If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you may have heard the Sanskrit word pranayama — but what does it actually mean?
Prana means ‘life force’; the energy that courses through the body. Ayama means ‘to extend’. So pranayama is the practice of expanding and extending prana, energy.
In yoga, this is done by learning techniques to control and direct the breath, as breath is the vehicle that carries the prana. These techniques allow you to alter your physical and mental state of being by controlling your breath.
There are a number of different breathing exercises that are typically practiced within yoga. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring some of them in more detail — so come back soon for further pondering on pranayama!
WHAT DOES PRANAYAMA DO?
A growing body of scientific research highlights the benefits of pranayama practices; for example, this study by Bangalore University suggests that when practised correctly, breathing exercises can have a positive impact on mental and physical health.
• Reduce emotional and physical tension
• Help with stress and anxiety, and be a useful tool for managing...