What to Consider before Practicing Pranayama?

What to Consider before Practicing Pranayama?

Pranayama is the science of controlling prana (vital energy) through breathing exercises. It is the fourth of the branches of classical yoga, systemized by the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. In the yogic tradition, pranayama is practiced to increase the amount of oxygen in the brain, which can increase mental abilities and optimal functioning of cells, causing the body to heal and reach its potential.

But beyond that, the thickest form of life energy is breathing. Through the pranayama, breathing exercises, increase the amount of prana we take and store in our subtle bodies to have more radiant health, greater vitality and ultimately to reach the state of yoga, reaching higher levels of consciousness. Prana is the force that generates thought and through manipulation can reach to a state of deep concentration that leads to meditation.

Before you start practicing pranayama, it is important that we start changing breathing patterns. For this you need to familiarize yourself with your breathing, your lung capacity, the physical effects of proper breathing and the surprising relationship among breathing, emotional states and mind. We also know the valuable tool for everyday life that is our breath. It is as amazing as it brings us back to our center and it is one of the main tools we have to have harmony and inner peace.

For this, it is recommended to explore abdominal breathing in yoga that makes us aware of other parts of the lungs that usually are wasted and have great physical and mental benefits. However, the goal of yoga is to regain full breathing using high, medium and low part of our lungs and it is rhythmic and deep both inhalation and exhalation.

As you inhale and exhale deeply with awareness, you begin to feel full of energy, health, calmness and mental clarity. It is for this mental preparation that gives us breathing, the pranayama is usually practiced after the yoga asanas and meditation, but it is also a part of yoga practice itself. 

To learn correct way of breathing is of high importance in order to do well in yoga or else you will not be able to gain the great benefits with their maximum potential even after practicing yoga for much longer.

Whatever form of yoga you intend to learn, breathing is one essential element which must be corrected right on time in the beginning. I suggest you to join the best yoga alliance training courses in Rishikesh India for optimal results.

Any practice of yoga requires our full attention and presence. Pranayama exercises can be practiced anywhere because it requires almost nothing (less physical space than the postures and less silent meditation), all you need is a cushion. But the ideal is to have a nice space, so you feel special where you can relax without interruptions or distractions. Log off from the outside world and try to silence the mind. It is a time for your wellbeing and development of your being and there is nothing more important than your wellbeing.

There are different ways to sit for pranayama practice. The fundamental condition is posture. On the one hand, it is essential that the spine is completely straight i.e. back, neck and head are aligned. Moreover, you must be as comfortable as possible with shoulders relaxed, head up releasing unnecessary tension. This is because if you have any discomfort, your mind will be distracted and it is very important that you stay focused during pranayama exercise.

To facilitate posture, it is recommended to start Sukhasana, simple and comfortable cross-legged position, using a cushion to raise the seat and improve posture. Students who have more flexibility in the hips can try sitting in Siddhasana, sitting on the floor with one leg crossed so that the heel is in contact with the perineum. Bend the other leg and bring the heel against the first. Your hands should rest on your knees in all cases. Lotus position is not recommended to start because flexibility is required.

As it takes time to get used to sitting on the floor with legs crossed and backless, you can use a chair, putting your feet firmly on the ground and making sure your back is straight. As the back of the chair is usually somewhat tilted back, it is best to sit without support or put a cushion against the back, so that the position is straight. You can support your hands on a folded blanket.

Recommendations and Precautions

  • Prolonged exhalations are not recommended for people with depression or low blood pressure.
  • The very long inhalations should not be practiced by those with heart problems or hypertension.
  • Pranayama exercises can release stuck emotions. This is normal to allow yourself to feel what you feel without judgment since you are cleaning.
  • As we are not accustomed to control breathing, sometimes you begin to feel a little impatience or anxiety when you start practicing pranayama. Try to bring attention to practice and relax the mind. If you get distracted, try to bring back the concentration to the present moment.
  • Do not force your skills doing the exercise. If you feel any discomfort, start breathing normally.
  • As it is the case with all yoga techniques, it is advisable to have the guidance of a certified teacher.

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