Just Breathe | iHanuman


Love, Service, Devotion, Yoga

Just Breathe

Breathing In, it's the very first act of life outside of the womb. Breathing Out, it's the very last thing we do before we die. In-between that first in-breath and final out-breath are millions of opportunities to remember this powerful energy. The yogis call it Prana: that which is everywhere, connecting us all; and on a smaller scale - that energy which moves the breath throughout our bodies. But what most people don't realize is the power of breath can increase or decrease energy, improve health and bodily functions, and reduce stress. A quick Google search can show you statistics, but experience is really the only way to go with Pranayama, the practice of breathing. You can read all about it, but to actually see the immediate and also long-term effects, you must practice and apply attention to your breathing. There aren't many ancient "textbooks" on how to do Yoga, but the few that exist, speak very little of the poses, and quite a lot about the breathing practices. I, myself, an avid practitioner for 20 years, have probably done almost every yoga pose out there, but the breathing practices are what really excite me. Wrapping legs around my head, it's ok, but the momentary "high" doesn't last like deep breathing does. In my experience, people, including me, practice yoga for the after-effects, and a regular practice of poses can help these after-effects last, but what I have discovered is that awareness of breathing makes these desired after-effects (calmness, contentment, generosity, compassion) last a lot longer.
You don't need to know a bunch of strange belly churning or nostril plugging techniques either. How about right this very second, you sit up a bit taller, and straighter. Then take a really big, semi-relaxed inhalation, hold it for one second, then try to let it out slowly, also semi-relaxed. In other words, no straining allowed. Now do it again 10 times. Notice by breath ten, how all effort is released, and there is a light sense of calm energy running through your entire body.
Deep breathing, ahhh, almost as good as true love!
(more breathing exercises can be found in the Yoga Handbook or in a live yoga class)
Love, Steph


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