You know the sharp feeling in your throat when you are crying and you feel as if you can barely breath or when you are so upset that you are hyperventilating? It's the worst!! What if I told you that there was another way? All you had to do was learn the art of breathing. Through my yoga practice and travels to India, I learned about the power and healing of breath.
This week I want to share with you the benefits of Pranayama. In Sanskrit Prana is breath or life force. Yama means control. The book Ayurveda Way of Life describes it as “the understanding that breathing is not only a mechanical phenomenon of taking air in and out. It is our link to the cosmos.” Pranayama practice has helped me think twice about how I react. Instead of throwing a fit when something doesn’t turn out as planned, it allows me to take a moment and reflect and approach the situation with an open and loving attitude.
One can learn to control the breath and therefore the respiratory rhythm. There are many techniques and levels of practice. It is important to learn the fundamental step, which for me was the hardest part. It is learning to coordinate the mind and the breath. When we allow the mind to quite and listen to the rhythm of the breath, we attain a higher state of awareness.
Pranayama Practice # 1
Purpose: Meditate on creating one continues flow of breath.
Find a quite place where you will not be interrupted.
Find a comfortable and steady pose.
Close your eyes if it feels comfortable.
Breathe in and out the nose and listen to your breath.
Follow the journey of your breath in and out the body.
Feel your lungs fill and empty with air.
Notice the raise and fall of your abdomen.
You can practice prolonging the breath with the conscious effort of inhaling and exhaling slowly.
Practice this for about 5-10 minutes each night this week. Write down a word or brief description on how you felt before and after.
Benefits of Pranayama
-Reduces anxiety and depression
- Lowers stress and blood pressure
-Regulates the brain and nervous system
- Helps control physical health along with mental conditions
- Re-energizes and balances the body, mind and spirit.
- Respiration fuels the brain with oxygen and glucose, producing energy to power every muscular contraction, glandular secretion and mental process.
-Focus awareness to breath.
- Calming the mind opens the chakras allowing prana to flow freely, leading into an elevation of consciousness and spiritual awakening
-Enhances a calm rhythm in the brain and respiratory system allowing cardiac muscles to enhance vital capacity, which allows more oxygen to flow through body.
-Releases mental patterns allowing more room for creativity and joy.
- Increases life span