Students: What do you recommend to focus on between the intentional breaths?
Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora: Focus on the movement. Check for yourself, where is your awareness when you are in the action of breathing? It is with the movement. That movement you are making is making awareness. So this is where you are.
Students: In unintentional breath, where is the best place to keep your awareness?
Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora: When your breath is in between the intentional inhalations or exhalations – calm yourself. Make sure that everything is dropped, that all energy that went to your head is now gone. You exhale, exhale, and if any place needs attention – if it became tensed – this is where you exhale, drop everything, you create space there and neutral atmosphere. Sometimes it takes one breath, sometimes it takes ten. There is no measure. Your job is to be ready for the next breath. If not taking precaution like that, you are gone.
The Pranayama you should make by yourselves, because the moment I start to talk during it, I bring you out of yourselves. So why do I sit here? To monitor the session and make sure that you don’t do something really stupid. Because it takes seconds to become a schizophrenic, it takes seconds to die.
When you hold your breath and do Kumbhaka – the technique which I don’t want to do with you and which I don’t do myself – there is always looking for troubles. There is many I know, who were just gone, doing Pranayama practice. Therefore all these things like Kumbhaka, they are not necessary. You will understand everything, all your energies that I talked about, only from inhalation-exhalation. Don’t fool around with Pranayama.
Students: I am disturbed, when I need to swallow.
Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora: You breathe in and after you made that extended inhalation, when it comes to an end, you can swallow. The best is to let your water collect in the mouth and when your all cycle is finished, than you swallow. Don’t swallow in between.
Students: How high does the breath in the chest can come? I feel the abdomen expanding, the rib cage expanding, where can the breath go up?
Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora: In fact when you are inside, you are aware of the breath flowing within. Your awareness is like the horse and your breath is the chariot – awareness is the horse, breath is the chariot. You do not feel your ribs opening, that is all outside. If you feel the ribs, you are outside, you are not in the chariot. In the same way as when I run, technically speaking, I am moving air. When the car goes, what does it do? Moves air. That is like the movement of air, that is all outer what happens. You are not concerned with that. If you are on the outside, you are not on the inside – I am just warning you, because, from your question it is obvious. Please, understand what I am saying. Be inside, and not on the surface. This is your skin, this is your ribs. They have very little to do with your awareness. It was a nice question and I am glad it came up.
Students: With the inhalation when I start come up it is fairly easy, but when I arrive to the solar plexus area it is slowed down and after it again goes smoothly. Should I stop when it becomes difficult? It is like going on the road, then on the mud and then on the road again.
Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora: Now we will make it easier. When it comes up higher, it is like a fan. Once you come above your armpits.
Students: Sometimes the period between the inhalations and exhalations is longer. Like a natural pause in between. Is this ok?
Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora: If it stops by itself, as long as you are not doing it, as long as there is no ambition behind it, let it be. Suspension. It will be a split second.
Pranayama is the toughest action of Yoga. You have to be really aware. Do you know how much awareness you need to be in the centre of your heel? In Pranayama you need a lot more awareness to be both passive and active.
Students: What is the task for today?
Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora: The task for today is only inhalations. If a bandage has helped you, then you are going to do also today it with a bandage.
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Yoga master teacher Sharat Arora
Article derived from the Intensive Yoga Course
at the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre in Arambol North Goa, 2010