Do you ever think much about your breath? Most of us don’t, it’s something that happens automatically. Our nervous system and brain work together to make sure we are inhaling oxygen into our body and exhaling toxins out of our body all the time. It just happens….or does it?
The yogic principle of pranayama is about life force energy. It’s the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat….and at the same time it’s none of that. Maybe it’s more appropriate to say life force energy is what we GET from the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. It’s the driving force of our lives. We get more life force energy from air, water and food as well as people, special places and times in our lives. At the same time, we also expend life force energy…we expend that vital energy through work, play, relationships. The key is to have a good balance….more prana, more life force energy coming in than going out.
Sometimes the stress of any given day can disrupt that delicate balance of life force energy. All it takes is a few rude people, bad traffic, running late or someone who seems to just suck up all your energy with their negativity…you know, energy vampires. We’ve all met people like that, we’ve all had days like that. So what do we do when we feel so depleted? Breathe!
Try this simple breathing exercise: lay on the floor with your knees bent, soles of your feet on the floor. Place your hands on your belly and feel your belly rise and fall as you breathe. If your belly isn’t moving, you are probably breathing in your chest and shoulders. For good, prana increasing breath, you want big long belly breaths. Start to count the length of your inhales (maybe to 4), pause, then exhale the same duration. Do this several times increasing the number as you go, lengthening your breath. If you do this simple exercise daily, you are ensured plenty of prana as well as relaxation to go along with it!
Can’t get onto the floor right this moment?? Take several deep breaths, in trough the nose and out through the nose, wherever your are and feel yourself immediately begin to calm down. Take all that great breathing onto your mat and find new ease in your practice.