Pranayama relates to breathing exercises which clear physical and emotional blockages and obstacles in our body in order to free the breath, the flow of life energy – or prana- It is believed it can supercharge your entire body.
How we move, think, behave and breathe contributes to the flow and vitality of our universal energy which runs through and around us.
Without breath there is no life!
In our lives and in our habits we can get in our own way, developing unconscious breathing patterns which restrict the flow of prana and breath.
As we work to free the breath through pranayama (breathing exercises) we allow the life energy to flow. The effect is energizing, relaxing and healing.
Prana -ayama literally translated from the Sanskrit means freedom of breath, breath expansion, breath liberation.
Like yoga asanas/poses, pranayama techniques have different effects. Most types of pranayama are practised sitting in a cross-legged position, e.g. Hero’s pose or Lotus pose (padmasana). The spine is upright, the breath should be smooth and even. There are many kinds of pranayama, some of which are energizing detoxifying such as Kapalabhati (Skull Shining Breath); others are balancing, such as Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing).
Pranayama is best practised on an empty stomach in a ventilated room. There can be contraindications for some types of pranayama, e.g. pregnancy, recent abdominal surgery, hypertension or asthma. This list is not exhaustive, so you should always speak with your health professional before practising if you are unsure.