Self-Heating Practice



Last week, we were at a high of 30 degrees, today: a blistery 7 degrees. It is cold! Winter has come suddenly to Cairo.

It may be nippy to the bone and the cold can be stiffening but don’t dismay because the practice creates this wonderful internal heat.

Breathe deeply that breath with sound. Move with thoughtful, deliberate breath. Ignite the body furnace with deep and deliberate inhales and exhales. Allow your breath with sound (ujaii) to heat and move the body safely from one posture to the next. And melt into the collective energy of a room in practice.

Turn up the heat, breathe fully and steadily.

Reminder: please keep yourself warm during practice, dress appropriately and it is recommended to cover up after practice! Last class for Maadi and Zamalek is this Sunday. Yalla!

Photo: Four can heat up a space. It was such a pleasure to be warmed by the four Maadi regulars yesterday morning. I found myself in a funny yoga clothing strip tease, removing first my scarf, sweater, then leg warmers each time someone entered the room to start practice. La Zone was practically toasty by the end of morning practice.

Breathing with Sound


Breathing with Sound

Ashtanga, Guruji used to say, is a breathing practice.

Yesterday, the sound of the breath just drew me into the practice, the pulsation of the inhale and the exhale, the sacred moment of silence as the gap in between is naturally observed.

It was not even my own practice, but those of the students around me. It was not even my own breath, not in the beginning.

But it tugged at me until I, too, was breathing that barely audible sound of air slowly passing through the throat.

Together we were a chorus of sound made up of different paces, different qualities, different syncopations. Some were fast, while others were slow. Some had heavy billowing breaths, while others had soft or shallow breaths.

For me, as I kept my watch over mysore class, I felt the room. For others, they felt their bodies, the postures, or even more subtle internal energies.

Call it ujaii, breathing with sound, Darth Vader’s softer cousin… What it’s called doesn’t matter as much as what it does, this sound track of practice.