Practicing Pranayama, with Tim Miller
In this episode of Talking Yoga, host Beryl Bender Birch delves into the practice of pranayama with master yoga teacher Tim Miller, who learned directly from Sri K. Pattabhi Jois more than thirty years ago. Tim was the first American ever certified to teach by Guruji at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India.
When Michelle from Massachusetts asks Tim which limb of the eight-limbed path of yoga is his “favorite,” he tells Beryl a story that happened many years ago in India, when he visited a Vedic astrologer. You’ll hear how Vedic astrology is different than its western counterpart; how Tim went from thinking of himself as a sensitive, emotional Pisces to a cool, detached Aquarius; and why he prefers pranayama to asana.
Tim explains that, “Unlike asana practice where you reach a physical peak at some point and then you begin the long, slow decline, pranayama is something that seems to just keep getting better over age.”
Next, another member of the Talking Yoga community, Natalie from South Dakota, asks Tim about the best point in your personal yoga practice to begin the study and practice of pranayama. Tim brings his own interpretation to Patanjali’s statement in his Yoga Sutras that one should have a ‘reasonable mastery” of asana before practicing pranayama. He points out how quickly he moved on to pranayama (after 8 months!), and how, in his experience, even people with an amazing ability to do asana may struggle with pranayama, and vice versa.