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Mornings with Prashant - Day7

Modulation of the breath

Much of today's session focused on the breath component of the Mind Body Breath triumvirate. In an earlier session, Prashant had described three types of breathing, involuntary, observed and modulated. This last type is what he addressed today.

He described four channels of modulation - volume, velocity, density, confinement - and took us through a series of breathing exercises to illustrate. He had us lie down in Supta Baddha Konasana over a spine-wise bolster. For a while, we were to breathe normally and observe the breath. Then, we moved into modulation using what Prashant calls 'silent utterances'. On each inhalation, he had us use our vocal organs to repeat a series of sounds, but without actually making a sound. He emphasised that we were not simply to think these sounds but to actually say them, but silently.

Some of the series we went through included:

  • uh, as in uncle

  • ah, as in father

  • ee, as in peel

  • oo, as in loot

  • o, as in low

  • lum.

With each inhalation, we would 'silently utter' uh, uh, uh, uh or ee, ee, ee, ee. We were to observe the differences in the inhalation that resulted from these different word shapes. To facilitate this, he suggested we interpose the sounds, e.g. uh, ah, uh, ah, or ah, oo, ah, oo.