Our breathing is like a flywheel. It controls and regulates all of our physiological processes. Our breathing rhythm maintains our heartbeat. This, in turn, affects our nervous system, which governs so many of our physical/mental/emotional processes. Pranayama has always been a partner in hatha yoga. Modern yoga practice pays little attention to pranayama. Pranayama, which slows down your breathing, is critical to realizing the true purpose and meaning of yoga: The setting of your mind into silence.
Pranayama, the fourth of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, is located. It is located right after asana, which is physical postures, and just before pratyahara, which is turning inward away from the worlds of the senses. Pranayama is situated at the intersection between the internal and external limbs in yoga. It bridges the physical, mental, and spiritual worlds.
HOW LOWING YOUR Breathing PROMOTES PHYSICAL HELTH
A 2017 study examined the health benefits associated with slowing down your breathing. The study examined several areas: cardiovascular, cardiorespiratory, respiratory, and autonomic nervous systems.
The study also found other benefits, such as slowing down your breathing.
- Lung capacity and arterial oxygenation are increased.
- Increases in venous return and cardiac output may cause blood pressure to drop.
- Augments baroreflex sensitive.
- Parasympathetic dominance shifts to the right, and vagal tone increases.
B.K.S. taught me yoga when I was in India. Iyengar, an Indian yoga teacher, taught me this principle. Although I am paraphrasing, this is the essence of what he said. We practice yoga to create a calm and peaceful environment for our minds.”
All of the benefits found in the study support creating a calm and peaceful environment for our minds. This is a great way to improve your physical health. This helps you to reach the deeper goal of yoga.
HOW TO PRACTICE BREATHING LOW
Slowing down your breathing can be done from a prone position or seated. This post explains how to set up supine pranayama. To help you maintain a healthy spine, a bench or meditation cushion can be used. This will allow for deep breathing.
- You can either sit or lie down and breathe deeply by using props.
- Please take a deep breath and count how long it takes to inhale. This is not a contest! Deepen your inhale, but not too deeply. It should be slow, steady, and comfortable.
- Now inhale and repeat the exercise for the remaining counts.
- Begin with five to ten breaths. You can increase your number of breaths each week by 3 to 5.
- After you are done, take a few moments to experience the benefits of your practice on all levels.
VARIATIONS AND CAUTIONS
- Kumbhaka–inhalation-pause-exhalation: Many practitioners like to pause for an equal count at the top of each inhalation. Do not catch or close your throat if you do this. Instead, stop inhaling and stay at the end. This can stimulate the nervous system and can be energizing. This practice can be helpful if you are looking for energy. However, it can also raise blood pressure. Avoid kumbhaka if you already have high blood pressure.
- Parasympathetic practice. You can activate your parasympathetic nervous system by slowing down the exhalation. Your heart beats faster when you inhale than it does when you exhale. Slowing down your exhalation can slow down the heartbeat over time. This is known as “sinus rhythmic.”
- Take breaks: If the practice feels intense or you feel short of air, you are likely pushing too hard. To reset, stop the course and take a few regular breaths. Next, take a few normal breaths and inhale and exhale slightly more deeply. Relax your body around the inhalations.
You can also use hand mudras or more complex retentions to make this practice even more varied. Pranayama can be a powerful practice. It’s best to have an experienced teacher. You can practice simple techniques, such as counting and slowing down your breathing, on your own. As always, if you feel strained, do less. Slowing down your breathing is a good idea to calm your mind and body. Take curiosity and care when you practice.