Pranayama, or breathing exercises, are something we often do at the beginning of a yoga class to get calm, reconnect to center, and engage with the present moment.
But you can practice pranayama anytime. After all, yoga is sitting, observing the breath, and being in the present moment. The physical poses, asana, are fun to do and keep our bodies healthy, but that's only icing on the cake of yoga.
Whenever you are sitting and being in the moment and breathing, you are in yoga.
So, with that in mind, here are two ideas for you to practice pranayama using a prop, and to practice pranayama outdoors while we still have warm days.
Buy a bottle at a dollar store or jump on the Internet for instructions on how to make your own. Have a comfortable seat someplace and pull out the bubble wand.
Breathe in through your nose for four counts, hold for four, and breathe out one long breath through your mouth, softly, blowing bubbles as you do. You can blow a batch or gently blow one giant bubble. Replenish the wand when needed, while still breathing in for four, hold for four, long breath out with bubbles.
Watch the bubbles float through the air and pop where they land, letting their fragile beauty remind you of the impermanence of everything in life, and the importance of detachment.
You can find these at dollar stores too, and sometimes you can even find little mini ones.
I suggest the same pranayama technique: breathe in through your nose for four counts, hold for four, and breathe out one long breath onto the pinwheel, letting it turn. The wind might turn it as well, and that's wonderful! Co-create with the universe.
Breathe and watch the colors spin.
What could be more fun than adding bubbles and pinwheels to your pranayama practice? Do you have any other ideas for pranayama props? Let us know in the comments below!