I had no idea pranayama was a thing until I join Tirisula Yoga Teacher Training Course. Yes, I did it before when I was attending yoga class but none of the instructor mention this breathing activity is called pranayama, and it can actually bring some positive impact to our body.
‘Pranayama’ is a Sanskrit word that loosely translates to ‘control of breath’. ‘Prana’ means breath or life force and ‘ayama’ means to control. So, you can think of it as a set of practices to control the ‘prana’ within your body through breathing techniques. Pranayama and having control over breathing brings many physical & mental benefits. Controlled breathing by pranayama techniques lets you hold the horses of your mind, you keep calm, become able to think wisely, and make the correct decisions. It eventually makes you stress-free and happy.
Benefit of Pranayama
- · Helps in weight loss
- · Good for skin health
- · Improve digestion
- · Take care of the lung
- · .
- · Improves cardiovascular health
- · Boost Immunity
- · Helps in detoxification
- · Improves concentration
- · Helps to treat sleep disorder
- · Act as a stress reliever
- · Effective for brain disorders
- · Makes mind well oriented
- · Help in chronic diseases
- · Prevent dementia
I would like to share with you the technique for one of my favourite pranayama -Kapalabhati. As part of my morning routine, it helps me to wake my entire body and my brain up, it only takes about 5 to 10 minutes to practice. Kapalabhati (as with most pranayama ) should be practiced on an empty stomach, so allow at least three to four hours after a meal before engaging this pranayama.
Start in any comfortable, cross-legged, seated position to get mind ready, you can choose to open or close your eye. Place your hands on the knees with palms open to the sky, or in mudra position. Both inhalation and exhalation are done through the nose, keep your mouth close. Kapalabhati consists of alternating short, explosive exhales and slightly longer, passive inhales. Exhales are generated by powerful contractions of the lower belly, which push air out of the lungs. Inhales are responses to the release of this contraction, which sucks air back into the lungs.
Focus on your lower belly. Many people aren’t able to isolate and contract this area. If needed, cup one hand lightly in the other and press them gently against your lower belly. Now quickly contract your lower belly, pushing a burst of air out of your lungs. Then quickly release the contraction so the belly “rebounds” to suck air into your lungs. Pace yourself slowly at first. Repeat 10 times at about one exhale-inhale cycle every second or two. As you become more adept of the breath, you can increase your pace.
Kapalabhati should not be practiced by pregnant or menstruating women. It is also contraindicated for individuals with high or low blood pressure, heart disease, hernia, gastric ulcer, epilepsy, vertigo, migraine headaches, significant nosebleeds, detached retina, glaucoma, history of stroke, and for anyone who has undergone recent abdominal surgery.