Pranayama or breath awareness. 

There are a number of Prana-yama practices and like yoga asana they bring health and vitality to the body and mind.

Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing In B.K.S. Iyengar’s book Light on Pranayama, he explains Pranayama as a conscious prolongation of inhalation, retention and exhalation. This classic text is recommended reading  for all serious students of yoga.

B. K. S. Iyengar is one of the world’s most revered living teacher of yoga. He was the first person to bring Yoga to the West, and his teaching has been hugely influential over the last 3 decades. He now lives and teaches in Pune, India.



The effect of stress on breathing…

In normal conditions the body follows a natural breath pattern that is slow and fairly regulated. Under stress when the body shows symptoms such as tightening of muscles, distractions, anxiety, hyperactivity and angry reactions, breathing becomes quick and shallow. One tends to hold one’s breath frequently. With restricted breathing, inflow of oxygen is diminished. Lungs are unable to exhale the stale air and residual toxins build up inside the body.

Stiff muscles restrict the circulation of blood that so even less oxygen comes in and fewer toxins are removed. This in turn affects the healthy regeneration of cells and can accelerate aging and disease. Medical studies show that the oxygen-starved cells are the major contributing factors in cancer, immunity deficiency, heart disease and strokes. Breathing also affects our state of mind and consequently makes our thinking either confused or clear. Lengthening and deepening breath in yoga creates a more balanced state of being. A change in breath pattern creates a change in the metabolic process, emotions, endorphins, internal chemical reactions, and the release of specific hormones. Mind affects body; body affects mind.

Check out our Pranayama articles

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