Breathing is essential for life, and it can be controlled consciously and unconsciously. Pranayama is the art of breath control; ‘prana’ meaning life or life force, ‘yama’ meaning development.
When the brain isn’t oxygenated properly, it will negatively impact of all the vital organs of the body.
Some other effects of poor amounts of oxygen in the system are mental sluggishness, negative thoughts, and depression.
Proper breathing helps to:
- energize the body
- relieve anxiety
- reduce hypertension
- reduce muscle tension
- purify our blood stream as increased oxygen removes toxins
- aid in digestion
- relieve congestion
- improve the endocrine system
- increase metabolism
- assist in proper functioning of the brain, nerves, and glands as well as other internal organs
- improve the condition of our skin
How we breathe is important as well. Notice how the doctor asks us to sit up tall and take a nice, deep breath during physicals; this is because good posture and proper breathing goes hand in hand. When we sit up straight, this allows for the full use of our diaphragm. When we slouch, it closes off the throat and windpipe, reduces lung capacity, and when combined with stress can results in increased muscle tension. Improper breathing causes an imbalance in the muscles resulting in neck stiffness and headaches.
There are four basic stages of pranayama: inhaling from the core, retention while keeping the muscles still, slow and steady exhalation, and a pause/rest stage before beginning the cycle again.
A great way to retrain these muscles and incorporate proper breathing techniques can be acquired through yoga. Through yoga and proper breathing our focus increases, we reduce stress, and gain better self-control and relaxation.
CNY Healing Arts Centers offers a great variety of yoga classes to help you focus on your breath work and improve your overall health and well-being. Click here for the full class listing.
195 Intrepid Lane, Syracuse, NY 13205
38A Old Sparrowbush Road, Latham, NY 12110
2244 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14610
585.244.1280 ext. 2