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Courses

The Art of Breathing: Prana & the Energy Body

  • Yoga Philosophy
  • By Mary Reilly Nichols
  • On Demand

About the Course

A foundation in basic breath technique is a vital element in our tool kit for living in the 21st century. Everyone should be equipped with breathing skills which demonstrably lower heart rate, boost energy and improve self-management in stressful situations. Even more, centering breath awareness forms the universal core of meditation methods practiced throughout the globe. With the right understanding, a simple breath easily unlocks the door to the ecstasy of spiritual liberation.

 In this course you will survey the posture, physiology, psychology and spiritual significance of breath and breath practices with insights drawn from contemporary science as well as from the world’s wisdom traditions. Each session includes practical instruction in natural breath-centered meditation supported by both sacred and secular textual sources.

In module one we will take a look at “bottom up” neuro-messaging with postural alignments for increasing oxygen intake and sending calming messages to the brain and nervous system. We will explore a variety of breath practices to effectively maintain peaceful social- emotional equilibrium and healthy vagal tone. We will survey various yogic breath practices and the metaphysics of breath or prana derived from the origin myths of diverse cultures.
Module 2 will provide a review of the fascinating philosophy and practice of ‘pranayama’ (breath practice used for self-inquiry) from the yoga canon, and an experiential survey of Zen, Vipassana and Tibetan Buddhist teachings on breath awareness. Recap the basic principles of breathing for mindfulness and stress regulation, and practice to make meditation more accessible and enjoyable.
In module three we encounter the enlightening breath-centered methods described in sacred Tantric contemplative teachings. An introduction to the poets, seers and texts of Kashmiri Shaivism, such as the Shiva Sutras and Shree Vijnana Bhairava, yields a treasury of simple yet profound gestures of attention which draw the practitioner into the experiential contact with the infinite known as non-dual consciousness.
A deep dive into a specific text, the “Kularnava Tantra” which offers breath technique as the means to meditative non-dual awareness. We will look at a map of the “pranic sheath” and the breath-arising mantra, “Ham-Sah” (or So’ham) will be the centerpiece of this final module.

Students who take this course will:

  • Improve breathing habits for wellness, energy and mood management
  • Develop best postural alignments for breath practices
  • Explore breath techniques for entering and sustaining deeper meditation
  • Discover teachings on breath from world wisdom traditions.
  • Learn how to effect the neurological benefits of ‘vagal nerve tone’
  • Use breath in action to establish present moment awareness
  • Experience the spiritual ecstasy of Tantric teachings on breath awareness

About Mary Reilly Nichols

Mary Reilly Nichols is the Director of Nalanda InstituteÕs Yoga, Mind & Spirit teacher training program and has been teaching yoga for over 30 years. She teaches yoga from the perspective of non-duality offered in the Upanishads, Advaita Vedanta, as well as in the Tantric methods of Kashmiri Shaivism and Kundalini Yoga. She holds a BA in anthropology from Harvard University, is a devoted student of Muktananda, and completed five years of residency in meditation ashrams in both India and the US. Currently, Nichols teaches stress management in psychiatric settings and is involved in ongoing research on the mind/body benefits of yoga and meditation.

one-time payment

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Unlimited Membership

  • Access to this course, plus…
  • Member Only Content
    Unlimited access to premium articles, special podcast series, and other member only content.
  • EPTV Streaming Video Service
    Access to EPTV Original Series and our video library of over 250+ hours of lectures, talks and workshops.
  • Wisdom School Courses
    Access to 60+ on-demand courses plus two new courses every month.