Happy Breath De-Stress

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By Jennifer Duvall

Breathing is great. It is something we can all do.

Breathing is a simple and accessible way we can handle our stress responses better.

The inhale is in control of the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is in charge of our “fight-or-flight” response.  When we make our inhale longer than our exhale, you can notice an increase in heart rate.

The parasympathetic nervous system is in sync with our exhale.  The parasympathetic nervous system has the calming effect that counter acts the stress responses in our body. The heart rate slows down when we lengthen our exhale. Cortisol and blood pressure levels can be lowered by continuing a breathing practice.

When we learn to sit and observe our breath, that action alone can calm our mind and body.

The fact that stress can be harmful to one’s health is now common knowledge.  Pranayama (yogic breathing) is a beautiful threshold into the realm of meditation. The world is ready for meditation; for the lightness and well being it brings.

Bhramari breath (bee breath) naturally lengthens the exhales by the act of humming out the breath. When we hum the exhale grows and lengthens. The breath may begin to feel tangible like lengthening or stretching out rubber. We can internally see/feel the breath through observing the subtleties of our experience.

Bhramari breath:

-Sit comfortably (laying down works too).

-Allow yourself to breath and observe the breath.

-Deeply inhale. Then deeply exhale.

-Cover your ears with your thumbs, and the rest of the four fingers (think mitten hands) cover your closed eyes. This step can be optional if holding the hands in this position becomes distracting.

-Inhale deeply.

-Hum a long continuous hum till all the breath is gone.


-Stop when you want to stop.

-Appreciate the feeling in your body.


Come explore your happy breath with me!

The Happy Breath, De-Stress series will be on Wednesdays, September 21st– October 26th from 10:30-11:45am.



Yoga Flow: Guided by the Breath

By Jennifer Duvall

01-Jennifer-Duvall low res social mediaWhen did you start practicing yoga?

I started doing yoga in 2009, 7 years ago.  My first class was a Kundalini Yoga class by Harijiwan, it was magnificent! I knew I had to keep doing yoga after that day.

Why did you decide to start teaching?

I took the teacher training out of my love of yoga rather than thinking that I would teach. I wanted to learn more about yoga and about myself. I realized towards the end of the training that I had learned a lot and it was too good to keep to myself: that made me want to teach yoga.

What has been your largest challenge practicing yoga?

When I first started it took me a long time to build up my stamina to do more energetic practices. Even though I was a runner at the time, many of my muscles were not involved and I could really feel it when I began a yoga asana practice.

How are a few ways yoga has helped you?

Wow! It has helped me in every aspect of my life. The breathing is big and is the basis of everything that has changed for the better. One example is that I would sometimes get sleep paralysis. After starting doing yoga I became able to breath through that time. Being able to breathe through that has changed my whole experience of sleep paralysis and I have had some amazing experiences in the sleep paralyses state after I was able to relax my body and breathe.

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What can people expect to find in your classes?

I like to really focus on the breath. To me it carries so much magic. I hope that others can feel that intangible happiness too.

What is it about Yoga Flow that makes it your choice of practice/teaching?

I like letting my breathing guide me in and out of poses. I really like the fluid feeling of it.

Jennifer is a certified yogic numerologist. She studied numerology with Nam Hari for 3 years. For more about her yogic numerology see her Facebook Page Numinous Numerology.

Jennifer is married to her best friend and is a mother of two. When she has free time she loves to sew children’s clothes, read and relax at Pyramid Lake.

Jennifer offers her Yoga Flow for Beginners FREE, one morning only, on Wednesday, August 31, 2016. Come let her introduce you to the joy of moving with your breath.

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Raja Yoga: Going Deeper

Raja Yoga: Going Deeper 

By Kathy RandolphTYC Altar small

Yoga has been broadly divided into four principal paths for seeking more from life than the mundane  outer existence:

Bhakti Yoga…………The way of devotional love for the Divine.

Karma Yoga………..The way of right action, or selfless service.

Jnana Yoga…………The way of knowledge and discrimination.

Raja Yoga……………The way of unification of body and mind through the development of conscious control.


Raja Yoga, often called “Royal Yoga” or the “Royal Road” includes the teachings of all these paths of yoga.  It is the path of self-discipline and practice, using many techniques which help to control body, energy, senses and mind.  Central to the path of Raja Yoga are the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which codified Ashtanga (eight branched) Yoga as:

  • Yamas…………………Outer behaviors and inner attitudes to avoid: violence, lying, stealing, sensuality and greed.
  • Niyamas………………Practices and observances to cultivate: cleanliness, contentment, austerity, introspection, devotion.
  • Asana………………….Practice of postures to gain control of the body, stillness.
  • Pranayama………….Energy control, often breathing techniques.
  • Pratyahara…………..Interiorization of the mind, withdrawing the senses from external objects.
  • Dharana………………Concentration.
  • Dhyana………………..Meditation.
  • Samadhi………………Enlightenment, the experience of Union.


07-Kathy-Randolph-low resHatha Yoga focuses on two steps of the eight-fold path, asana (postures) and pranayama (breath practices) preparing the body for the journey toward enlightenment.  Through asana the body is quieted and the mind becomes calm, providing the control essential for bodily stillness and a heightened awareness of the subtle nature of the breath. In pranayama, the observation and experiencing of the breath convert it from an autonomic function to a conscious one, combining the physical and spiritual qualities of the breath. Pranayama serves as a bridge between our states of being: conscious and unconscious, voluntary and involuntary, internal and external and provides a gateway to the higher levels of development.  Hatha Yoga brings the body and breath into balance, in order to calm the disturbances of the mind in preparation for the deeper practice of meditation.

A Raja Yoga practice includes techniques to practice all eight aspects of yoga:TYC Kathy crop #2

  • Kirtan (chant)
  • Netra Vyayamam (eye exercises)
  • Surya Namaskar (sun salutation)
  • Asana (yoga postures)
  • Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation)
  • Pranayama (breathing exercises)
  • Dhyana (meditation)

Swami Satchidananda tells us “A body of perfect health and strength, mind with all clarity and calmness, intellect as sharp as a razor, will as pliable as steel, heart full of love and compassion, life full of dedication and Realization of the True Self is the Goal of Integral Yoga.  Attain this through asanas, pranayama, chanting of Holy Names, self-discipline, selfless action, mantra japa, meditation, study and reflection.”

1) Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali/translation and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda, Integral Yoga Publications, 2012.

2) Sri Swami Satchidananda, Integral Yoga Hatha, Integral Yoga Publications, 1995,

3) Sri Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama, The Divine Life Society, 1935.

4) Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Breath of Life:Integral Yoga Pranayama: Integral Yoga Publications, 1993,

I am grateful to my teachers Lisa Dalberg and Sonia Sumar for their wisdom, grace and generosity.  After decades of hatha yoga practice I began my study of Integral Yoga, a Raja Yoga tradition, with Lisa in 1990.  In 1999 with Lisa’s encouragement I expanded my Integral Yoga study with Sonia Sumar, the creator of Yoga for the Special Child.   I completed my Hatha Yoga Teacher Training Program at Sonia’s Satchidananda Yoga Center in 2004.  I continue to train with both of these inspiring women whose teaching and example take me ever deeper into my practice.

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I hope you will join me at my “Raja Yoga” class on Mondays, 6:30 to 7:45 a.m. beginning May 9 through June 13, 2016.  On Monday, May 9 The Yoga Center presents “Welcome to Raja Yoga” a FREE class so you can try it and see if it takes you deeper into your practice.  Beginning on June 20, 2016 my “Raja Yoga” class is now weekly, 6:30 to 7:45 a.m. on Mondays, $48 for a six week series, all proceeds provide sponsorships for Yoga for the Special Child group class students.  I hope you will join me to deepen your yoga practice and enjoy the Karma Yoga of providing yoga classes for children with special needs.

The Yoga Center presents Welcome to Raja Yoga