Pause. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and a deep breath out. Open your eyes. Did you notice your body begin to relax, even if it was just for a moment? The benefits of pranayama can do more than just help you temporarily relax. Consistent practice of pranayama allows your body and mind to become more in sync, deepening your intuition and enhancing your bodily functions.
Here are some of the major pranayama benefits and why you should practice everyday.
The Benefits of Pranayama
In 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 Connection
So 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 Stress
Pranayama 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.
Proper 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.
Sleep 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 Pranayama
Now 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.
Amplify your Practice
To enhance your practice, try taking 1 tsp of Chyawanprash before you begin. This ancient Ayurvedic jam is a powerful antioxidant that nourishes and rebuilds tissues in your body while sharpening your mind. Find out more of what is chyawanprash good for.
Clare Michalik, Ayurvedic Practitioner