Prāṇāyāma – Where to Start?
According to how I was taught there two possibilities, that of using ratio and that of using nostril techniques. Desikachar taught me, both for my personal practice and teaching skill base, that the journey towards Prāṇāyāma starts with the former before being enhanced and refined through the latter.
According to Krishnamacharya’s methodology around developing the breath aspect of the students practice, initially through Āsana and Mudrā and ultimately through Prāṇāyāma, begins with what happens in and to the breath in Āsana.
He even devised formula whereby the teacher could observe the length of the breath in Āsana. From there a potential developmental structure could be plotted for the students Prāṇāyāma practice, in terms of projections as to the length of breath they should expect, or work towards realising in this aspect of their practice.
This process of observing the existing breath lengths and from this information determining the potentials and direction, also exposes any blockages or imbalances in terms of what could be expected and what actually appears.
This then offers a direction for investigation into the underlying factors and the development of strategies to explore resolution and progression with specific areas such as, are the issues with the inhalation or the exhalation, or what part of my breathing body shows inappropriate resistance.
From here I can investigate specific Āsana, with specific breathing patterns or specific foci, in order to transform and transcend my existing expectations as to what is currently perceived as possible and where I can go with my breathwork.
All of which is linked to the ultimate purpose of the breath in Āsana, according to Krishnamacharya, that of developing and refining our Prāṇāyāma practice, possibly the most undernourished area within many students Yoga repertoire.