Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pranamaya kosha

At alleyCat Yoga, Columbia's downtown yoga studio, a prospective yogi/ni must purchase a pass that includes a certain number of credits that must be used up by a certain expiration date (depending on the pass you choose). I typically get the 8 classes/8 week pass. And I typically go to yoga class on Saturday mornings.

But over the past six weeks or so, I've been out of town or otherwise unavailable for yoga at least three of those Saturdays. And my pass expires next Friday. And I'm going to be out of town most of next week.

So last week some time it occurred to me that I had to start using up that pass. I've thus been to yoga four out of the past five days. And, let me tell you, friends: if you think going to yoga one day out of the week is good, yoga just about everyday is transcendent.

You heard me. Transcendent.

The most transcendent moment of all came toward the end of yesterday's yoga class. We practiced ujjayi pranayama--"victorious" or "ocean sounding" breath. Sienna, yogini extraordinaire, calls it the Darth Vader breath. For five minutes, we all sat still, breathing loudly. After five minutes, Sienna asked us to sit, to notice how effortless sitting upright now felt. That, she said, is pranamaya kosha, the energy body.

And it was true.

And transcendent.

(Just a little caveat to those who might try this at home: I tried it at home this morning, and while I felt a bit of that good pranayama kosha energy, it was less intense than yesterday. I chalk that up to not doing an hour of pretty active yoga asana practice beforehand.)