Pranayama is a huge part of yoga that is widely not practiced in the west. Pranayama is simply stated as a breathing technique but has for more benefits than connecting to your breath. I started learning about Pranayama in my Basic Teacher’s Training Course in 2017 and have elaborated on this practice through the Art of Living along with my Advanced Teacher’s Training Course. There are 9 specific techniques used by The Yoga Institute. Here are just three ways that Pranayama have I influenced my life and health.
1. Pranayama and Weight Loss
During my practice with The Art of Living, I started to notice the pounds going down and in the area of body fat specifically. Using the practice Bastrika and Abdominal Breathing helps tone the belly and the muscles of the abdomen. After practicing Pranayama my desire for junk foods is down dramatically. I took a break from my practice of The Art of Living techniques after I started my yoga therapist certification and gain the weight back. Now, that I am regularly practicing Pranayama on my own and in the classroom, I am starting to see the weight decline again especially in the area of body fat.
2. My Focus and Productivity
I used to have serious angst about doing the duties that I needed to do. Writing this blog has been a commitment that I have to work on everyday otherwise I fall behind and have found out the hard way that I make double or triple the amount of work for myself if I refuse to write as I should. Now, I am excited about reflecting on my thoughts or the days experiences. When I go back and read my earlier post, I feel like I have changed so much and I give credit mostly to the practice of Pranayama.
I have always had a tremendous amount of gratitude and look at the world in a bigger picture. However, after completing this practice of Pranayama on a regular basis, I have gratitude that last throughout the day keeping my calmer and happier. Immediately following practice, the feelings are like after receiving the best massage except it is for your lungs, mind and heart. I have felt more connected with nature and the awareness of my breath has been tremendously improved.
Pranayama is just one of the steps in the 8-fold path. It has lead me to places I would have never dreamed of on my own. Being present goes a long way in seeing the changes that happen on both micro and macro levels. Your breath may be all that you have in certain points of your life and it is always good to know that your breathe is always on your side.