Wednesday, June 18, 2003

No extra breaths in pranayama today. Of course, we were doing shortened retentions, maybe six second exhale retentions and around 8-9 seconds for the inhales, so it was a lot easier than normal. The circle was smaller today, down to about 20 people. Each time I've gone recently, I've started out trying to memorize the sequence of the breaths and retentions. Normally, for those like me who don't have it down yet, Tim will use some simple hand signals so they know what to do. For the ujjayi breathing with retentions, he'll raise or lower his hand to indicate the direction and duration of the breath and that a retention is to follow. For the alternate nostril breathing, he'll point to the left or right to indicate which nostril we're supposed to be using. I usually get caught up in the efforts of the session and lose track of the pattern, I end up just following his lead rather than learning it. There's no question that the practice would be deeper if I didn't have to break internal focus to watch what he was doing to know what to do next. I'm also hopeless on the slokas that are chanted at the end. Not surprising, since it took me months to learn the usual invocation chant we do before practice each day. So far to go.

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