Breath Work

                                                                                Breath is spirit, and the act of breathing is living.                                                                                          

  ~Author Unknown

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.

What is Pranayama?

Pranayama are breathing exercises which clear the physical and emotional obstacles in our body to free the breath and so the flow of prana - life energy. Through regular and sustained practice of pranayama you can supercharge your whole body!

The way that we move, think, act and especially breathe contributes to the flow and vitality of prana - the universal energy that runs through us and everything around us.

Why is the breath so important?

It’s the first thing and last thing we do in our lives. The one constant thing we all have. Without breath there is no life!

Daily stress, tensions and physical habits can create physical and energetic obstacles in our bodies. Without even noticing it our breathing can become gradually more shallow or stilted, we develop unconscious breathing patterns restricting the flow of breath and prana.

When we work on the freeing the breath through pranayama  we are also working on letting the life energy flow through the body. It has the effect of energizing, relaxing and healing the body.  It allows  everything fall into place. Literally it helps keep your system in balance. 

breath work pranayama

The Benefits of Pranayama

A regular and sustained practice can supercharge your whole body!

Perfect for when your mind is busy  and its hard to do your meditation practice.  It helps quieten the mind and gets you into the right 'head space' for your practice. 

On a physical level these techniques we can utilise and strengthen the whole range of our respiratory organs. We explore the lower, middle and upper parts of the breath and regulate the inhalation, retention and exhalation of the breath.
A regular pranayama practice can stimulate the parasympathetic system, countering the over-stimulation our bodies go through during the fight, flight, or freeze response.

Our breathing patterns are also very closely linked to our emotional states. We will breathe in a different way when we are angry, when we are excited, tired or when we are nervous. However, it works the other way too. We can calm or energise ourselves by changing our breathing patterns.  Even by just taking time out to consciously to become more aware of our breath we can help to start to alter our emotional states.

Where Should I Begin?

Pranayama practices are best learned under the guidance of a qualified instructor.  However, the above three exercises are safe, and easy for you to do at home.   Read through their various benefits and then decide for yourself which ones will serve you best. 

In the yoga tradition, the breath is said to carry a person's life force. Learn how to tap into yours

“When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God.
When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world.”


Resources and Images
Copyright: Catherine Argyros ,The Barefoot Doctor I Wellness I Heart Driven Services 2019

~BKS Iyengar