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The Dance of Prana and Feminine Energy: A Guided Exploration of Womb Yoga's Foundational Breathing Practices



Have you ever paused to truly be with your breath; to explore its contours, its shallowness or its depth? To look at the connection between the mind, body and breath? This seemingly mundane act of breathing holds the key to a vital force within you, a force revered in ancient traditions as the very essence of life itself.

 

For example, in the Hindu tradition, the breath and its energetic force is personified as Shakti, the Divine Mother, the embodiment of the feminine creative energy that animates the universe. How lovely, right?


In this tradition, Shakti is not a separate entity, but rather the dynamic power inherent within all existence.


She is the animating spark that ignites creation, the nurturing current that sustains life, and the transformative force that empowers us to evolve.


Like the ebb and flow of the ocean tides, Shakti's presence pulsates within every living being, a constant yet ever-changing dance of creation and dissolution.

To breathe with reverence is to honor Prana Shakti, the very power of life itself. Prana, translating to "life force," and Shakti, meaning "power," come together in this beautiful Sanskrit term to represent the vital energy that animates our bodies and connects us to the universe.

Interestingly, the concept of a vital life force isn't unique to Hinduism's Prana Shakti. Ancient Egyptians, too, believed in the "Breath of Life," or 'khet,' a vital current that resided not just in the lungs but also in the soul. They associated nasal breathing with "breathing into the soul" and believed it fueled their inner spark.


Man with Ba (Soul) c. 1300 BC
Man with Ba (Soul) c. 1300 BC

Their emphasis on conscious breathing aligns perfectly with the core principles of Prana Shakti cultivation in that our breath acts as the primary vehicle for Prana Shakti to enter our being.


Imagine Prana Shakti as a potent life force carried on the wings of each inhalation. Just as we wouldn't neglect to nourish our bodies with food, conscious breathing allows us to embrace and maximize the life force offered by Prana Shakti with each breath.


Sadly, most of us breathe unconsciously, on autopilot, essentially starving ourselves of this vital source of energy. This deprivation can manifest as crippling fatigue, brain fog, and a general sense of disconnection from our own vibrancy. 


By consciously connecting with our breath, we can become aware of this vital current and open ourselves more fully to its flow.


Furthermore, when we become aware of the natural ebb and flow of our breath, we cultivate an attitude of gratitude and welcome for this gift of vitality. Thankfully, Yoga offers a powerful tool to heighten our breath awareness: Pranayama.


Rumi with a rainbow background

As the 13th-century mystic Rumi so eloquently expressed,


"Within you is the wellspring of all joy. Drink deeply from that well."

Our breath, a tangible connection to this inner wellspring, offers a pathway to awaken and connect with Shakti's transformative power. It is this concept of Prana Shakti and its connection to breath that I hope to explore with you here via written thought and guided audio pranayama instruction. Won't you join me a moment? P.S. have a MA in Comparative Literature from King’s College London so I sometimes can’t help the academic leanings my blog posts take. As a result, they do often get to be a bit long. As a solution for those that prefer shorter reads, I have created headlines for you and have provided links throughout so you can get to where you’d like to get to quickly. As always, your feedback is always welcome!


 

in Today's Post: Womb Yoga's Foundational Breathing practices + One of My Own


"Falling Star" 1884 by Witold Pruszkowski
"Falling Star" 1884 by Witold Pruszkowski

In my quest to deepen my understanding of pranayama and energetic flow, I have lately been venturing into the work of Dr Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, the founder of Womb Yoga.


Therefore, today we'll explore a foundational Womb Yoga practice called the Circle of Flowing Breath.


This simple yet potent technique serves as the cornerstone for all Womb Yoga practices and cultivates a deep awareness of the life force within us.


Through a guided audio recording, you'll have the opportunity to experience the Circle of Flowing Breath firsthand and begin to tap into the strength that is your own feminine energy.


Furthermore, I've included other guided audio recordings for you to consider. For example, I've included, "Beyond the Foundation: A Gratitude-Filled Guided Prana Shakti Journey (20 min)." This recording isn't just another practice; it's an invitation to awaken the wellspring of life force within you, the potent energy that enlivens every aspect of existence.


Drawing upon two decades of yogic exploration and the wisdom of Yoni Shakti by Uma Dinsmore Tuli, I've woven together a tapestry of breathwork techniques and intention, all with subtle chakra energy undertones. Regardless of gender, prepare to reconnect with Prana Shakti and experience its invigorating presence course through your being.

 

Q+A: If i Don't Have a Womb, Can I Still Practice Womb Yoga?


Before I begin, I'd like to say a bit about who can "practice Womb Yoga" in relation to male and female energy, or women with or without wombs.


