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Connecting to Your Inner Warrior

I wish I could show you
when you are lonely or in darkness
the astonishing
light of your own being.

~ by Hafiz

Hello fellow friends on the path,

I hope this letter finds you well. As I was searching for a poem by Hafiz to go with the theme of today’s class about the sage Vishvamitra, who was a friend to all, I came across this poem, and it spoke to me. When we are knee-deep in our “muck,” it’s easy to forget that we are made of something divine.

When I’m unable to get to my mat, and I need to remember/reconnect to that light within me, I quite place my hands on my heart, close my eyes, and breathe as deep as I can.

The past few days have been heavy for me as Karmen has been getting up a lot more in the night — leaving me exhausted during the day. I have learned that when I am fatigued, the heavier emotions surface much quicker and stay longer. I sat in the bathroom yesterday and just breathed into my heart and took some time to reconnect. It reminded me that I am not my emotions, that these will pass. I need that reminder often these days and thought you might as well.

Today, we’re featuring a special class with a 2-hour LIVE session from 11am-1pm PST! 

This week’s peak pose, Visvahmitrasana. Vishvamitra was a warrior king that gave up his kingdom after an encounter with the sage Vasistha. You can read the myth here. I’ll be sharing his story along with a bit of mantra to kick off the class. Afterward, we’ll flow through a 75-minute practice working towards the arm balance. We’ll close with a meditation to ground the heat/energy of the practice. 

If you cannot join me for the full class, we’ll be releasing it as 3 separate classes for you to watch on-demand afterward with the full-length version, the quickie condensed version, and the mantra & meditation version. 

On Monday, March 1st, PWC members will see that we’ve added a new month of the Class of the Day Playlist.

The Gods & Goddesses of the Hindu Pantheon is our theme for March. 🧞‍♂️ We received feedback for more Tantric Philosophy, so I’ll continue to weave the Hindu Pantheon myth in the on-demand and LIVE classes for the full month.
 

&….
Starting on Saturday, March 6th, the LIVE class will be held at @9am PST to accommodate our east coast yogis. 

We received feedback that 11am PST was too late for our friends on the east coast, so we’re shifting the time to 9am PST moving forward.  

Join me TODAY for a 2-hour class at 11am PST,
for a practice working up to the arm balance, Visvamitrasana
The Dedication of a Warrior
Here’s the info on today’s class:

Join me for a 2-hour class inspired by Vishvamitra, a warrior king who dedicated his life to a spiritual path. I’ll start the class with a myth and mantra for Vishvamitra and then dive into a 75-minute vinyasa practice moving working up to the arm balance, Vishavamitrasana. I’ll end with a meditation to ground us. 

SPOTIFY MUSIC PLAYLIST

Quick (and Easy) Ways to Boost Energy

Initiating a new habit requires determination and effort, even if it’s as simple as taking 5-minutes each day to do a pranayama practice. Creating physical and mental space to commit to a routine requires effort and awareness; to fully immerse yourself, you must understand why you’ve committed yourself to the task.

Tips to prepare for a pranayama routine:

 

✺ Create a quiet and comfortable space for your practice. ✺ 

Setting the space to sit may is more enticing to make it to your practice, especially if you decorate your room with crystals, plants, and candles. If you don’t have time to make it to your yoga space, bring a small rock or oil you can smell at your desk or sitting in your car as a reminder to connect to your breath. 

✺ Commit to a set time duration to develop discipline. ✺ 

Commit to a set length of time as you develop your ritual. Start small and add minutes to the duration as you feel necessary. Acknowledge that you may not make your full minutes every day, but do your best to squeeze your practice in—even if it means practicing pranayama in the shower!

✺ Establish a personal rItual to initiate and end your practice. ✺ 

This may be as simple as lighting a candle, bringing your hands to your heart, or closing your eyes. An action that opens and closes your practice is a gesture to honor the time you’re committing to your ritual. 

✺ Check-in with how you’re feeling right now. ✺ 

Before you do your pranayama practice, please take a moment to check in with how your body is feeling and what it needs to feel balanced. Do you need grounding or inspiration? Will excitatory pranayama, such as Kapalbhati, suit your needs? Or something softer and more meditative, such as Boa’s Breath? 

