PRANAYAMA THE POWER OF YOUR OWN BREATH
WHAT IS PRANAYAMA?
Pranayama involves one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposition—it is your very own breath.
In Sanskrit prana means “life force” and yama means to “have control over.” Essentially, pranayama is learning how to master your own breath and use it to give you power and energy within the mind, body and spirit.
Prana is also known in other traditions as chi, or shakti life force energy. In Hinduism, they see prana as a universal energy which flows in and throughout the entire body as currents. It is the link between the physical and the energetic or astral body.
Pranayama consists of different breathing practices and exercises that help to balance and regulate the physical body and mind. You can use pranayama at the same time you are doing a yoga posture or in meditation.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PRANAYAMA?
Different pranayama techniques bring oxygen to your blood and get rid of toxins. Some of the benefits of pranayama include stress reduction and higher quality sleep. It also reduces high blood pressure, increases mindfulness, decreases insomnia and improves the function of your lungs. It can lead you into deep meditation and spiritual awakening.
All of these breaths are beneficial in clearing an illness or disease in the body. Pranayama can help with indigestion, chronic cold, liver problems, coughing and more.
If you practice long-term, many yogis believe that pranayama can awaken the kundalini (shakti life-force) and increase psychic powers. These are just some of the magic benefits of doing pranayama regularly!
By starting your day with pranayama and practicing often, not only will you feel more focused and full of clarity, but you will also feel confident and powerful as your breath fills your body with life-force energy.
HOW CAN I PRACTICE PRANAYAMA?
There are many types of pranayama techniques which include:
- Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing)
- Ujjayi Pranayama (oceanic breath)
- Bhramari Pranayama (honeybee humming breath)
- Bastrika Pranayama (bellows breath)
- Kapalbhati Pranayama (skull-shining breath) or “Breath of Fire” often used in Kundalini yoga
For example, Ujjayi Pranayama is one of the most common breath techniques practiced in a yoga class. Start in meditation posture. Close your mouth and constrict the back of your throat. Start inhaling slowly and rhythmically in one breath, and exhale as slow as possible in and out through the nose. As you breathe, you will know you are doing it right if you hear a sort of “ocean wave-like sound.”
Ujjayi breathing will clear phlegm in the back of the throat and improve the quality and sound of your voice.
There are different breathing techniques for different purposes. If you would like to learn more, it is highly recommended that you take our 50-hour Pranayama Teacher Training online to expand your knowledge.
In this pranayama online course you will learn about the pranic body, the 5 types of prana, the health benefits, different types of yogic breathing and how to teach pranayama.
It is a wonderful opportunity to learn how to control your life-force energy and eventually share with others too.
After all, our breath is one of the most powerful tools we have to connect us to the Divine, and to improve our physical and spiritual wellness.