Updated: Oct 23, 2020
PRANA - "vital energy" or "life force"
AYAMA - "Expansion".
The first thing I want to point out before we go on...Pranayama - is NOT a side thought. It's an integral part of the practice and whether you are practicing the 8 limbs of Astanga or the 7 most important principles of Hatha, Pranayama is a MUST.
Pranayama is a means to influence the flow of Prana in the Nadi's. (Nadis are energy channels around the body) Click here to find out more about Nadi's. When harnessed correctly, it is said the practitioner will be able to transcend their own boundaries to attain higher awareness.
Click here to find the 8 limbs of Ashtanga or here for the 7 Principles of Hatha.
So how do you practice 'Pranayama'?
Pranayama is practiced with breath control.
Often people don't give breath much of a thought. Possibly because doesn't look impressive on instagram? Possibly because we breathe automatically and so we don't value it, (much like many things) unless we lose control or access to it. But if you really think about the discipline of breath and how important breathing is to us in everyday life as well as sporting, you begin to realise that life cannot be sustained without breath,
When you begin to learn how to control, slow down and harness the energy breathing gives you, you begin to reveal power in your ability to slow down the body's response to pump Adrenaline, give the body stability for postures, the room to deepen twists and bends the energy to lift and higher and strengthen.
There are 5 aspects of pranayama.
1 - Pooraka - Inhalation
2-Rechaka - Exhalation
3-Anatar Kumbhaka - Internal breath retention
4-Bahir Kumbhaka - External breath retention
5 - Kevala Kumbhaka - Spontaneous breath Retention - this one is an advanced stage of practitioners.
If you want to try some breathing techniques yourself, find my my video here.
Now go and breathe!!