PRANAYAMA INTENSIVE with Petra Bianco

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simply understanding that our first and the last action in this world is inhalation and exhalation clearly shows that there is no life without breath, at least not as we know it. This simple fact clearly shows how the breath, this hidden primordial movement, is intimately connected with all segments of our physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

 

 

Yet, there are very few moments during the day when we breathe consciously, when we pause for a moment and observe our breath. There are even fewer moments when we train the breath or use the knowledge of the breath to change respiratory rate and improve the current psycho-physical condition.

 

In ancient traditions, breathing has always been known for holding an important key that opens the door to more subtle levels of existence. Today, science is increasingly entering the same door, and the yogic tradition is making an outstanding contribution to a new view on the notion of health and the general nature of human existence.

 

 

Pranayama Intensive is designed to introduce practitioners and yoga teachers to detailed and structured practice and theory on Pranayama, Kriya, Bandha, and Mudra.

 

It consists of three modules covering a syllabus listed below and twelve online pranayama classes obligatory for those who would like to receive certification. Online classes are scheduled every Tuesday / Thursday 20.00 - 21.00 CET.

 

Module 1. 4/5 December 2021

 

Module 2. 11/12 December 2021

 

Module 3. spring 2022

 

Teachings are rooted in the tradition of the Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute, led by O.P. Tiwari, one of the world's leading authorities in Pranayama and direct disciple of the late Swami Kuvalayananda, founder of Kaivalyadhama, the world's pioneer institute in scientific research in yoga. 

 

 

SYLLABUS

 

  

1. The evolution of pranayama practice from the Vedic times to the present day

This topic deals with the evolution of practice through the various historical periods represented in the ancient yogic scriptures, primarily the Patanjali Yoga Sutra, the Hatha Pradipika, and the Gheranda Samhita. These texts systematically describe the practice of pranayama, and the emphasis will be on understanding the similarities and differences in individual time stages and philosophical systems. This type of presentation serves students to implement the understanding of the traditional practice and get to know sources that thus become a reference point for further research in this direction.

This section will be an essential topic for the first module. 

 

2. Applied anatomy of the respiratory, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems in the context of pranayama

Pranayama breathing is a complex voluntary action that requires conscious manipulation of the breath in which the respiratory organs and respiratory structures expand voluntarily and rhythmically. Breathing itself occurs at the level of the internal organs, just like the heartbeat. Still, unlike the heartbeat, it involves the entire muscle and bone tissue network and cannot be separated from them.

The goal of this practice is to put the autonomic nervous system under control. Therefore, this voluntary act of breathing is associated with the mind and an apparent connection between the activity of the breath and the movement of the mind. Pranayama thus becomes a bridge between physical existence and mental activity. 

In the first two modules, we will mainly explore the respiratory and musculoskeletal systems, while in the third module, the nervous system. 

 

3. Components and mechanisms of pranayama practice

Unlike other breathing techniques, each round of pranayama consists of three stages: puraka, kumbhaka and rechaka. They can be simplified as yogic inhale/hold/exhale but are very different from ordinary breath. They are prolonged and performed with full attention and control at each stage, supported by neuro-muscular locks or bandhas.

Unlike deep breathing, traditional pranayama emphasizes the kumbhaka and rechaka phase, which increases the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood. Such concentration stimulates various psycho-neuro-endocrine mechanisms responsible for the mental and emotional functions of the brain. That's why it is essential to gradually and patiently build up a personal practice, under the guidance of an experienced teacher, to avoid any irregularities in performing this highly delicate yogic discipline.

This topic is essential for all three modules. We will gradually increase our understanding of different mechanisms of pranayama practice.

 

4. Theory and practice of Shatkriyas and other preparatory techniques for pranayama practice

It is crucial for any yoga practitioner who reflects more profound on saving energy and start creating storage of prana in the system, to regularly practice kriyas, meaning take extra care of the drainage of waste material in our body. 

Traditionally speaking, the function of Shatkriyas is to purify the body from impurities so that the practice of pranayama can be effectively performed. From a scientific perspective, they are processes meant to influence functional patterns of various systems in our body to restore inner homeostatic balance. Bodily mechanisms of getting rid of impurities, represented in waste products created during regular operation in physical activities, are those we want to consider more closely in connection with different preparatory practices. 

Other preparatory techniques taught in this course involve specific mudras, bandhas, and dristhis. Together with Shatkriyas, they represent progressive methods essential in preparing the system for practices to come.

We will explore them in all three modules, gradually adding different ones to the preparation part of the practice. 

