80 rounds mixed pranayama practice
|Visualise an effulgence in the area of the heart? no problem, Santorini's wall to wall ruddy effulgence|
Basically I started off gently with my legs lightly crossed, ten rounds of surabhedana (inhale right/exhale left nostril) then ten of chandra bhedana (inhale left / exhale right). In these I'd just mentally chant gayatri mantra on the inhale retention and work on slowing and lengthening the inhalation aiming for twelve and then fifteen second inhalations.
Next up was anuloma (exhale throat) and pratiloma (inhale throat) ujjayi, same thing trying to slow and lengthen the breath, harder without the extra control of your fingers and thumbs on the side of your nose.
Hips felt open enough by then to practice in siddhasana
Next vilouma ujjayi shodana where you inhale throat/exhale left nostril/inhale left/exhale throat/inhale throat/exhale right/ inhale right/exhale throat, standard pranayama mantra on the kumbhala (breath retention after the inhalation 20-24 seconds))
On my usual nadi shodana practice I explored repeating the pranayama mantra twice on the inhaled retention (48 seconds). ten rounds like that then another ten rounds trying to bring it all together, 15 second inhalation, 20 second kumbhaka with mantra, 15 second exhalation, 10 second kumbhala, so a one minute breath.
Finishing off with sitali.
If there's one thing I'm taking from this trip it's that asana is going to have to fit around my pranayama practice.
Re. my beach pranayama picture above. Tended to struggle with the meditating on an effulgence in the heart area while practicing pranayama, couldn't visualise it...of course not I live in England ...in Santorini, no problem, it's wall to wall ruddy effulgence.
Aranya by the way, in his commentary to the sutras, suggests meditating for a few minutes on an effulgence around the heart area separate from your pranayama practice, once fixed begin your pranayama, nice tip, one of many.
A note on counting 'rounds' of pranayama
This can get confusing. How DO we count a round of pranayama?
I used to think that there where many kinds of pranayama, suryabheda, nadi shodana, Ujjayi, Viloma Ujjayi shodana... but this is problematic, suryabheda involves one inhalation and exhalation, nadi shodana includes inhalation and exhalation through both nostrils so involves two breaths and viloma ujjayi shodana, both nostrils and the throat so three breaths. If we count each cycle as a 1 pranayama nadi shaodana is going to take twice as long as suryabheda and viloma ujjayi shodana, three times as long.
However, my understanding now is that one pranayama equals one breath. This is often counted as one inhalation followed by kumbhaka (breath retention). obviously you would then inhale and perhaps include another kumbhaka after the inhalation before Inhaling again for the second pranayama.
a cycle of suryabheda counts as 1 pranayama
a cycle of anuloma or pratiloma Ujjayi counts as 1 pranayama
a cycle of nadi shodana counts as 2 pranayamas
a cycle of Viloma Ujjayi shodana counts as 3 pranayamas
So to get to 80 pranayamas I can choose to include cycles of
10 x Suryabheda = 10 pranayamas
10 x Chandrabheda = 10 pranayamas
10 x Anuloma ujjayi = 10 pranayamas
10 x pratiloma ujjayi = 10 pranayamas
10 x Nadi shodana = 20 pranayamas
5 x Viloma Ujjayi Shodana = 15 pranayamas
5 x sitali = 5 pranayamas
or perhaps another combination of the above or some of the other pranayama techniques.
Personally, given the time I like to stick to ten of each as it takes me a couple or cycles before I settle into the rhythm. Also, although I'm currently exploring some of the different techniques and exploring longer inhalations or kumbhakas etc I probably prefer more time on each approach.
My ideal, after this period of experimentation, would probably be
10 x Suryabheda = 10 pranayamas
20 x nadi shodana = 40 pranayamas
10 x viloma ujjayi shodana = 30 pranayamas
10 x sitali (in warmer weather) = 10 pranayamas
....which actually comes to 90 pranayamas if we include the the sitali but what the heck.
How long each cycle takes depends on your ratio. In suryabheda at the beginning I'm doing
a shorter kumbhaka using the gayatri mantra (10 seconds) but building up to longer inhalations and exhalations (fifteen seconds each) and a short kumbhala after inhalations.
In nadi shodana I'm doing my regular
5 second inhalation/20 second kumbhaka (with the pranayama mantra) /10 second exhalation/five second kumbhaka, for the first ten cycles.
for the second 10 cycles I'm doing Krishnamacharya's One minute breath
15 second inhalation/20 second Kumbhka (with pranayama mantra)/ 15 second exhalation/ 10 second kumbhaka
In Viloma ujjayi shodana or sitali I'm exploring the longer kumbhaka after exhalation, chanting the pranayama twice (40 seconds).
Manduka's new Santorini Blue prolite
First time you can hardly see the mat so had to do it again. One thing I really wanted to include was Krishnamachrya's ekapada sirsasana, where the arms are folded rather than palms together in front of the chest.
My past Manduka mat reviews are HERE love my black mat pro at home but for traveling, Prolite every time.