Why Pranayama Needs To Be a Part of Your Daily Yoga Self-care Practice
Pranayama is a yogic practice using breathing techniques. Pranayama simply means control (yama) of prana, or life force energy. These breathing practices of pranayama in your yoga practice is an important step in understanding how to balance and regulate your life-force energy, making it easier to achieve a meditative state.
Breath control is the yoga of breathing. We suggest earmarking some time for it. Pranayama can be done even when you are short on time as it only takes a few moments. This will help keep your stress levels manageable and your energy up. Also, When life gets hectic or stressful, simply being still and breathing with a few special techniques will keep you balanced and ready for whatever comes next.
Here are five reasons why practicing pranayama breathing should be a part of your daily practice:
- Feel calmer.
- More aware and in the moment.
- Lung strengthening.
- Respiration improves.
- The digestive system works better.
To begin a pranayama routine in your daily life, consider using moments in the morning when your home is quiet and your day has not begun yet. This will help you make the new routine an ideal part of your day. Spending only ten minutes each day for at least thirty days should be enough to get your self-care routine firmly in place and begin to feel the pranayama benefits.
The time needed for pranayama
You simply need ten minutes a day to help keep your stress levels manageable and your energy up. When life gets hectic or stressful, simply being still and breathing beautifully with a few special techniques will keep you balanced and ready for whatever comes next.
Here is a simple pranayama exercise that is easy enough to do anytime and a wonderful starting point. Try this in the morning before you start your morning rituals for an extra oomph of calmness throughout your day.
Ujjayi Pranayama is a wonderful way to start this new practice of breathwork.
Ujjayi is one of the most popular types of pranayama breathing techniques and is enjoyable as well.
- Begin by simply sitting up straight in an easy cross-legged position.
- If this is uncomfortable, then simply sit in a chair with your bare feet on the floor.
- Close your eyes and begin to breathe through your nose.
- Contract the part of the larynx consisting of the vocal cords and the opening between them. This contraction is done so that the passage of the throat is partially closed.
- Roll the tongue up and let the lower side of the tongue touch the top of your palate.
- Breathe in slowly through the throat. The chest is slightly lifted and the abdomen contracts a little.
- When the inhalation is complete, swallow the breath and perform Jalandhara Bandha (a chin lock).
- Retain the breath inside for as long as you are comfortable. In the initial stages of your pranayama practice you don’t need to include breath retention.
Add this to the practice when you feel comfortable holding your breath. Release the chin lock (Jalandhara Bandha) and exhale. Your exhalation through your nostrils should make an ocean wave sound due to your contracting the larynx. This is one round of ujjayi pranayama. There are many variations of ujjayi pranayama. These can also be incorporated into your practice as well.
When to Practice Ujjayi Pranayama?
Practice 10 rounds of ujjayi pranayama each morning, and experience all the benefits discussed and more. This pranayama technique is a great addition to your current yoga (asana) practice or on its own. The more you practice, the easier it is to simply relax and just breathe.
Furthermore, by simply breathing this way, you practice the perfect balance between your mind and your body; by exhaling and inhaling fully, completely, and consciously. Focusing on the breath will help to bring about a sense of calmness and clarity throughout your day.
Finally, to simply breathe with pranayama in your daily life is to live your life with focus and awareness of the numerous gifts that yoga has to offer every day!
This blog was created by Jennifer Smeddy, M.Ed., RYT 500, who has been practicing yoga for over twenty-five years. Jennifer believes that her passion lies in helping others develop strong personal practices and creating space to be happy and healthy. She loves to swim, hike, and spend time with her family. She is currently the director and a lead instructor at LeadingYoga.com teaching online yoga classes and yoga teacher training certification coursework.
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