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I was first exposed to Pranayama when I took my first yoga teacher training program in 2014. I discovered that pranayama is the Sanskrit name for breathing techniques that can help calm and clear the body, mind and soul. It is the first and one of the most important steps in order to get into a meditate state. However, pranayama is not only useful for meditation. Our breathing patterns are linked to our emotion states of mind. For example, when we are angry or sad we may tend to breath shallow and fast, making us feel more anxious than we already are. However, we can also do the opposite effect with breathing techniques or pranayama. If we take the time to consciously be aware of our breath when we are feeling stressed or anxious, we can relax our body to think with a clear mind. Not only can breathing slow and deep help our emotional state, but a recent study shows that we can actually lower our blood pressure as well. (Page Grossman, “What is Pranayama” The Beach Body Blog September 2016).
Pranayama Is Great!
The best thing about pranayama is that you can do it anytime, anywhere! To practice pranayama, we must understand the 3 components: external breath, internal breath and the steady state, which is the state in between the two. The first stage of pranayama is the exhale, rechaka. The second stage is called the pooraka, which is inhaling. Lastly, the third stage is called Kumbhakar. This is where you reserve your breath deep in your lower lungs. ( “What is Pranayama” Yoga Magazine of the Bihar School). Paying attention to the spaces between our breaths can help calm the nervous system and strengthen the energetic body.