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Monday, June 23, 2008

Darren Main and Pranayama

I went to Darren Main's Workshop with little expectation. I had read about sixty pages of his book, "Yoga and the path of the Urban Mystic" but I did not know what his workshop would be like. Below I attempt to detail some of my experiences.

Saturday, Pranayama. Darren spoke and responded to questions regarding pranayama at some length. "Prana" is "the life force that exists within all living things," according to Main (2006). "Pranayama" is "The practice of regulating the breath to effect a change in the body and mind (Main, 2006)." During the pranayama workshop we learned to breath in a new way that would allow the prana to move through our bodies to liberate our minds.

I think that like MS, one cannot really understand the experience unless one has shared it. I also think that like MS, each individual's experience with pranayama is different so I can only speak to how I felt.

I felt joyful. I felt the oxygen filling my body completely. At times I went into "Kundalini holds" where I locked my "bandas" and did not breath for some time. The holds included time in "fish pose" and "boat." Fish pose involves arching the back and lifting the chest while holding the pelvic floor and core tightly. Boat is done by lifting to a near seated position, body in a v-like shape, and holding all three bandas in a lock. The bandas are located at the tail, the core and the throat. I will not try to explain them or their role in yoga here because that will take me too far off topic...

There was a great deal of sound in the room during the experience. We all lay and breathed in and out through our mouths but breath was not the only sound in the room. At times I could hear people sobbing and I had to resist the urge to get up and hug them. I found myself whispering, "breath, just breath, you will be ok." I wonder if my words helped anyone. At times I found myself crying right along with whoever was sobbing. My tears were not tears of pain, they were tears of just plain, pure, emotion. At times I laughed as I heard others laughing. When we came out of the experience, it felt as though about ten minutes had passed. It was actually about an hour.

We talked for some time about our varied experiennces but I will not recount those experiences here since they belong to those who had them.

That night I was tired but I felt good until about 10 'O clock or so. Basically, what happened to me then was that I had a short but bad trip. Due to my anxiety about the brain lesions, I associated it with the MS. In retrospect, I think my experience was akin to that of many other people. I felt hot but my hands and feet were numb. My heart raced and my vision blurred. I thought I was having a relapse but after some water and some rescue remedy, I felt better. I am glad to have done the pranayama work. Overall, the weekend was very special for me.


Serina said...

I've been interested in Yoga for awhile, but haven't found a good starting ground. I should revisit the idea I think. Love your Blog :)

Denver Refashionista said...

Thanks Serina. You might just want to start with "gentle yoga", "restorative" or "therapeutic yoga" to build a foundation. If there are no classes in your area you can start with a dvd or video and work your way up. Good luck.