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19th October - Navaz Pranayama

We've had an absolutely lovely couple of days in Panchagani which is a green hill station located a 2.5 hour drive away from Pune. We'd hired a car and driver from Roots and Wings and got into the air conditioned interior with a great sigh of relief, to be out of the sticky, uncomfortable heat of the day. As we steadily climbed up and up, we gradually changed from air con to at one point, actually needing the heater on! We stayed at the slightly quirky Mount View Executive Hotel, which has a swimming pool and (as the name suggests) a beautiful view of the hillside and valley below. Highlight of the trip was Kate's Point, which had a mind-bogglingly vast and open vista that none of our photographs have begun to capture.

We also visited nearby Mahalebeshwar which was in full festival mode for the culmination of the Navaratri celebrations. The main street is a delightful hodge-podge of stalls and shops, selling sandals, clothes, bags, scarves from Kashmir, spicy chickpeas, handmade wooden kitchen implements, really old fashioned amusement arcades and on and on (Kari Ann you would have loved it!).

We arrived back in Pune in plenty of time for Navaz's pranayama, where this week we looked in detail at the correct technique for digital pranayama. As we lay for savasana at the end of the class, there was a sudden increase in volume - at first I thought the fans had been turned up full blast, but it was too loud, almost like a helicopter hovering. It slowly dawned on me that it was actually hammering down with rain outside and I had that cosy feeling that you get, when you're warm and dry in your tent, listening to the rain pelt the canvas outside. Navaz didn't bother to try and compete with the noise, so a beautifully quiet time cocooned in a silent savasana.

At the end of the class, as usual Navaz invited anyone with a question to feel free to come and ask. I went up and explained I had a question, not about the mechanics of pranayama but about the emotional aspect of it. We hope when we sit for pranayama that we will be inhaling a pure, clear energy, but at times when I sit for my pranayama, instead what I am inhaling is a negative emotion, such as fear, stress, guilt, anxiety. What should be done? Her answer was that in this case, I should return to savasana until the dukha (suffering / pain) has passed.

Last day of the intensive for us tomorrow ....

19th October – Navaz Pranayama

Bolster Savasana Ujayii stages 1 – 4

Start with buttocks on the floor in front of the bolster, place hands on the floor behind, lift up and make lumbar concave and then lengthen it so that you go down vertebrae by vertebrae and you have kept great length in the lumbar. Take your hands to the buttocks – spread the right to the right side, left to the left side and move and move the buttock flesh away from the waist. Take hands around base of skull and lengthen neck so that your head rests on the two occipital bones. Arms bent, palms facing you, cut the elbows in the floor to tuck the shoulder blades under. Bottom chest and middle chest facing the ceiling, top chest rolling over towards the chin. At all times the bottom ribs should be higher than the diaphragm. Ujayii 1 Normal breath observation Ujayii 2 extended exhalation / normal inhalation, Ujayii 3 extended inhalation / normal exhalation, Ujayii 4 extended inhalation/ extended exhalation. Awareness of pause at end of inhalation and end of exhalation.