Pranayama – The Art of Breathing Back to Health & Wellbeing By: Sangita Balsara

Pranayama – The Art of Breathing Back to Health & Wellbeing!

The gentle rhythm of our breathing is our constant companion from the day we are born until the day we die. By learning to first observe and then to control our breathing, we can influence our emotional state, our ability to concentrate and the way energy moves in our bodies. Pranayama (Prana: Life force, Ayama: To lengthen) bridges the gap between our mind and our body, keeps us grounded in the present moment and brings an immense sense of calmness in our nervous system.

Pranayama Basics:

Pranayama is divided into three phases: inhalation, breath retention and exhalation. The inhalation is a nourishing breath that brings energy, warmth, strength and vitality to the mind and body. Retaining, or holding the breath creates a clear pathway around our body that allows prana to move freely in all areas, filling us with energy. The exhalation is cleansing, cooling, restorative, calming and balancing. A single, complete breath, taken fully, is both nourishing and energizing.

Practice Pranayama Now!

Lie in corpse pose or sit cross legged, or on a chair. Make sure that your spine is straight. Close your eyes and, if you like, place your hands on your chest and upper abdomen to help feel the movement of your breath. Listen to the flow of air into and out of your body. Visualize its path through your nostrils, down your throat, into your lungs, and from your lungs into your blood. As you breathe out, visualize this pathway in reverse. Notice how your in-breath feels cool at the upper part of your nostrils, and how your out-breath feels warm at the lower edge.

What is the texture of your breathing? Is it rough or smooth, fast or slow, even or uneven? Don’t worry if your breathing is rough, fast or uneven – the act of observation is the important thing and controlling the quality of your breath will come next. If your attention wanders, gently bring your focus back to the moment of each breath.

Observe your breath in this way for as long as you feel comfortable, then gradually allow your breathing to become smooth, slow and even. Your out-breath becomes the same length as your in-breath with brief, consistent pauses in between. It may help to count how long each in- and out-breath takes. Try to breathe steadily in this way for a few minutes. Extend the time you spend on this exercise until it becomes easy.

Observe…how do you feel physically?

Be aware…how do you feel energetically?

Witness…how do you feel mentally & emotionally?