Pranayama, referring to the expansion of energy, is one of the 8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga that focuses on breathing. Although being an innate part of our bodily function, we often forget how to breathe and chances are, we don’t know how to breathe properly. By regulating our breathing with control with different techniques of pranayama, we are able to activate and stimulate the different physical (organs), mental, and spiritual aspects of our body.
The key variables to pranayama are:
1. Technique
2. Counts
3. Duration
4. Ratio
5. Types
Expanding on point 1, techniques, here are some of the key techniques:
1. Anuloma Vinoma (alternate nostril breathing)
– the conscious effort to use different nostrils to inhale and exhale meant conscious stimulation of the right and left brain.
2. Nadi Shoddhana (alternate nostril breathing with holding of breath)
– this harmonises the left and right parts of the brain and prepares the mind for meditative state. When in the state of holding breath, you can channel the attention to the body parts which are in pain and healing will take place. anul
3. Ujayi Breathing (victory over self)
– controls the mind using breath, a key breathing technique while performing asanas.
4. Bhastrika (active inhalation & active exhalation using thorastic breathing)
– this shallow and forceful breathing promotes the active exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, which refreshes the mind quickly and warms the body, activating the solar plexus and Manipura Chakra.
5. Sama Vritti (equal inhalation & equal exhalation)
– this calms the body and mind, often prepares the mind at the beginning of the class
6. Brahmari (bee’s technique of breathing)
– this technique “extracts” the negative spiral of thoughts, and can aid people with depression
With the variable and technique that have different effects on our body, we can recover and restore our body to the capacity it is meant to have. So, remember to breathe!
Hui Lian

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