 

5. Energy anatomy in the context of pranayama practice

Pranayama changes our breathing patterns which have a tremendous vital value for the whole organism. It also opens up the door of perception for all life functions, not only those happening on the bodily level but also those happening on other levels of our existence. We will go a step deeper and try to understand the more detailed functionality of the energy body, how and in which way it behaves during pranayama practice, and what its connection is with the more subtle layers of our existence, specifically our physical and mental body.

We will explore this topic more in the second and third modules.

 

6. Physiological and meditative values of pranayama practice

Suppose we define health as the harmonious functioning of different systems in the body. In that case, we can observe the value of pranayama practice through other mechanisms controlling and regulating life processes and maintaining homeostatic balance. It is a well-known fact that the practice of pranayama has a very beneficial effect on the nervous system, but what are the mechanisms of other systems in the body that support the work of the nervous system? This topic will present a cross-section of their relationship to understand further how this practice contributes to our physiological health.

We can view the meditative values in the context of the traditional function of pranayama practice, which is the preparation for the higher limbs of yoga. Patanjali describes it as a practice purifying our perception and thus preparing one for Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. 

This topic comes in the second and third modules. 

 

7. How to teach the basics of pranayama and integrate those practices with other methods of yoga

What makes yoga so actual and appropriate for modern times practitioners? Position or a role it puts you in, the one of an "observer". Only such a role contributes to becoming aware of all actions taking place on subtle levels of existence. Pranayama performs precisely this task, which makes it an ideal tool for developing stability in the process of observation and becoming one with our objects of perception. If the object of perception is our physical body, we can better "hear" and know how to approach it at any given moment of our life.

With all the complexity of teaching traditional pranayama, requiring years of education and practice, the basic principles of teaching this method are natural, simple, safe, and, most importantly, extremely useful for practitioners. The second and third modules will focus on how to approach this task, whether it is your personal practice or a teaching vocation.

 

 


 

 

WEEKEND SCHEDULE

 

8:30 - 11.00 CET - Morning Practice 

 

13:00 - 16:00 CET - Afternoon Lectures

 

 

Upon completion participants will receive:

 

1. CERTIFICATION for 30-hour Pranayama Intensive educational program of Pink Elephant Yoga Institute registered by European Yoga Federation and recognized by the World Movement for Yoga and Ayurveda. ( 40-hour certification will be received for  finishing all three modules)

 

2. PRANAYAMA MANUAL booklet

 

3. PERSONAL Pranayama practice program structured specifically for your needs

 

 

Pranayama Intensive will be  held in english. It is necessary to attend modules in order. Recordings will be available until the last module isn't finished. Please come to the morning part with an empty stomach. Otherwise, practices can not be effectively performed. Please prepare a cushion, warm clothes or blanket and a notebook to write down details of lectures.

 


 

 

PRICES AND REGISTRATION

 

 

One Module education  

(1 weekend + 4 online classes)  100 euro / 750 kn

 

 

Two Modules education 

(2 weekends + 8 online classes)  150 euro / 1150 kn

 

 

Three Modules Full education  

(3 weekends + 12 online classes)  200 eur / 1500 kn

 

 

* 30% discount for 300-hour and 600-hour students of Pink Elephant Yoga Institute

* if you are currently facing financial challenges feel free to inform us about it and we will do our best to assist you

 

 

 

You can reserve your place by writing at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Payments can be made to the account:

PINK ELEPHANT

IBAN: HR8124020061100748459

SWIFT: ESBCHR22XXX

ERSTE & STEIERMARKISCHE BANK

ROZI SLON d.o.o.

Gunduliceva 63

10000 Zagreb

indication: pranayama intensive + name and surname of the student

 

 


 

 

ABOUT TEACHER 


Petra awakened her love for the practice of Pranayama as a child through her mother Suzana Friganović, who has been teaching breathing techniques since the early 1990s. In search of a teacher who will purposefully provide her with knowledge of this delicate yogic discipline, in 2012, she meets O.P.Tiwari, an old-caliber teacher of Indian yogis and one of the world's leading authorities in Pranayama. Since then, she has been deeply committed to this practice by yearly going to Kaivalyadhama Institute in India, a pioneer Institute in scientific research in Yoga.
There, in 2015, she completed the extensive TTC program for a pranayama teacher and is currently a three-year advanced TTC student under the guidance of O.P. Tiwari and his son Sudhir Tiwari. They give her great support in personal pranayama practice as well as in teaching and supporting others.
In addition to Pranayama, she is a sociologist by profession, dedicated to the Ashtanga system, loves yoga philosophy, and teaches Patanjali Yoga Sutra chanting. Together with her husband Marco, she runs Pink Elephant Yoga House, an eminent yoga school in Zagreb, and is a co-creator and director of PEYI TTC educational programs for yoga teachers in Zagreb and Rijeka.