Pranayama, sleep, and other New Year’s resolutions

In the late 1990s, I took to yoga asana without a second thought. My body immediately loved it. I initially attended three to five classes weekly. My little apartment, with carpet and cat, wasn’t ideal for home practice, but I eventually appropriated a floor and wall space at the UC Berkeley rec center for my practice. Pranayama is another animal. Stillness, physical or mental, is not second nature to me. I’ve attended classes and done some reading on pranayama over the years. But adding breath work to my current two-hour asana practice simply hasn’t happened. The immaculate expanse of a … Continue reading Pranayama, sleep, and other New Year’s resolutions

Extreme breath control

I first read about the sport of freediving two summers ago, in an August/September 2008 Hana Hou! magazine article, “On One Breath” by Michael Shapiro. Researching the sport with gusto, Shapiro himself trains to do a four-minute breath hold and a 100-foot dive. Insanity! My interest was further piqued in “The Deepest Dive,” The New Yorker, August 24, 2009, which profiles two of the world’s top female freedivers, 37-year-old Sara Campbell (a Brit living in Egypt) and 47-year-old Natalia Molchanova (of Russia). In the article (which I’ve uploaded here), both were trying to become the first female to reach 100 … Continue reading Extreme breath control