This sounds like a pretty intense request, doesn’t it? Control your life force. What exactly does that mean?
In yoga, we define life force as Prana.
It is simply the energy that flows through us. Although it is not physiologically documented, prana is known to be carried into and out of the body through the breath.
Pranayama is the control of the life force.
You may remember the term pranayama from this week’s YOLY Challenge. We can control our life force or prana when we manipulate the breath and direct it in some manner.
As the fourth limb of the yogic system, pranayama is made up of a range of techniques that begin with simple awareness and continue with more intensive control approaches. Although pranayama is an integral part of the postures, it is not generally taught until a student is comfortable resting with their breath in either a supine or seated position.
Why should we practice pranayama?
It is an essential aspect of yoga that takes into account the body as well as the mind.
As we learn to deepen and slow down our breathing habits, our lung capacity extends, oxygen levels increase and all systems benefit.
Breathing practices also give your mind focus – you virtually tune in when you pay attention to your breath. This can occur whether you are in a resting pose or actively performing the asanas. As many teachers will tell you, “if it is not with the breath, it is not yoga.”
Through this blog, I hope to share many of the various pranayama methods with you. While some are relaxing and clarifying, others can be energizing, stimulating, or even mind blowing.
I told you this would be intense. Proceed with caution.