by Liz McCollum Lord
Pranayama is an integral part of the yoga practice, but one that I don’t often think about. Most kriyas and meditations incorporate some type of breathing because of its numerous benefits. Somehow though, I had allowed myself to forget the powerful benefits that just a few minutes of focused pranayama can provide. Thankfully at Sat Nam Fest, I attended two classes that brought pranayama back to the forefront of my mind! Akasha closed out his class by teaching Breath of Ten, which is a wonderfully healing breath. And in the Ayurvedic class with Jai Dev Singh, we experienced several intense breathing practices that really shifted my energy drastically.
With that in mind, I came back home with pranayama on my mind. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this past month would end up being one of the most stressful months I’ve had in a long time. Many times I asked myself what more could possibly go wrong, only to be...
by Julie Eisenberg
Kundalini Yoga places a lot of emphasis on breathing, or pranayama. There are many different types of pranayama in Kundalini Yoga: long deep breathing, breath of fire, breath retention (in or out), and alternate nostril breathing are some of the most familiar. But there are many other ways of breathing: segmented breath, alternate breath channels (nose or mouth), and sitali pranayam (over a rolled tongue) are just some examples of breathing techniques that are regularly practiced in Kundalini Yoga. (For a full explanation of yogic breathing, see the book Praana Praanee Praanayam.)
Breath is life; without it, we cease to function in our physical body. But the power of pranayama is also a way to manifest our intentions. We can use breath to change our energy level, boost our mood, and overcome stress. All it takes is a little training in how the different types of pranayama work!
Here’s an example. Pay...
We all breathe. If we don’t, we die. That’s pretty simple. And yet, breathing is much more than just that. Pattern, frequency, depth… all of these contribute to our body’s biorhythms. We aren’t conscious of breathing most of the time…and therein lies the difference between breathing and pranayama. Pranayam (or pranayama) is the science of breathing consciously, controlling the movement of prana (life force) through the use of specific techniques. Breathing gives us life; pranayam gives us quality of life.
Yogis are aware of the two-sided nature of things: physical and non-physical. In breathing, we take in air, but also prana. The seen and the unseen. Hence, the science of breathing is called pranayam.
What is “Natural” Breathing?
Correct, simple, natural breathing should look like this:
Breathe in and the navel point moves out. Breathe out and the navel point moves...