What is pranayama?
Simply put pranayama is proper breathing and breath controlling. And through that control you can influence many levels of body and mind.
Throughout our lives we are taught so many things. How to walk, talk, read, drive, do our jobs, and even how to be a better listener. But, everyone assumes that because they are alive, they are breathing correctly. Thatís not true. The next time you are in conflict with someone, notice how you are breathing. More then likely you are breathing shallow, short, almost gasping breaths. Try changing. Breathe slowly into the abdomen. You might be surprised what happens!
Pranayama teaches us how to use the breath to relax, invigorate ourselves, think clearly, and even open the mind. What a simple and powerful tool. You can do it anywhere, anytime. As I tell my students, if you are in line at the grocery store and the kids are screaming and the person in front of you needs a price check, and you have 20 minutes to get home and start dinner, you really can jump into Down Dog and release stress. Well you could, but someone might take you away in a little padded truck. But you can change your breathing, which can dramatically improve the situation.
Below you will find some basic breathing practices that will form a foundation that could change your life. All of these practices should be done lying on your back with knees bent and your feet pigeon-toed so that the knees fall together. Make sure that the shoulders are walked in, the buttocks are walked away, and the back is straight. (Supine pose) Enjoy!
You will need Adobe Reader to view these files. You can download it here: