Two fun props for outdoor pranayama practice

Pranayama, or breathing exercises, are something we often do at the beginning of a yoga class to get calm, reconnect to the center, and engage with the present moment.

You can do pranayama at any time. Yoga is about sitting and observing your breath. Asanas are great for our health and fun, but they’re just the icing on top of yoga.Yoga is when you sit and breathe in the present moment.

Here are two ways to practice pranayama with a prop and outdoors while the weather is still warm.

1. Bubbles

You can buy a bottle in a dollar shop or find instructions online on how to make it yourself. Pull out the bubble wand and sit down comfortably.

You can blow bubbles while you breathe in and out through your nose. You can either blow several bubbles or blow one big bubble. When needed, replenish the wand while breathing in for 4, holding for four, and then blowing bubbles with a long breath.

Watch as the bubbles float in the air, then pop wherever they land. Let their fragile beauty remind you of the impermanence and importance of detachment.

2. Pinwheel

These can be found at dollar stores, and you may even find mini versions.

I recommend the same pranayama: inhale through your nose four times, hold it for four, and then exhale one long breath on the pinwheel. Let it turn. The wind may also turn it, which is wonderful! Create with the universe.

Watch the colors spinning as you breathe.

What could be better than adding pinwheels and bubbles to your pranayama? Do you have any other props for pranayama? Comment below to let us know!

There is no such thing as failure.

One morning, as I was standing in Starbucks waiting for my coffee to be ready, I started a regular practice of yoga and began studying the yogic philosophy. I was in a hurry and had gotten used to the fast pace that Manhattan demands if you want to succeed in this city. The barista was talking to the person in line ahead of me and got my order wrong.

I became very annoyed with this young woman, who was enjoyably doing her job.

I felt a twinge in my stomach as I hurried off, coffee in hand. I had committed myself to this practice, but I could not remain calm and compassionate when things didn’t go my way.

I felt like an utter failure. I wasn’t. Failure is not a thing. We are not here for perfection but to practice. Practice doesn’t make perfect.

There is No Perfect Practice

Yoga is not a perfect practice. This can lead to an ego trap, where we suppress negative emotions as we believe we shouldn’t have them. Self-love is about loving ourselves in all our parts and being with the shadows.

Try again tomorrow if today wasn’t your best day. If you didn’t feel the love you deserve, you may have stumbled over your words or been confused while teaching yoga.

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