Pranayama is the yoga practice of breath control. (Prana= life force energy + Yama = discipline or control.) Breath is our body’s most vital function. It is the source of our life energy and therefore plays a vital role in physical and mental health. When we are anxious, our breath shortens and our pulse quickens, when we take deep breaths we relax this nervous response and can effectively slow our heart rate down again. We have all heard that expression, “Take a deep breath,” when you’re in a situation in which you are inclined toward impulsive, irrational, or negative reactions to a stressful circumstance.
What is breath? We inhale, taking in oxygen which is Life Force Energy (LFE) that feeds our blood and nourishes all of our organs. With just one breath we have sent throughout our body, by way of the respiratory system, a shot of positive, pure, energy. Awesome! And we’re not done yet. That perfect system collects toxins throughout our organs and bloodstream, and exhales them as carbon dioxide, ridding our bodies of life draining toxins. Perfect! What an amazing system this human body is and it all starts with breath.
“Genesis 2.7-“God formed the man- dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils.”
It is extremely helpful to visualize the breath when you are doing Pranayama. Please read this completely and then begin 10 minutes of Pranayama on your own using this visualization.
ON THE IN BREATH– Visualize the Life Force Energy (LFE) as pure white light, coming down from the sun and breathing it into your nostrils. Visualize this white light circulating into your head, down past your throat, your heart, your lungs, your belly, and into your sex organs. Visualize each of these vital organs pulsing with warm energy as you are bathed in this beautiful white light. Visualize each organ as it receives this life force energy. Warm to its touch.
ON THE OUT BREATH– On the exhale, visualize all of the toxins and negative energy being released slowly through each of your organs. Visualize this negative energy as the opposite of the white light, perhaps you see it as a gray shadowy haze. Let it start in your sex organs, and pass through your belly, your lungs, your heart, your throat, your head. Visualize this grayness pulling out the toxins as it passes each of these organs. On its expulsion through your nostrils, breathe a sigh of relief.
- Begin by sitting upright, in a comfortable position. Start to count your breath. Inhale to a count of 4-5, pause and hold your breath for a count of 1-2, and exhale to a count of 6-10. Find the rhythm that is comfortable for you.
- Once you have found your rhythm, breathe by counting in this fashion, for 10-15 full inhales and exhales. Don’t rush it. Relax and enjoy.
- Once you’re in a good groove, begin the visualization outlined above for In Breath and Out Breath. You may choose to visualize the LFE light rapidly washing each organ with each In Breath, or you may feel more comfortable with the LFE coming to a specific organ with each In Breath. Try it both ways and see which rhythm is right for you today.
- Once you have found your rhythm you should continue for a minimum of 5 more minutes. But by all means stay longer as you will find it very pleasurable to breathe in this fashion.
The yogis understood the importance of breath. Each of the organs that is associated with Pranayama, is connected to what the yogis call Chakras, (more to come) and each Chakra is connected to our endocrine system. So when we practice Pranayama, deep, controlled breathing, we are cleansing each of our organs by infusing the endocrine system (our glands) with oxygen and taking out the toxins.