In this week’s episode of The Wellness Podcast, we explore the ancient practice of pranayama. Pranayama translates to breath-work. This practice is simple, but potent as we can address underlying anxiety and sympathetic nervous responses. All it takes is 5 mins to help settle the mind, dampen down those adrenal responses, and help ground you. 

Definition Of Pranayama

Pranayama is an ancient breath work exercise.  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 is 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.

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~BKS Iyengar

The Benefits Of Pranayama

A regular and sustained practice can supercharge your whole body!

On a physical level these techniques we can utilize 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 overstimulation our bodies go through during the fight, flight, or freeze response.

Our breathing patterns are also very intricately 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 energize 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.  Here are some YouTube clips to support you, and there is more information when you click on the links below. 

Vishau Mudra


Alternate Nasal Breathing


‘the cooling breath’



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

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