Notes on What Womb Yoga is and Who Can Practice it:


Womb Yoga is a practice that honors and awakens the feminine energy within. Not to say that other forms of yoga don't take into consideration feminine energy. Many do. But this particular type of yoga moves beyond physical postures; delving into the energetic realm, cultivating a deep connection with the creative and nurturing power held within the womb space.


However, as you'll discover in the "Beyond the Foundation: A Gratitude-Filled Guided Prana Shakti Journey" (20 min) pranayama practice I include at the bottom of this blog post, pranayama techniques do not have to be gendered. In other words, the Prana Shakti energy you are inviting into your body can be genderless, if that's your cup of tea.


On Women Who May Not Have a Physical Womb:


Art by Gilbert James from a 1900 English edition of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyām.
Art by Gilbert James from a 1900 English edition of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyām.

Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, the founder of Womb Yoga, specifically addresses the concerns of women who may not have a physical womb and emphasises that Womb Yoga is still highly beneficial for them. Here are some key points about Uma's perspective:


  • Womb Space as a Symbol: Womb Yoga focuses on the womb space not just as a physical organ but as a symbolic center of feminine energy. This energy is associated with creativity, nurturing, intuition, and the cyclical nature of life.

"Womb Yoga is a practice for all women, regardless of their physical anatomy. It's about connecting with the symbolic womb space, a center of your feminine energy."
  • Womb Yoga is Open to All Women: Uma acknowledges that some women may have had a hysterectomy or may not identify with having a womb. Uma recognises that even women without a physical womb may still experience hormonal fluctuations. Womb Yoga can help such women navigate hormonal fluctuations and find balance within their cycles. In short, all women can still connect with their feminine energy through Womb Yoga practices.

"Even after a hysterectomy, the body still carries the memory of the womb space. Womb Yoga practices can help you reconnect with that energy."
  • Benefits Regardless of Anatomy: The core practices of Womb Yoga focus on breathwork, postures, and meditation. These practices don't rely on having a physical womb and can be equally effective in cultivating feminine energy for all women.

"Don't let the absence of a physical womb limit your experience. Womb Yoga offers powerful tools for any woman to cultivate her feminine essence."

By focusing on the energetic and symbolic nature of the womb space, Womb Yoga becomes inclusive for women who may not have a physical womb but still seek to connect with their feminine energy and find balance in their lives.


 

On the Benefits for Men Who Choose to Practice Womb Yoga


A AI generated image of a man sitting in meditation with prayer mudra and lotus flowers around him.

While Womb Yoga is specifically designed to connect with and cultivate feminine energy, there are still benefits for men who choose to practice it. Here's a breakdown of why men might explore Womb Yoga:


  • Overall Balance and Well-being: Many yoga practices, including Womb Yoga, promote stress reduction, improved breathwork, and increased body awareness. These benefits can be valuable for anyone, regardless of gender.

  • Connection with Inner Energy: While Womb Yoga focuses on feminine energy, all people have a spectrum of energies within them. Men might explore Womb Yoga to gain a deeper understanding of their own energetic landscape , even if it doesn't directly target masculine energy.

  • Supportive Partner Practice: If a man's partner practices Womb Yoga, he might join her in some practices modified for men. This can create a supportive and bonding experience for the couple.


I hope this answers any questions you might have about whether Womb Yoga and its practices are for you. I do encourage you to keep reading and to always be curious. You'll never know if a particular yoga lineage or practice is for you if you don't give it a shot, do a practice, or research it a bit.


Now, let's move on to the research I've done for us and the pranayama practices I've selected to share with you.


 

Womb Yoga and the Circle of Flowing Breath: Cultivating Awareness of Prana Shakti


From “We Are Starlings.”Credit...Marc Martin
From “We Are Starlings” by Marc Martin

As mentioned, Womb Yoga is a holistic practice that transcends physical postures and delves into the realm of feminine energy. It honors and awakens the creative and nurturing power that resides within the womb space, a sacred center within every woman, even those without a physical womb. Through breathwork, postures, and meditation, Womb Yoga cultivates a deep connection with this vital energy source.


The Circle of Flowing Breath: Foundation of Prana Shakti Awareness

This simple yet potent technique serves as the foundation for all Womb Yoga practices. It cultivates awareness of the natural breath cycle, the very dance of Prana Shakti within us.


The circle, a universal symbol of wholeness and interconnectedness, perfectly embodies the essence of this practice. Just as the breath flows in and out in a continuous cycle, The Circle of Flowing Breath encourages us to connect with the cyclical nature of our own feminine energy.


An image of the chakra energy centers, upon a person sitting in meditation.
Chakras: organizational centers for the reception, assimilation, and transmission of life-force energy.

Benefits:

Practicing the Circle of Flowing Breath offers a multitude of benefits. By bringing awareness to the breath, we cultivate:


  • Increased Awareness of Prana Shakti: As we become more mindful of our breath, we become more sensitive to the flow of Prana Shakti within us. This heightened awareness allows us to better tap into this vital life force and utilize its power for healing and transformation.

