Pranayama & Breath Meditation Classes

Pranayama (breath meditation) is an ancient yogic practice that is still relevant to all us who live in the 21st century. 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 ranging 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. It is really astounding that thousands of years ago the ancient yogis discovered a way to shift energy from the abdomen to the chest and in doing so alter the nature of our minds.

Each week, Flametree has 2 pranayama classes, and one Introduction to Breath Meditation class. Classes regularly include techniques such as nadi shodhana (alternate nostril) pranayama, and bhramari.

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Your abdomen is the “stove” of your energy

During normal breathing, the abdomen lifts up and 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 and it is the place where energy is distributed from and to other parts of the body.

Donna Holleman explains that because “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 and emphasise the exhalation that then helps reenergise the whole body.

In our current fast paced world where people are generally working 24/7 and running low on energy with often compromised immune systems, 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 to bring 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 that help open the door to quietening the chatter in the mind.

It is during the exhalation when the abdomen deflates that deep relaxation is possible. Finding the way to deepen your exhalation turns off the “fight or flight” part of your nervous system and switches 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.

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.