Updated: May 31
Prana is energy, energy of life. Ayama is the expansion of. Pranayama is the conscious prolongation of inhalation, retention and exhalation through breath control.
Pranayama brings steadiness, stability and comfort to the mind, body and soul. The same steady, stable and comfort ideals my last blog covered in regards to yoga sutra 2.46!
Many confuse prana with the breath itself, however many of us go through life breathing automatically but are still lacking true prana. Lacking lifeforce within our bodies, mind and breath. The majority not breathing into the full body but stopping at the upper chest, especially when we are met with anxiety or stress. Which in this world and the use of technology is quite often all the time. Even during the times we do breathe into the lower belly, our upper abdomen and mid-body fail to extend with the breath.
Pranayama breathing requires bringing breath into the full body – not just the torso front and chest, but also the sides and the back along with the full belly, ribs and chest.
Pranayama requires us to focus on how we breathe. Bringing the mind to actively deepen inhales, lengthen
exhales and holds instead of letting the quick chest breathing to take place without thought. The point of the pranayama practice is to increase our prana and give a vibrant life force to our health.
There are many types of pranayama breathing techniques, some designed to energize the nervous system while others calm the mind and body. Regularly practising pranayama breathing allows us to access a host of health benefits.
Research has shown that regular practice of pranayama techniques can:
Decrease stress/anxiety levels
Strengthen respiratory systems
Balance heart rates and blood pressure
Stimulate lymph flow and immunity
Facilitate the digestive system
Improve the blood circulatory system
Written by Brooke Halperin
Check out Brooke's classes at Good Juju Lombard! Join her every Tuesday at 4:30pm for Hatha.
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