  • Improved Energy Levels: When we breathe unconsciously, we often take shallow breaths, depriving our bodies of the oxygen they need. The Circle of Flowing Breath encourages deeper, more conscious breathing, which can lead to increased energy levels and a sense of vitality.

  • Deeper Connection with Feminine Energy: The womb space is a powerful center of feminine energy. By focusing our awareness on the breath in this area, we can cultivate a deeper connection with this creative and nurturing force within us.

 

As a Yoga Teacher, Doula, Reiki Therapist, Ayurveda Practitioner, and Yoga Therapist, I've witnessed the profound impact of pranayama practices on women's lives.


For myself, pranayama has become an invaluable tool for navigating the joys and challenges of motherhood. Through conscious breathing techniques, I've learned to process emotions with greater clarity, find moments of grounding amidst daily chaos, and connect more deeply with my child and loved ones.


The Circle of Flowing Breath, a cornerstone of Womb Yoga, offers a powerful foundation for cultivating this mindful awareness. So let's dive into it!

 

 

A Guided Exploration of The Circle of Flowing Breath: Guided Practice


Circle of Flowing Breath.m4a
.zip
Download ZIP • 21.12MB


 

Embrace the Sanctuary of the Present Moment


A person sitting in meditation


"The present moment is the only moment you have. Live it." - Eckhart Tolle.

Eckhart Tolle reminds us, "The present moment is the only moment you have. Live it." The Circle of Flowing Breath practice embodies this truth. Each inhalation anchors you in the here and now, while each exhalation releases worries and anxieties that might pull you away.


The Circle of Flowing Breath is a powerful gateway to the world of Womb Yoga, a path to reconnecting with your inherent wisdom and power. As you delve deeper into this practice, you may discover a yearning to explore other Womb Yoga pranayama techniques, each one a treasure waiting to be unearthed.


Embrace the journey. Breathe. Be.


 

Additional Offerings: 


An instagram post from @ashleycruzyoga about prana
Instagram = @ashleycruzyoga

To further your journey of conscious breathing and awakened feminine energy, I've created a bundled package that includes the downloadable recording of the Circle of Flowing Breath along with two additional Womb Yoga pranayama practices:


  • The Full Yogic Breath: This practice engages the entire lung capacity, promoting a sense of wholeness and revitalization. By incorporating all lung lobes, it creates more space within the body for Prana Shakti to flow. This deeper breathing leads to increased energy and a deeper connection between breath and consciousness.

 

  • Victory and Surrender: The Ocean-Golden Thread Combination: Experience the rhythmic dance of power and surrender with this dynamic breath practice. Inhale with a sense of victorious focus, then surrender to a slow, complete exhale. This practice, like the ocean's rhythm, alternates between invigorating waves and calming tides. As you lengthen your breath, your mind finds space to rest and connect with Prana Shakti. This practice fosters a sense of inner peace and a deeper connection to pure consciousness.


This bundled package is available for purchase on my website for £8.



 

I'd also like to share:


"Beyond the Foundation: A Gratitude-Filled Guided Prana Shakti Journey":


This recording isn't just another practice; it's an invitation to awaken the wellspring of life force within you, the potent energy that enlivens every aspect of existence.


Drawing upon two decades of yogic exploration and the wisdom of Yoni Shakti by Uma Dinsmore Tuli, I've woven together breathwork techniques and intention, all with subtle Chakra energy undertones. Prepare to reconnect with Prana Shakti and experience its invigorating presence course through your being.


Universal Prana, Accessible to All

Imagine drawing Prana, the vital life force, from the very core of the earth, the Muladhara chakra. Feel it rise as a brilliant white light, nourishing your spine and awakening your Ajna chakra upon its ascent. With each exhale, release gratitude for this gift of life force that sustains you and empowers you.


A Multidimensional Experience

This practice incorporates elements of Kriya Tantra Yoga, Kundalini Tantra Yoga, and Chakra energy work, offering a multifaceted exploration of your energetic potential. These traditions act as tributaries, enriching the flow of Prana Shakti within you, regardless of gender.


A Gift of Transformation

This 20-minute recording is a gift – a gift of self-discovery, a gift of awakened vitality, and a gift of reconnecting with the source of life that resides within you.


Embrace the Power Within, Unfold Your Potential

Allow yourself to be surprised by the profound transformation this practice can ignite. With each breath, with each rise and fall of your chest, witness the arrival of your inner peace. This is more than a practice; it's a journey to awaken the power of Prana Shakti that resides within each and every one of us.


Thank you for tuning in and being here with me. Sending you love and many blessings.

~ Ashley

 

 

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