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How to optimise your Breathing through Pranayama?

Prana (the breath) is like the electricity to the machine (body) and its flow is linked to our emotional level and therefore connected to every human experience. Optimise your breathing through pranayama.

How can we control the breath, known as prana, and therefore our experiences?

Have you ever noticed when you are under stress, in a situation of discomfort or when you are particularly agitated, in a hectic state, your prana is pectoral?

It remains pectoral and the breath it’s short and impulsive when we experience emotions very similar to panic.

It’s close to Fight-or-Flight Response. In response to acute stress, the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated, which include adrenaline and noradrenaline.

Most of the time the breath it’s not diaphragmatic, long, and with awareness, this restless mental state can affect you negatively if extended for the entire day.

When one thought chases another, the degree of emotion and its intensity can be regulated or stopped if the mind is engaged.

How would you engage the mind?

In many pranayama techniques, the practice of breath control, there are many ways to engage the mind.

One can be simply by engaging the mind with the count of breaths.

Another can be by focusing on the sensation of the breath running in and out of the nostrils.

One more can be a breath retention, which is probably the most advanced technique. It’s a voluntary action called retention of the breath in between inhalation and exhalation or vice versa.

By controlling the breath we will be able to control the mind and the different emotional states.

If you are agitated you simply have to stop and focus on your breath for a couple of minutes to see enormous changes.

Pranayama is a vital energy or life force that keeps everything alive and determines the quality of living.

The yogic breathing exercises specifically works by relaxing the rhythm of breath, therefore providing energy to the body in close vital processes related to the mind.

Pranayama is directed towards physical existence beacuse is revitalising the circulation, the respiratory system, the nervous system, the internal organs and all the cells of our body, which are strictly linked to your brain.

In addition, these techniques aim to increase mental awareness, establishing, for a further spiritual journey, a bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind. 

Human beings breathe about 15 times per minute and 21,600 times per day.

To increase the lung capacity one should breathe in fully.

The breath is one of the most important processes of the body, in fact, the complete regulation of the amount of Prana with deep, long, slow and rhythmic breaths also affects the most important muscle in the body which is the heart by keeping his longevity.

The more we breathe the more we supply oxygen to the system that feeds glucose into the body, producing energy to fuel every muscle contraction.

How does Pranayama work? What is the first approach?

If you are a beginner: 
Start with a simple technique, like Anuloma Viloma.

In this pranayama, you inhale through one nostril and exhale through the other.

So, inhale through, let’s say the right nostril and out through the left, inhale through the left and exhale through the right, and so on.

In the first week, you begin just with inhalation and exhalation without any retention.

Inhaling for 4 seconds and exhaling for 6 seconds, because the exhalation is always longer than the inhalation.

Or even simpler: in relaxation, try to count with or without a timer, how long it takes to inhale and exhale fully.

After the first week you begin to practise this “time ratio”:

1:1:2 which is: inhale for 5 sec, retain for 5 sec, exhale for 10 sec

From the third week on you gradually increase to: 

1:2:2 which is: inhale for 5 sec, retain for 10 sec, exhale for 10 sec

LEGEND:

1 means 5 seconds, 2 means 10 seconds and so on. But you can choose the length as you like, of course.

The GOAL after a couple of months of practice is: 

Intermediate “time ratio”: 1:4:2, inhale for 5 seconds, retain for 20 seconds and exhale for 10 seconds. 

The flow of the Prana is affected by physical activities, exercises, sleep, work, sex, spiritual practice, people and fears.

Prana is available from 3 sources in nature: sun, food and water. 

The major source of prana, which is the food, as we do eat three times a day can be influenced by various factors, for example:

*The quality (local, seasonal and preferably organic).
*The quantity (a full stomach is not healthy).
*The time we eat (the intestines are strictly connected to sunlight, the digestion system is much more active when there is sunlight). Having an early light dinner, at least 2 hours before going to bed. 
*Food sources: where it’s coming from, ethics and the way they grow it. Best is to grow own food, but I know it’s not always easy due to the lack of time and space.

How do you know which food is good? 
Check your digestion and if it stays in. Observe if the food gives you energy or lethargic feelings.  

*Sleep is another factor for our energy level and our prana.

The best time to go to sleep is from 9.00/10.00 pm to 12.00/1.00 am, where we experience deep sleep that makes us fresh the day after.

If you go to bed very late, you will simply be less productive the day after.

I suggest you try to go to bed at 22.00 and wake up at 6 for a week.

You will notice a real difference!

*One more factor is fears because they are stored and manifested in our body and can block the flow of prana. Before you practise, let go of resentments and fears and empty the mind.


TIPS TO START PRANAYAMA: 

* The best time to practice is in the morning when the mind and body are fresh, or after sunset.

* Try to practice every day at the same time.

* Practise before eating in the morning or wait two/three hours after eating. 

* Practise in a clean, quiet and comfortable place. 

* Breathing should be practised before meditation.
 
* Sit in a comfortable meditation posture, spine straight and well balanced.
If you can’t sit down cross-legged, a chair can be an alternative. 

* Optional: Eye closed to be able to travel inward.

* Inhalations and exhalations are very slow, smooth and without any haste. Quiet, pleasant and without any strain.

* Always consider that your inhalation is always shorter than exhalation.

* Always breathe in and out through the nose, unless the pranayama techniques required to open the mouth.

* Release if you feel the strain, suffocation or discomfort at any time. 


Don’t focus on the result, but enjoy the process, increase slowly.

The more you practice, the easier it will become. 

You have a lifetime. 

If you missed the previous episodes on my blog:
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Much Love, Fe

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