Pranayama in Practice

Last month I had the pleasure of attending a weekend workshop called Pranayama in Practice, led by Anita Theart, C-IAYT.  This was a part of the 300-hour advanced teacher training through HereNowYoga.  I’m not currently working on my 300-hour certification, but I was really interested in this workshop.  To be honest, I didn’t have a clue what I was getting myself into.  I thought this would be something to help me teach about 5 minutes of pranayama at the beginning of a yoga class.  Nope.  And thank goodness that’s not all it was.

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According to Gary Kraftsow, one of Anita’s teachers, “the ancient masters specifically developed the practice of pranayama (regulation of breath) to balance the emotions, clarify the mental processes, and ultimately to integrate them into one effectively functioning whole.” Anita gave us with a beautiful quote, “Asana prepares the breath for pranayama, pranayama prepares the mind for meditation, and meditation prepares the heart for surrender.”

I didn’t realize what a complex subject pranayama could be.  We learned how to find our own breath capacity, and how to use that knowledge to create our own practice.  I have started with a samana ratio practice.  Every morning I put on my noise-cancelling headphones and play a metronome app to help me use the correct ratio.  It was actually very easy to get started.  Anita is very passionate about pranayama – her own personal practice and teaching it to others.  She really inspired me to dive right in.  It’s also been a great opportunity for me to add my meditation practice after I finish pranayama.  I typically practice my asana later in the day.

One very important lesson that I learned from Anita is that you can’t teach anything that you don’t practice yourself.  So that it where I’m starting with pranayama – at the beginning. I currently have no plans to teach pranayama, because I am still a beginner!  If you are located in the Birmingham, AL area and ever see a pranayama workshop being led by Anita Theart I highly recommend checking it out.  It just might change your life.

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Anita’s info from the HereNowYoga page:

It is the transformational and healing power of yoga that inspires Anita’s own dedication to personal practice, her teaching of yoga as well as her yoga therapy work. Her intention is to find the appropriate yoga tools and adaptations and to offer it in such a way that will meet the needs of her students and clients. She sees the breath as a vital key to this work. “Through the breath we link our bodies and minds and in this process we cultivate self-awareness which forms the foundation of self-transformation.”

She has a deep respect for the ancient teachings of this practice. All of her 1200 hours of training has been within the Krishnamacharya and Desikachar lineage. She is inspired to transfer these teachings with the highest possible integrity.

Anita’s credentials include:

  • Over 3000 hours of yoga teaching experience
  • Certified Viniyoga Therapist – 500 hour program – Studied with Gary Kraftsow at the American Viniyoga Institute
  • Certified Viniyoga Teacher – 500 hour level – Studied with Gary Kraftsow at the American Viniyoga Institute
  • Certified Hatha Yoga Teacher – 200 hour level – Studied with Nikki Meyers and Marcha Pappas at Citiyoga  School of Yoga and Health in Indianapolis
  • Member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists
  • Registered Nurse with the American Nursing Association
  • Reiki Master

 

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