Breath of Clarity

Pranava Teacher Training Journal Entries- January 2017


Asana Practice: I went to Mike’s vinyasa open class from 9-10:30. I noticed myself a little rattled about what I was going to journal about after calss. It actually resulted in me returning to the breath more frequently than my typia asana expereicen, as I used it as a way to calm down. I am starting to be consistently mindful of movements I do in stadning postures which cause hip pain.

Pranayama: We did alternate nostril breath with no pause. I was less frantic without the paise. I want to be less self-judgemental like I was today when it was easier.

Meditation: five minutes at Poor Richard’s. it was interesting hearing background voices and listening/feeling my exhale in a moment designated as meditation outside the studio.


Today I went to Deb’s 5:30 vinyasa open class. For pranayama, we did square breath. I replaced self-judgement with fous and it felt so good. Asana practice was so frustrating. I was crying a lot and terrified and frustrated to observe myself cry in the studio. I wrestled between self-judgement and fous. I thought about the tough emotional day and thought about how it was linked to family trauma. I thought about how I had the option to be more present. I also reflect that my asana’s practice purpose is to open up and feel and access everything. So, I am sitting at home and working to be gentle with it all. I stayed at the studio for 7:10-7:30 meditation and used the mantra “I am light” and focused on my breath. I thank myself for staying to meditate and sitting with discomfort in the studio.


Today, I did a wonderful, original pranayama sequence. It is a four second inhale and four second exhale and two second neutral in between. I counted my breaths because I didn’t want to use a technological monitor. I stretched after a ski day. It is while my chicken parmeasan with olive oil and carrots with honey are cooking downstairs at a house in Dillon, Colorado. I will meditate after I finish cooking for six minutes. My overall yoga-related practice was brief and moderate and I just texted my dad and then went to a safe haven to practice pigeon. brief and moderate and invigorating. I added a tape ring to my finger (the one next to the small right finger). It represents the breath. Vocabulary is awesome. I ate mindfully about twenty minutes ago. Just being a person and the breath is important. Love to focus. It feels good.


I skiied today and was exhausted. So, I took a break from yoga. I realize today (actually the 22nd) that it’s helpful to take a day off from physical practice if the body is feeling over-exerted, but most importantly the same is not true for meditation practice, especially if I’m still at the point doing five minutes a day. I will work on developing better discipline, tapas, for the program’s remainder. I was to remember my reason for returning to the mat (opening up consciousness) can be applied to my commitment towards meditation.


intention= to heal a wound in a body which was built as wholly divine. Today, I went to Hethyr’s 9:30-11:30 vinyasa intermediate/advanced class. For pranayama, we did kalabati breath, short inhales with forceful exhales. I want to get better at listening to direction for kalabati. I also want to identify where I can use it during specific poses and high intensity moments during asana pratice rather than not breathing at all. Asana was tough today. I think it was due to tiredness. I learned to square hips during splits and pigeon by coming onto the back toes and that felt progressive. Taking care of my right hip seems to be increasingly urgent. I find myself not wanting to sacrifice deep leg bends for getting myself square even though it’s necessary. I was restless during meditation today and want to develop comfort in ways other than adjusting position. I want to use the breath and mantras to return to.


Today, I did a 30-minute meditation walking with eyes closed on the tredmill holding onto handlebars with headphones in. It was interesting to combine a 30 minue cardio running workout endorphins with meditation. I focused on the intricacy of the songs I listened to and was even able to hear the sounds of other machines around me. Usually, during a run, I can only hear the music. So, that was interesting. I enjoyed envisioning what everyone around me looked like without actually seeing it. I found myself returning to the breath in order to keep discipline to keep eyes closed. I also did a five minute meditation at Sahara Cafe in Manitou Springs. I felt ease not moving, but thoughts were racing a bit more. Except, I felt a deeper human connection listening to the same music as everyone at the cafe and the worker who I interacted with was the DJ.


I am writing this post wednesday night because I neglected my practice yesterday. Growth requires self honesty. I regreat not meditating before my skype interviews which is interesting because lately I haven’t regretted as much as I used to habitually. I love my mind a lot post-meditation. On days I skip, I still see that statement as true but don’t realize that degree to which it is important. Practicing for me is not about reinforcing the benefits the activity brings. My inconsistency with meditation thus far is frustrating because I’m working on being stable. Just need to replace self-judgement with focus.


Today, I practiced meditation on my bedroom floor sitting cross legged at night from 11:31-11:42. I felt so much lower back pain. I think it’s from doing homework in unhealthy posture positions. It was interesting to listen to sounds around the room (a ticking watch, heater turning on and off, the breath). I realized how overwhelmed I am and meditation felt helpful even though it also was especially difficult today. It can be both. My yoga sankalpa intention (to heal) is both difficult and beneficial. While I felt my lower back pain, I thanked myself for taking care of my right hip these past few days. I also wrote this in my comparative politics notebook today- “activity breaks and variety brings self compassion”.


