The Benefits of PranayamaIn general, pranayama decreases the work of breathing, which reduces strain on various systems in the body, and improves overall physical and mental health. Here are some of the specific benefits you can look forward to with daily practice:
Stronger Body and Mind ConnectionSo often, we move through our day in motion without real intention. Pranayama helps us bring that conscious intention back into our lives. When we practice pranayama, even simple belly breathing, we are calling in intentional focus. As a result, our mind begins to slow down, and our bodies start to open up. When our minds are in a less stressful state, and our bodies are open to receiving, their communication optimizes. As you practice, you may notice your intuition strengthening or your ability to find peace is easier. Pranayama benefits our mind and body connection by bringing them back to the same frequency to communicate with one another.
Reduction in StressPranayama reduces stress and calms the mind. It achieves this by switching the nervous system from a sympathetic state (fight or flight) to a parasympathetic state (rest and reset). To relax our minds, we have to relax our bodies, and pranayama techniques help us achieve this.
Better DigestionProper breathing techniques bring your breath and intention to the lower belly, which activates your diaphragm. When your diaphragm is activated, it gently massages your digestive organs, which lie underneath the diaphragm. By practicing pranayama regularly, your digestive organs will strengthen.
Improved SleepSleep is often overlooked in our modern culture, but it is essential to healthy living. Pranayama benefits sleep by relieving stress on the body and in the mind. During sleep, your body is working to process and support bodily function to maintain your health. Therefore, it is crucial to be stress-free so your body can adequately support rebuilding function during sleep. Try this evening yoga routine to further regulate your sleep.
How To Practice PranayamaNow that you know some of the major benefits of pranayama, you might be wondering how you can get started. Follow these tips to begin your pranayama practice:
- Find a quiet, calm environment. Perhaps near a window or outside if the weather allows.
- Get comfortable, either on a chair or the ground.
- Gently close your eyes or gaze at the tip of your nose and relax your entire body.
- Take 5 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Bring your attention to your third eye, the space in between your eyebrows.
- When you are ready, begin your pranayama practice. For ideas on various pranayama techniques, check out these 5 pranayama exercises to add to your yoga practice.