✺ Write Down How You Feel Afterwards to Boost Dedication. ✺ 

Take a few minutes after your pranayama practice to write down how you feel afterward. Name the attributes of your current state, and examine your progress as the weeks pass to note how the ritual of conscious breathing affects all areas of your life. 

Pranayamas to Boost Energy

1. Calm the Nervous System with 4-Part Breath

A simple practice of pranayama that you can take with you anywhere, anytime, is 4-part breath. This simple pranayam calms the body and mind through equally paced inhales and exhales, pausing at the top and bottom of each breath.

This pranayama style has a grounding quality, so it may be done if you’re feeling anxious, spacey, angry, overwhelmed, or if you want to soften and relax before bed. 

How To Do 4-Part Breath:

  • Inhale for the count of four,

  • Hold at the top of your inhale for the count of four,

  • Exhale for the count of four,

  • Hold at the bottom of the exhale for the count of four.

Repeat this cycle several times with the eyes open or closed, and then sit and breathe normally and feel. 

2. Clear Lethargy and Stagnant Energy with Kapalbhati

Kapalbhati is a dynamic breathing style that involves short, forceful, active exhales and passive inhales. The belly pumps to contract the abdomen to push air out of the lungs on the exhalation. This style of breath strengthens the lungs, abdominals and energizes the mind. 

Also known as Skull Shining Breath, Kapalbhati has energizing properties to generate heat and stimulate prana. 

How To Do Kapalbhati: 

  • Inhale halfway through the nose, filling up just a portion of your lung capacity

  • Exhale sharply through the nose and draw the belly in toward the spine,

Keep repeating this cycle, focusing on the sharp exhale contracting the abdomen. Find a rhythm that you can maintain comfortably for between 30 seconds to 2 minutes. When you’re first starting this pranayama, do it for a short period, 30 seconds. As you become more comfortable with it, work towards 2 minutes. 

This style of pranayama should be avoided by those who are pregnant, have high or low blood pressure, epilepsy, and chest pain. 

See how to do Kapalbhati with Clara in this short video.

 

3. Relieve Anxiety and Settle Your Nerves with Viloma Breath 

Viloma breath, also called interrupted breathing or 3-part breath, involves pausing briefly after each inhalation. This pranayama helps lengthen the breath, expand the lung’s capacity, and improves the prana’s flow and control in the body. 

By putting an intentional strain on the body by holding the breath, Viloma helps to relieve anxiety.

  How To Do Viloma:

  • Inhale ⅓ through the nose to the navel,

  • Hold the breath without strain,

  • Inhale ⅓ through the nose to the ribs,

  • Hold the breath without strain,

  • Inhale ⅓ through the nose to the heart,

  • Hold the breath without strain,

  • Exhale slowly.

  • Repeat several cycles. 

Focus on breathing into all three parts of the lungs with the lower abdomen, the rib cage, and the upper chest. Each time you pause, hold the breath lightly and draw the lower belly inwards. 

This pranayama style should be avoided by those who are pregnant, have high blood pressure, epilepsy, and chest pain. 

4. Encourage Circulation and Energy Flow with Lion’s Breath

Lion’s breath is an energetic pranayama that stimulates the throat chakra, boosts circulation, and relieves tension in the face, neck, and throat. If you’re feeling pressure around your face or neck from concentrating or stress, Lion’s breath releases physical strains and loosens up the muscles. 

How To Do Lions Breath:

  • Inhale fully through the nose,

  • Exhale open your mouth and stick out your tongue,

  • As you exhale, make a ‘ha’ sound that starts at the lower belly,

  • Sit and breathe at an average pace for a moment,

  • Repeat several cycles. 

pranayama meditation
Try these pranayamas with this class, Pranayama Meditation:
  • 4-Part Breath
  • Kapalbhati 
  • Lions Breath

5. Connect to Inner Vibration with Bhramari Breath

Bhramari breathing is also known as bee’s breath. The humming in Brahmarai can have a profound calming effect on the body’s nervous system. This pranayama is recommended if you’re feeling anxious, angry, stressed, frustrated, or depressed. It is simple and can be practiced anywhere. 

