Pranayama is an ancient Indian technique of breath control. It is used in Hatha yoga practice.
Why Practice Pranayama?
Practitioners and teachers of pranayama say that its breathing exercises can cleanse the respiratory system and bloodstream and help produce a clear mind and thought processes, getting you closer to spiritual wholeness. As part of general yoga practice, pranayama can be helpful in learning to meditate.
Studies are showing that pranayama practices and yoga, in general, has many health benefits including decreased hypertension, increased respiratory health, stress relief, anxiety control, and improved mood (Sengupta, 2012).
Pranayama teaches you to change and control your breathing in every way: depth, rate, and pattern. Doing so requires focus, which lends itself to a clearer mind and reduced stress.
How to Get Started with Pranayama
To begin to experience some of the benefits of controlled breathing, you can try some exercises at home: “Breathing Techniques for Relaxation.” If you are happy with the results you get from those techniques, you may wish to seek out a beginner’s hatha yoga class. This will allow you to learn pranayama principles in conjunction with yoga, which enhances the benefits.
It’s also important to work with a qualified teacher when you are learning yoga to ensure that you are performing various moves properly, for maximum benefit and minimum risk of injury.
- Sengupta, P. (2012, July). Health Impacts of Yoga and Pranayama: A State-of-the-Art Review. Retrieved from ncbi.