Definition of Pranayama
Prana means life force or breath sustaining the body; Ayama translates as “to extend or draw out.” Together, the two mean breath extension or control.
Pranayama is an integral part of the yogic tradition, but not always an easy one to grasp onto, writes Tony Briggs. Briggs says he initially resisted the practice, going so far as to skipping pranayama-centered classes. He later came around to its benefits.
“Pranayama is meant to nurture a high level of bodily health and mental clarity, both of which are crucial steps on the path to self-knowledge and a wholesome, authentic life,” Briggs writes. To kick off an Iyengar-style practice, he recommends using a blanket folded into a bolster to and laying in Savasana (Corpse Pose).
Prescriptions for Pranayama
As you can tell, the range of pranayama techniques is wide, and varies according to the discipline in which it is taught. Six of those traditions include Integral (connecting movement with meditation), Kripalu (cultivating sensitivity and awareness), Ashtanga (unifying action, breath, and attention), Iyengar (developing precision, power, and subtlety), Viniyoga (creating a personalized practice), and Kundalini (combining mudra, mantra, and breath).
Benefits of Pranayama
1. Decreases stress
2. Improves sleep quality
3. Increases mindfulness
4. Reduces high blood pressure
5. Improves lung function
6. Enhances cognitive performance
7. Reduces cigarette cravings
Pranayama, or breath control, is a main component of yoga. It’s frequently practiced with yoga postures and meditation.
The goal of pranayama is to strengthen the connection between your body and mind.
According to research, pranayama can promote relaxation and mindfulness. It’s also proven to support multiple aspects of physical health, including lung function, blood pressure, and brain function.
If you haven’t practiced pranayama before, you may want to join a yoga class or find a teacher who can teach the proper technique for these breathing exercises.
Leave a Reply