Pranayama, an ancestral breath work technique to thousand benefits.
You may already hear the word Pranayama during your Yoga Class but do you know what that means and where that comes from?
The first reference to the term Prana can be found as early as 3.000 BCE in the Upanishad and then in the Bhagavad Gita which refers to Pranayama practices as conscious inhaling, exhaling, and breath retention. The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali refers to it too in the eight limbs. But what that mean? What means Pranayama?
Like most of the Yogis, I was translated, understood Pranayama by “Breath exercises” or “breath techniques to control the breath” but after starting to read the amazing and gorgeous book of Andre Van Lysebeth Pranayama, which blows my mind to a new understanding. I deeply encourage you to read this book, but be aware is not the easiest book on the subject
What means Prana?
So, what means Prana? Andre Van Lysebeth starts his book by saying “prana is to yoga what electricity is to our civilization” interesting, no? Swami Sivananda says “Prana is the total sum of all the energies contained in the universe”, isn’t huge!
By this we may understand that the Prana is everywhere around and inside us, it’s not only the breath, the Prana is the energy, the life-force which surrounds us. Everywhere in the Universe where there is movement… The Rishis proclaim that the Prana can be stock in the nervous system and particularly in the solar plexus. And by the practice of Yoga, we can lead it through our thought. Yoga would give conscious and voluntary access to the life source…
Let’s talk about Ayama
The Sanksrit word Ayama means or can be translated as “expansion,” “extension” or “breadth.” The word is used in relation to pranayama, the conscious awareness of the breath, in the Yoga community. In the practice of pranayama breathing techniques, it is considered that yogis are extending or expanding (Ayama) the vital life force (prana) throughout the body.
The physiological effects on the body
Pranayama also affects the physiological site of the body by improving the circulation in our circulatory system, purifying – cleansing the lungs, supporting the liver, spleen, and kidney….and so much more.
Please be aware that this article is just a brief and short introduction about the Pranayama to give the first view on it. If you are interested in this aspect of Yoga, I encourage you to join our Teacher Training Course and/or read the book of Andre Van Lysebeth.
So, now we had defined the meaning, let’s talk about the practice. What we do as yogi when we practice Pranayama?
The first thing you should know is that there are many techniques of pranayama but the main purpose of Pranayama is to be aware of our breath, the balance of energy within the body and it’s also a preparatory practice for the deeper stages of meditation. Pranayama begins the process of balancing the flow of energy through the Nadis (the three major channels of the subtle body). With this process the mind becomes still, the fluctuations of thought disappear, and consciousness expands.
I let you with the practice of the Nadi Shodhana guided by Claire, I hope you enjoy it
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