Benefits of Pranayama
Last week I defined pranayama but why practice it? What are the benefits of regular pranayama practice? First of all, benefits are cumulative so to really experience them, it’s important to practice consistently over a period of time. But, back to the topic at hand … Following are a couple of the benefits.
In pranayama exercises we focus on deepening the inhale and lengthening the exhale. A primary reason for practicing pranayama is to prepare for meditation. From a physiological perspective, pranayama increases the capacity of the lungs which allows more oxygen to come into the body and flow to the cells. The increased oxygenation of the cells improves energy levels and alertness.
It is well established that yoga – which includes pranayama – reduces stress and anxiety. For example, as we bring awareness to the breath and observe the breath deepen and lengthen, the mind begins to become more calm and quiet which results in feeling more in control, less stressed. A key element is mindfulness. It is very important to stay present with the breath and observe the breath throughout the pranayama practice.
The subject of pranayama is vast and it is important to have the guidance of a qualified teacher to structure a program that is appropriate for the individual.
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