I attended a Saturday workshop taught by well-known yoga and spiritual teacher Beryl Bender Birch. I was so excited to be meeting a famous yoga “rock star.” Beryl has been teaching ashtanga yoga since the seventies along with conducting teacher trainings. In 2000 Yoga Journal named her one of seven American women who helped shape the yoga culture. Beryl also wrote two best sellers titled Power Yoga and Beyond Power Yoga along with other books, CDs and DVDs.
The workshop was about the topic of Parayama, the art of yoga breathing. By breathing we can learn to control the life force called the prana. These exercise help prepare the mind for meditation to be followed by our yoga practice. We practiced Nadi Sodhana, which is breathing through alternating nostrils. Beryl also walked us through the exercise of Jalandara Bandaha, which is a combination of breathing and nodding. I found that the workshop enhanced both my meditation and yoga practice.
Breathing exercises can be very beneficial in several ways. The mind and body connection is controlled through breathing. It is also very relaxing and a great stress release. Breathing exercises have also been shown to help with concentration, creativity and cognitive brain function.

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