Kapalabhati Workshop

This Friday March 5 at 8:00am PT, instead of the usual Pranayama session we will have a 30 minute mini-workshop on Kapalabhati.

It’s a free workshop and no need for any prior experience. Sign up here or just join the normal pranayama class on

As per AshtangaYogaGirl, it is the ‘most important kriya for yogis’:

Kapalabhati involves forcefully expelling the breath out through the nostrils using the lower transverse abdominus muscle. The exhalation is active and the inhalation is passive. This creates a very slight CO2 debt in your body, so that when you move on to practise a slower-breathing pranayama exercise (like alternate nostril breathing), your breath is longer, deeper and it’s easier to enter a calm and meditative state.

Friday Discussion: To Choose or Not to Choose

The Yoga Sūtra begins by juxtaposing two, mutually incompatible approaches to information. On the one hand we can simply accept our experiences as a fact about us and the world. In this case, we do not see ourselves as choosing our experiences. They rather happen to us. On the other hand, we treat experience as something that has to be altered and influenced by our choices.

What Patañjali describes here is a choice: on the one hand, we can treat our experiences as something we have no choice over, or, we treat it as something that we have to influence. This former choice is paradoxically the choice to not choose. But for any experience, we are always faced with two choices: either we treat the experience as an autobiographical fact, or we see it as our responsibility to influence our experiences to make room for ourselves as people.

Some folks, often due to trauma, think we have no choice: bad things just happen and then we have to live with the consequence. But this ignores an alternative: we can treat the good, bad and ugly as something we have to influence to make room for ourselves in our life. As what we have before us is a choice (to choose or not to choose), to pretend we don’t have a choice is disingenuous. Our freedom is not our ability: our freedom is our responsibility.

Shyam Ranganathan

Friday Discussion: śraddhā

According to Yoga Sūtra I.20, the practice of yoga involves śraddhā: faith, trust, optimism. This trust or faith is never about how things are. It is always about how things can be. In these difficult times we need to call upon this to keep at the practice of being ourselves: yoga. This is possible against all evidence as the trust we have is not in the outcomes, the way things are in the world, or even in our own capacities, but in the practice. Things will only get better when we improve ourselves. And having this insight is also śraddhā. This goes to the heart of Yoga as a basic ethical theory, according to which: the right thing to do is defined by devotion to the procedural ideal (Īśvara/Sovereignty) and the good is just the perfection of the practice. So if you feel down or tired, you can take comfort in this: as bad things are, better is possible. Understanding this is śraddhā.

Shyam Ranganathan

Inside the Asana (online)

Deepen your practice with an intelligent grasp of the underlying anatomy.  Your benefits will be better function, better health, and a smart approach to repairing injury. 

Saturday’s mornings at 8:30 am (San Francisco):

Jan 6th: Surynamaskara: Spinal Challenge
Jan 13th: Chaturangha: Freeing the Neck
Jan 20th: Trikonasana: Beginning at the Arches
Jan 27th: Paschimottanasana: Lower Back Relief

Contact Mitchell ( to register

Self-practice this Wednesday

I am taking a few days off this week so this coming Wednesday, February 3rd I won’t be observing your practice. The self-practice is still on though. Thoa kindly agreed to run the Zoom session for me. I will still see you on Monday and Tuesday. And the following week we are back to the regular schedule. Stay healthy and keep practicing. See you soon.