Pranayama is the breathing side of yoga. It is a very important aspect and one that is probably not taught as much as it should be. Especially given how much anxiety seems to be around. Calling it breathing is not quite accurate as it includes the circulation of prana (energy or life force) throughout the body.
Here is how BKS Iyengar describes it in his Light on Pranayama:
Pranayama is a conscious prolongation of inhalation, retention and exhalation.
Inhalation is the act of receiving the primeval energy in the form of breath.
Retention is when the breath is held in order to savour that energy.
In exhalation all thoughts and emotions are emptied with the breath. Imagine being able to let go of all your anxiety in the out-breath.
The practice of Pranayama develops a steady mind, strong will-power and sound judgement.
Not bad for something we all get for free! Make sure you make your lungs strong and elastic to receive the gift of air.
Caroline practises and teaches yoga in Glasgow Scotland and runs The Publishing Cupboard. She is the creator of the Nod off Series (where yoga meets grammar learning). If you want to get to grips with French, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese grammar, in a pain-free yogic way, visit www.nodoff.co.uk
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