8 Days of living yoga: Day 5: Pranayama to Pratyahara

I have learned so much about Pranayama from Uma Dinsmore- Tuli’s brilliant book ‘Mother’s Breath’; in here she talks about her own journey as a parent and how she came to realise that parenting was actually part of her yoga practice. She also talks about the lack of attention given in previous yoga texts, to womens’ , and particularly Mothers’ experiences. As always, the fellas dominate and forget that its all a bit different when your anatomy and brain are wired differently and you produce children!

Of particular relevance, Uma stresses that postnatally , vigourous type breaths, and counting repetitions / holding the breath are not suitable or helpful. She breaks down yogic breathing (pranayama) so simply, i think it’s brilliant. I have gained a lot from practicing the exercises myself and also teaching them in my classes. As you can tell i think she is pretty excellent and having been taught by her once i also know she’s a lovely lady! I cant say anything about Pranyama in relation to parenting / post natal recovery , that she doesnt already say better in this book.

Today i have been upping the number of times that i simply take a full breath, expanding my belly and chest on the inhale and slowing the exhale. I do use this alot oin daily life and have been exploring recently the benefits of the exhale- i read recently that the exhale is the ‘antidote to panic’ ( i think this was the rather brilliant Barefoot Doctor). Panic/ stress is no stranger in the daily life of a parent with small children, I’m sure others will agree! That moment of ‘aaah how will i ever leave the house!’/ ‘aah dont wake the baby its taken me x long to get him to sleep!’/ ‘aah just stop demanding i only have one of me!’ ,,, thats not just me is it?! Well, the feelings can rise up but with the use of the exhale and some calming positive thoughts it doesnt need to gain any power, and therefore melts away as quickly as it came. Breeeathe! Its magic!

So now i am coming into the final 4 limbs; these are more unfamiliar to me and seem more abstract. They are sometimes said to be the ‘next stage’ after the first 4 limbs. However it is also said that to truly follow the yogic path you must pay attention to all 8 limbs, so i feel that it is important to be aware of them and reflect on them.

Today is Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses. Erm, see you later then!..