Pranayama ~ Yoga Breathing Pt. 1

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Prana – “Life Force”     Yama – “Discipline”    Ayama – “Expansion”

Pranyama is the practice of controlled breathing. There is much more than just deep breathing to Pranayama, there are very important stages that will help you open upyour inner life force and guide you into a better meditation experience.

Naturally when we breathe we inhale oxygen into our bodies, nourishing and replensihing all of the system with energy, and the we exhale carbon dioxide and breathe out all of the toxins that are within. We absorb Prana with breath control and bring together our body, mind, and spirit.

It is our human condition to allow stress and worries to overcome us and push our breathing patterns towards a fast and shallow pattern. With these poor breaths come consequences on our health. We need to focus on using our full lung capacity to ensure that our bodies are being properly oxygenated and out toxic loads are being removed.

The deeper spiritual side of Pranyama has four stages:

  • Arambha – the commencement stage wherein the person’s interest in Pranayama is awakened
  • Ghata – the stage where the three sariras merge to envelope the soul. The three sariras are gross, subtle, and causal.
  • Parichay- the stage where the yogi experiences the knowledge of Pranayama
  • Nispatti- the stage where the yogi goes beyond his physical body, and unites with the supreme

The physical side of Pranyam also has four stages:

  • Puraka- Inhalation. A single breath is considered a Puraka.
  • Abhyantara Kumbhaka- Pausing after inhalation. The act of stopping all movements within the body and just holding the air still.
  • Rechaka – Exhalation. Gently and smoothly releasing the air from within the lungs using the abdominal muscles to offer control.
  • Bahya Kumbhaka- Pause after Exhalation. This step is the end of the Pranayama cycle and is followed by the Puraka, which starts the cycle again.

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of Pranayma. Look forward to more to come.

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