Posted by Jamie Rollins RN, BSN, CYT (she/her) on 20th Oct 2021
The sanskrit word for breath is Prana. In yoga, one of the key principles of practice is pranayama or breathwork. There are numerous types of breathing techniques but a gentle inhale to the point of fullness, and then an exhale that draws your belly button to your spine, is a great place to start.
When life feels like it may just totally consume you, pause, and take a breath. The key is simplicity. Just keep coming back to your breath over and over again. Feel your feet connect with the earth, feel yourself strong and steady, and then draw in the coolness of the air through both nostrils, letting it cascade down into your lungs filling your belly!
Feel yourself full of that life giving miracle, prana. It’s life force. It’s divinity. We take our breath for granted most days. But our breathing holds the key for exceptional health. Deep breathing floods our bodies with oxygen and triggers our nervous system, specifically our parasympathetic system, to relax, rest & digest.
One big slow deep breath then another and then one more. Make the exhales longer than the inhales. Really slow down the exhale. 3 deep breaths can shift your physiology enough to elicit a relaxation response which leads to releasing certain endorphins that have a natural calming effect.
It makes sense that deep breathing is the groundwork for so many holistic practices that aim to reduce stress and relax people.This calming effect can be so significant that there’s research linking meditation to a reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms; as well as improved sleep and focus.
It all comes back to the breath.
Go ahead, take one slow delicious deep breath now. You won’t regret that you did.
If you want to learn more about 4 other pranayama techniques check them out here.
Photos by Anke Sundermeier from Pixabay and Eugene Zhyvchik on Unsplash
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