Pranayama

Pranayama is the expansion of our vital energy, prana and practice of controlling our breath. It helps to avoid confusion of our identity and role in life. As pranayama changes our pattern of breathing, it will also change our pattern of thinking.

This is a new term and new knowledge introduced to me in my yoga journey this year. I’ve practiced various pranayama such as Kapalbhati, Anuloma Viloma, Ujjayi breathing and Nadi Shodhana.

I often practise pranayama in the morning to energise myself and prepare myself for the day. Sometimes when I need to bring some calmness to myself for a good night’s sleep, I will also practise pranayama at night.

When I practise pranayama, I focus on relaxing my mind and body first. Since I am new to the practice, I will also focus on my inhalations to feel the movement of air (energy) into my body. After which, I will move on to focus on my exhalation and feel how the breath is controlled as the air leaves my body. Of course, as we move further and deeper into pranayama, we should let this thought disappear, whether we are inhaling or exhaling and whatever the duration is.

Pranayama varies from different techniques, duration, ratio of exhalation to inhalation, counts to different types. For myself, my pranayama practice began merely a month ago and I am enjoying every moment of my practice of around 15 minutes each time.

As there are different types of pranayama, I will focus on Anuloma Viloma in this post, which is “alternate nostril breathing” in English. I often immersed myself in the practice of Anuloma Viloma and I feel refreshed and energized after practising it in the morning; and the calm after practising it at night before sleeping. It will also help to balance my left and right brains, which can alter the way I think and broaden my perspective (I’m a left-brain dominant).

I practise Anuloma Viloma after waking up in the morning with the inhalation starting from the right nostril, my left hand in chin mudra (to get rid of still air in my body) and my right hand in Vishnu mudra. I begin inhaling from my right nostril in the morning to heat up my body and to provide energy to my body. This helps to wake up my body and prepares my body to face the long day. It provides an entire purification of body as well as my mind.Every time after I’ve practised it in the morning, I feel ready and positive to welcome the day and the challenges ahead.

Before going to bed at night, I practise Anuloma Viloma beginning my inhalation from the left nostril. This gives a cooling sensation to my body and induces a good night’s sleep so that I can wake up feeling fresh the next day. Cooling my body down for a good and deep sleep is extremely important for Singapore’s tropical climate, especially for me who hates the air-conditioner (it makes my skin so dull and dry)! The cooling sensation also calms my mind and reduces tension, which is also essential for quality sleep. I also noticed the cooling effect to my body and good sleep always give me glowing skin the next morning.

Sharing a quote before I end this post-

“Inhale love, exhale hate. Inhale confidence, exhale doubt.”

In pranayama, or even in normal breathing, let us all try to keep this quote in mind.

Namaste.

With lots of love,

Stella