  How To Do Bhramari Breath:

  • Inhale through the nose,

  • Exhale, purse the lips, and hum OM,

  • Repeat several cycles.

As you do this pranayama, close your eyes and place your palms on various parts of the body to feel the vibration. 

Another way to perform Bhramari is to plug the ears and cover the eyes with the fingertips in shanmukhi mudra. This mudra shuts off other sensations for you to focus on the vibration of the hum. This mudra is not recommended if anxiety is high. 

6. Ground and Access Your Intuition with White Leopard 

White Leopard pranayam is from a martial art called Chien Lung, created by Constantine Darling. It helps to widen our perspective. White Leopards represent intuition and creativity and are seen as being in-tune with the flow of the cosmos. 

White Leopard involves two short inhales through the mouth and one long exhale as a whistle through the mouth accompanied by hand mudras. To whistle, create an ‘O’ shape with the tongue by curling the tongue’s sides inwards. Or make an ‘O’ with the lips as you blow air from the mouth. 

How To Do White Leopard:

  • Come to a comfortable seat, 

  • Bring the hands out in front of you with the fingers touching and the pinky fingers out to the sides,

  • Create the ‘O’ shape with your tongue or your lips,

  • Inhale draw your hands back to the occipital ridge with fingertips touching,

  • Inhale take the hands up above the head with fingertips touching,

  • Exhale and whistle as you take the fingers in a diamond shape down in front of the chest,

  • Repeat several cycles. 

The slower you go, and the longer you extend your breath, the more meditative this practice will become to create space in body and mind. 

See how to do White Leopard with Clara in this short video.

7. Enhance Energy and Wake Up with Bhastrika Breath 

This style of pranayama works to energize and clear slow or stagnant energy. Do this pranayama at any time of the day to clear the mind and body and stimulate the flow of Prana. Bhastrika is as grounding as it is energizing, so try this pranayama if you’re feeling tired and uninspired. This style of pranayama involves very deep and vigorous inhalation and exhalation.

How To Do Bhastrika Breath:

  • Take a comfortable seat and place the palms down on the thighs,

  • Inhale arch the spine, puff up the chest, and draw hands to the hip creases,

  • Exhale round the spine, pull chin to chest, and extend hands to the knees,

  • Repeat for several rounds. 

This style of pranayama should be avoided by those who are pregnant, working with anxiety, have high blood pressure, epilepsy, and chest pain. 

See how to do Bhastrika with Clara in this short video.

8. Widen Your Perspective to Receive Insight with Boa Breath

This pranayama is another pranayama from Chien Lung by Constantine Darling. Boa Breath has a calming effect on the body as the gaze is soft, the movements are slow, and the breath is deep. This style of breath is a moving form of meditation.

How To Do Boa Breath:

  • Come to stand and take the feet wider than the shoulders,

  • Softly bend the knees and come to a forward fold with hands at the earth,

  • Inhale with knees bent, chin in toward the chest slowly roll up to stand and hold the breath at the top of the inhale, if there’s no strain,

  • Holding the breath, draw your hands up to your chin like puppet arms,

  • Exhale out your mouth and take arms wide, bend your knees, and bring the fingertips to touch in front of you like you’re holding a big beach ball,

  • Inhale remain holding the beach ball with soft knees,

  • Exhale slide hands to thighs and bring the chin to the chest,

  • Inhale draw the hands to the thighs and up the center of your body to the chin,

  • Exhale bend knees, arch the spine, and forward fold take hands to the earth,

  • Repeat several cycles. 

The slower you go and the longer you extend your breath, the more meditative this will become to create space in body and mind. 

See how to do Boa Breath with Clara in this short video.

Try these pranayamas with Clara in a moving meditation class, We Are Energy:
  • Bhramari 
  • White Leopard
  • Bhastrika
  • Boa Breath

Get Your Assets for the Class of the Day

Download and save the calendar and journaling booklet to track your progress. 

 
And a big thank you to everyone who provides feedback as it helps us create better experiences for the whole community. 
Sending love and a virtual hug, 
Clara & the Team.