Pranayam is the science of breath and pranayama is energy management, using rhythm and depth of the breath to effect and manage different energy states of health, consciousness, and emotion.
The mind follows the breath, therefore the key to controlling the mind lies in controlling the breath. In Today’s busy society most people don’t breathe correctly. The breath pattern is mostly shallow, erratic, upper-chest breathing. This leads to a lack of relaxation and well-being.
In correct, simple natural breathing, the Navel Point moves out on the inhale, in and up on the exhale. We use the inhale to make ourselves wider, and the exhale to make ourselves longer. Many people reverse this breath pattern. They inhale by pulling the belly in, making less space for breath.
In a correct Long Deep Breathing pattern, the full capacity of the lungs is used, by utilizing the three chambers of the lungs: The lower, middle and upper. On your deep inhale you should feel your belly expand first, like a balloon, then the chest expands and lastly the upper rubs and clavicle. On the exhale it is reverse, first the upper deflates, then the middle chest and lastly the belly deflates like a balloon and the navel pull back to the spine to get any remaining air out.
Long Deep Breathing benefits:
· Relaxing and calming
· Stimulates endorphins, that help with depression
· Energizing and increases vitality
· Aids emotional and physical healing
· Aids in breaking subconscious habits, insecurities, addictions and fears
What happens when we consciously lower the frequency of breaths per minute?
Normally men breathe 16-18 cycles per minute and women 18-20 cycles per minute.
If we lower the breath to 8 cycles per minute, we feel more relaxed, stress is relieved and our mental awareness increased. The healing process is elevated.
By lowering the breath to 4 cycles per minute, positive shifts in our mental function happen. Such as intense feelings of awareness, increased visual clarity, heightened body sensitivity and we reach a meditative state.
When we get to 1 cycle per minute or the “One-Minute-Breath”, we inhale 20 seconds, hold for 20 seconds and exhale for 20 seconds. This optimizes the coordination between both brain hemispheres. It dramatically clams anxieties, fears and worries and our intuition develops.
There are many other forms of pranayama, such as the breath of fire, suspending the breath on the inhale and/or exhale, alternate nostril breathing, and segmented breaths just to name a few.
All of them have their own benefits on. Alternate nostril breathing balances the right and left brain hemispheres, it is integrating and grounding and brings harmony on the physical, mental and emotional levels.
Inhaling left and exhaling right is calming and reduces stress.
Inhaling right and exhaling left gives clarity, focus and positive mood.
In segmented breathing, the inhale and exhale is divided into several equal parts. This stimulates the central brain and the glandular system in different ways. There are many different ratios used in Kundalini Yoga. They are all clearly defined and create stable, predictable states of mind and energy.
Our lungs are the organs which detoxify our body the most. Therefore it is very important to pay attention to our breathing patterns and increase our lung volume. Not only for our physical health but also for our mental health and our mind in order to be able to reach a point of subtle stillness where we reach a deep meditative state.
To practice different forms of pranayama, please fill in the Freebie form to subscribe to my 5-Day Pranayam Series. This is a video series where I teach a different pranayam each day.