pranayama session or an asana class, before Savasana, because it is considered an energy storing practice, but it can be done at other times as well. It’s been modified to do while lying in a hospital bed (lying down, knees bent, soles of the feet on the bed), and for the elderly whose arthritic hands can’t press down on their legs comfortably (press down with fists).

Mountain Breath and various other pranayama techniques are taught in the Tuesday morning pranayama class and in various weekend workshops on breath awareness and pranayama scheduled through the year. Of course they are also taught in asana classes. For a book on pranayama practices, see Pranayama: A Compendium of Practices by Linda Oshins, carried in the YOHI bookstore.

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