Set Yourself Free!: Prana Invites Yoga Students to Bring Their Practice to a Deeper Level


Simply noticing sensation within the body is one of the eight limbs of yoga - Pratyahara. Many yoga students may have experienced this in savasana , the corpse pose, as they practice the “art of dying”…moving deeply into body and breath awareness, while staying relatively alert. You may notice sensations such as heat, pulsing, “energy “ moving. One may also suddenly have the urge to laugh or cry uncontrollably. This is when the yoga is really doing what it was designed to do…to heal.

Allowing the yoga to integrate and move deeply into your body, provides a healing experience. If we are too concerned with “performing” the perfect pose or moving onto the next one your body holds a level of tension and you are not experiencing the deepest healing possible. Yes, you will always receive some benefits from your practice. The yoga finds it’s way in. When you drop completely into the moment, for even just a split second of a moment, the yoga begins to heal the body. However, if you have not had a complete yoga experience, you may leave a yoga class feeling irritable, emotional or VERY high. These are all common responses to yoga that has not been grounded in the body.

The practice of pratyahara allows the yoga student to fully integrate the yoga during and after each posture. In my experience, this can only happen by bringing your awareness and full attention into a posture. Hold a posture at your edge, the place where you feel sensation that can be released with breath, but not continuous pain that may lead to injury. While in a yoga pose, send all your breath and awareness to the parts of your body that are experiencing tension in the stretch and allow your breath and full attention to release that tension. This can require holding a posture for 8 - 10 breaths…maybe longer. When physical or emotional tension rises while holding a pose, breath into that tension, notice it, send love to it, so it feels safe to release, no matter what may arise.

I suggest taking at least three breaths with your fullest attention to the tension and then, if needed, gently release from the posture. If the tension turns into real pain. This is a warning sign that your body is sending you to take care and gently move out of the posture and into a posture that is comfortable and can allow stillness. Many find child’s pose or savasana to be good resting poses. Bring your awareness and attention completely into your body and breath during stillness is just as important as doing so during the posture. Moving into a resting pose will allow the yoga to fully integrate. Pausing for several breaths after each pose and noticing is the practice of pratyahara.

Feeling safe to have an energetic or emotional release. Do you feel safe to cry, growl or laugh freely in the studio where you study? This is very important in order to experience the full benefits of the yoga you are doing. Clearing energetic or emotional blocks or tensions in the body leads to healing chronic pain, illness, stress, depression and more. If you do not feel safe to have a full experience while practicing yoga, for whatever reason, you may consider finding a safer place to do your healing. Find a studio that encourages vocal releases OR you can have these experiences in a private Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy session.

Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy (PRYT) is a way to passively receive yoga body work (very supported stretches) in a private setting. PRYT therapists are trained to guide their client through a series of postures that are physically appropriate and that fit the clients intention for their session. Verbalization, sounds, tears and laughter are welcome. PRYT therapists are trained to hold the space for anything that arises from the experience you have within your body.

The role of the therapist is to create a safe space for emotional and physical release and reflect back to the client what they hear. This technique is modeled after Rogerian client centered therapy. The PRYT therapist has no agenda and simply guides the client to create their intention at the beginning of the session, and at the end helps the client integrate what has surfaced. This integration step allows the client to feel complete with their healing process in the moment.

Healing is a step by step process and PRYT moves the client one step at a time, as the body, mind and spirit are ready to go deeper and release. PRYT benefits include, trauma release, deep relaxation and personal transformation. Clients often leave a session feeling lighter and further along on their healing journey to optimal health. One of Prana’s clients shared that after just two sessions, “I feel like a new person. I have connected to a new part of myself.”

Prana shares yoga and yoga therapy at Shelburne Falls Yoga and throughout the greater Northampton/Greenfield, MA area. For more information visit her website at 

E-mail:  Brigid Regina Barrett