Pranayama (breath meditation) is an ancient yogic practice. It is still highly useful to all us who live in the 21st century. Online pranayama classes are especially convenient and effective. Flametree also offers in-studio pranayama.
Twenty years ago, there was not much written on pranayama (breath meditation). There were a few technical books available that discussed the various pranayama techniques. Today however, you will find all sorts of articles on pranayama. They range from general articles through to scientific papers.
So what is pranayama? And why has it become popular?
Pranayama refers to the extension, expansion, regulation, restraint, control and prolongation of the breath.
While pranayama is mostly translated as breathing practices it really should be seen in its widest manifestation. Prana translates as energy. Pranic energy comes from breathing in from the universe and out into the universe.
The practice involves drawing energy from the abdomen to the brain via the spinal column. Thousands of years ago, the ancient yogis discovered a way to shift energy from the abdomen to the chest. In the doing it, it alters the nature of our minds.
Each week, Flametree has 2 pranayama classes. Classes regularly include techniques such as nadi shodhana (alternate nostril) pranayama, and bhramari.
Your abdomen is the “stove” of your energy
During normal breathing, the abdomen lifts up. During exhalation, it deflates.
Donna Holleman, in “Dancing The Body Of Light”, explains that the abdomen, according to Eastern tradition, is the stove of the body. It is the place of energy. It’s also a place where energy is distributed from and to other parts of the body.
Donna says “the abdomen is such a centre of energy, that by watching and cultivating a soft quiet breath, the body can relax and re-tune its energies”.
It is also possible to practise breathing techniques that quicken the breath into this area. The exhalation then helps reenergise the whole body.
Excellent to deal with stress and overwork
In our current fast paced world, many people are generally working 24/7, and are running low on energy. They often also have compromised immune systems. So’s it is no wonder that many have started to practise pranayama as a way to restore energy, and recharge an exhausted body.
But what is perhaps more wonderful about a pranayama practice is how the practice changes brain wave patterns. In doing so, it brings about a state of deep and profound relaxation. Pranayama is a very powerful practice because it is the bridge between the body and the mind.
The ancient yogis have passed down to us a whole variety of different breathing techniques. In turn, they help open the door to quietening the chatter in the mind. In Flametree’s classes, you’ll learn these many techniques.
It is during the exhalation when the abdomen deflates that deep relaxation is possible. With breath meditation, you’ll find the way to deepen your exhalation and turn off the “fight or flight” part of your nervous system, and switch on the “rest and digest” part.
So for this reason alone, in this current climate of heightened anxiety, it is a good reason to try a class.
Summary of breath meditation options
In summary, Flametree’s Non-Beginner packages include Breath Meditation, online, in-studio, or on-demand.
Pranayama and breath meditation work especially well online, so it is an easy way to do it.
Other posts discuss the many benefits of pranayama.
If you’re doing pranayama online or in the studio, you’ll find it useful to see the section on this page about props for pranayama.
Non-beginners, and those who have done 4 weeks of our Beginner breath meditation classes, can also do our two weekly Pranayama classes, at 6.30am on both Tuesdays and Fridays. There’s also two non-beginner Restorative Yoga classes each week. Go to the button below. It also includes our non-beginner timetable.