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Why practice Pranayama?

To me, a Pranayama practice is the most fundamental part of my own yoga practice. Working with your breath and to control the subtle energies of your body has some completely profound effects and really can be completely life changing.

So, what's so good about breathing?

First of, let me talk about my own experiences of committing to a daily Pranayama practice, not only has my focus improved, but my mood, my emotional stability and regulation, and the more I continue to practice, the more I feel a truly deep sense of calmness becoming not just something I experience during my practice, but more and more throughout the day-to-day.

Pranayama is something I've been interested in for a long time, but it's not something I have found to be easily accessible. I've poured through old yogic texts, read articles and watched countless instructional videos.. all have led me to be.. well, very confused. There's a lot of contradictory information and also, quite a lack of easily found, clear descriptions on what was actually going to be happening to my body and mind, both energetically, and physiologically, and not just that, but a clear methodology of practice.

After many years of intrigue, practice and this over the course of this year (2022), in depth study, formal training in the subject, and integration. I'm finally able to confidently offer Pranayama as an offering to you. When working with Pranayama, it's important to understand that it's a powerful practice. Traditionally, there was cleansing practices (Shat Kriyas) that were to be performed first. Today, some of these are still relevant, while others are..slightly absurd and, let's just say, not relevant.

Within each Pranayama class I teach, we will perform cleansing practices that are relevant to the breath, along with slow and proper diaphragmatic breaths which we will build up to as we get a full sense and feel of the incredible muscles that help us to breath. By slowing our breathing rate down to between 4-7 breaths a minute (about 12 breaths slower than normal), we'll be doing what's called Resonance breathing, which along with having numerous profound effects on the body and mind, will also help us to prepare for our Pranayama techniques.​Resonance breathing, alternate nostril breathing and the pranayama techniques we can practice, all work in our favour towards feeling healthier, more focused, and just breathing than we already are. To sum up what's so good about it, here's a wee list of amazing things it can do for you..

  • Improves heart rate variability

  • Reduces blood pressure

  • Improves our focus and cognitive function

  • Improves hormone regulation

  • Gives us better control over our emotions

  • Reduces our heart rate

  • Increases the production of nitric oxide

  • Increases vagal nerve tone

  • Contributes to having a more balanced nervous system

​..just to name a few.​

Overall, if you're interested in yoga or not, Pranayama techniques are a really fundamental way to improve your overall wellbeing.

When you're consistent with these practices, you can start to peel back the layers of your self. You'll find more calmness and stillness within yourself that you maybe didn't know was there before. For people who are stressed and their mind is chattering away all the time, this can be such a huge and revolutionary change. When we influence the breath and slow it down, the mind in turn, will slow down, and stop chattering as fast as normal. This can help make meditation practices so much more accessible as well.

I've worked with individuals who suffer from asthma and have had trouble breathing properly. They've also got rather busy minds and sometimes struggle with anxiety and stress. After even just a few sessions, they've noted how their breathing has started to improve, and they've even found it easier to control their breathing when they are out for runs, and are already starting to feel much calmer and steadier within themselves. This is a huge win to be able to see such an impact after only 3 sessions.

This example is just to demonstrate the power of your breath if you know how to use it, and If you're not sure how, I can absolutely help you out.

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