Today, I went to Deb’s 5:30-7 open vinyasa class. During pranayama square breath, I observed myself and noticed I get rattled during pauses after inhales. It was calming to notice that. The asana practice felt interesting. A noteworthy component is chaturanga dandasana was easier, smoother and more graceful as the practice progressed, as opposed to getting weaker. There was a nice balance between effort and ease today. I did shoulder stand and it was much more chill than moment I did it in my hometown. During savasana, I was focused and felt blissful. I am working on observing myself while in a glad mood and did that today. The meditation from 7:10-7:30 was amazing. I encountered my friend who died from heroine overdose on the beach and was present with her as she sat in the lifeguard chair she used to work at. I loved witnessing myself smile in the studio, when I felt her support me. It was a relief to feel blissful from the meditation. Although, I am getting to the point where evaluating how I am doing is getting in the way a bit.


Today, I went to Deb’s 3:30-5 vinyasa open class. We had a discussion about listening to intention opening up and letting go of all the unproductive material which surrounds inner light. It felt good to correspond about that. Pranayama was inhale (6), hold (6), exhale (6). So, I noticed myself easily able to complete it but however also thinking about unrealted topics during it. I strive to focus more in order to identify where else I can observe in breath work. Asana practice was challenging and also solid. I noticed the bind in extended side angle brings hip pain. Half moon was smooth. I appreciate that I continue to work on gaze to top hand and lifting up to remove weight from standing leg hip and shifting bottom hand close to the center. I liked poses where I can continue to work on the same principle for a while. During meditation, I inhaled (“I am light”) and said (“anxiety”) as I exhaled. I want to continue to play with that strategy. I noticed during eagle that flexing everything towards the midline is awesome and love that as a metaphor.


Today was teacher training weekend #2 and I completed some asana practice at Alison’s alignment workshop. I felt so capable doing handstand with forehead against the wall and also without the wall squeezing legs together with a fist assist between them. I also learned a great new shoulder opener and an awesome bodisavasana with bolster and strap. I learned that taking stress out of his doesn’t necessarily require more knowledge, rather it’s more about just not bending the knees as deep and shifting to be more square. I just meditated from 8:57-9:02pm. I blasted Grace is Gone (live from Saratoga) by Dave Matthews in the empty house. I was thinking about what to journal and would sometimes remember to return to the breath. Those were the two things I thought about during the entire meditation. I purposefully played this song during the meditation as a way to reflect and be aware about getting really drunk last night. I noticed my breath was way more fast paced than normally me. I just observe it as interesting.


Today, I went to Hethyr’s 9:30-11:30 intermediate/advanced vinyasa class. For pranayama, we did kalabati breath. I want to bring more effort into it, both understanding the specific directions more closely and also increase the exhale forcefullness. Asana practice was heated and fun. A major adjustment was placing my hands wider for downward dog. It was helpful because it took pressure out of my shoulders during transistion from chaturanga to urdhvaknukha savasana. I can now practice 3 poses during the inversion break which is fun because focusing on the breath is the commonality. I focus on seeing where there is pain instead of pushing. Meditation was awesome. First, I used the background sounds in the music as my single-point focus, then the cars, and then the ticking clock, but most importantly, each one on its own for a little while. Also, inhale “I am light” and exhale “I am not anxiety”. I also noticed light seeping into my closed eyes vision and enjoyed working with it. Andy also told me about a great posture for sitting.


Meditation without ujii breath helped me so much to strike balance between effort and ease. Before then, there was too much effort. I woke up at 7:40 and did a forty minute, three mile run/walk at the gym to prepare for sitting meditation. It felt good listening to my body, rather than the 3 miles as I usually do a straight thru run with no walking. Going back and forth helped me return to my breath and bring self compassion just or being there and making it so my self compassio about being good enough was not dependent on running the entire session. I ran to “On and On” by Erykah Badu to build confidence at the end of the physical practice, similar to how we do bow pose in yoga before winding down. That song just jazzes me and I observed that about myself in the past. So, I played it purposefully. I meditated after that for 6 minutes, 30 seconds to an instrumental version of the song “Blackbird”. My focal point was the breath and musical notes intricacy. I still struggle with thinking about what I’m going to journal about during the actual meditation. I want to take the anxiety aspect out of that and replace it with noticing things without applying it to a task. It’s also noteworthy that listening to the song helped me to see its temporary quality and not think so much about being stuck in the meditation and not wanting to get out of it so much.


Today, I meditated on my bedroom foor from 8:26-8:36. I also think it was important I took a shower to treat myself in waking up a bit before starting. I started with my single-point focus being the changing vision, even though my eyes were closed and the lighting would alter. I thought it may be fun to focus on that with morning light seeping into the room. However, my bedroom borders the road similar to the upstairs room at Pranava and it was comforting to focus on that. I still had the thought “oh I need to think what to journal about” but it wasn’t so bad becaseu the self-judgement component didn’t go at it. It was moreso about hearing the different sounds around me. I remember there was a ticking watch in my room from the last time I meditated in this bedroom and focused to find that sound and eventually did. It was more faint this time because I wasn’t sitting directly next to it. I got a lot of sleep and felt rested and think that contributed to my lacking self judgement this morning. I also enjoyed meditating without music. I thought it was cool to push myself by doing more minutes even though I had to deal with thinking of the stopwatch a few times. I just saw the thought and let it go.