Things I Love About Yoga

Pranayama

Pranayama, or breathing practice, is similar to meditation in that it sneaks up on you. It is very likely that you get introduced into pranayama right from the first class you take. It is very common that ujjayi breath is used in an asana practice. Ujjayi pranayama is a breath used to help you keep a calm, deep breath while moving through asana. It is achieved through toning the epiglottis while inhaling and exhaling deeply through the nose. This is the most common of the many different types of pranayama that can be practiced during asana. Other ones you may encounter are lion’s breath, kapalabhatii, agni sara, etc. Pranayama is sneaky in that once you get into a regular practice, you automatically start to use your ujjayi breath during asana. You may find that if you practice other forms of physical activity that you bring this breathing practice along with you. Eventually, you may become interested enough to look into the vast other forms of pranayama that exist and try them out. Some teachers will suggest certain breaths be practiced in the morning when you wake up. Some other more calming breaths I love practicing at night along with meditation before bed. I have found that pranayama has helped me (as has meditation) to quiet my mind and helped me to heal numerous times. It has also definitely helped with heart rate and I’m sure it has helped with blood pressure (though I’ve never had a problem with that). Pranayama is such a vast practice and can be both calming and invigorating, and that’s why I LOVE it so much!

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