Breathwork and Pranayama involve the practice of various breathing techniques to balance, harmonize, strengthen, and cleanse our mind, body and nervous system. It is through this conscious control of breathing that a person’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual state improve. Our breathing influences every part of our being, each and every one of our cells.
More and more research is being done on the power of breathing practices.
In a 2017 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, they found that participants who completed 20 breathwork training sessions over eight weeks had significantly lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) than those who did not receive the training.
Not only does breathwork provide a quick relief for stress, but it also boosts our energy, improves our focus and performance, reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, aids in digestion, balances our nervous system and helps us get a better night’s sleep.
Although breathwork is considered a new age term, breathing practices are hardly new at all. At its origin stands an ancient yoga breathwork practice from India called Pranayama. The practice is 7000 years old as it is first mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishad and the Rig Veda .
‘Prana’ means breath and is considered as a life-giving force. It is the universal energy that flows in and around the body. Without it, we wouldn’t be here.
‘Ayama’ means expansion or extension.
So in literal terms, pranayama means to extend one’s life force. Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of yoga and works to purify our energetic system and calm the mind. Its purpose is to improve the body’s capacity to increase prana and retain it in the body, which helps us reach deeper states of meditation to understand our true nature.
BUT WAIT… Not all breathing techniques are pranayama techniques. Some modern breathing techniques (deep/hyperventilation) are about unblocking the emotional system and releasing and cleansing the body and mind. These work on a gross level of our being. Whereas Pranayama is more profound and is about the subtle layers of our being.
Start your journey with Breathwork and Pranayama and try free classes on the PranaFlo YouTube channel!
Sending you peace, love and wisdom!