Pranayama breathing keeps me sane. On the days that I miss the practice I know I am more irritable, less patient and far less compassionate towards others.
I have been practicing Pranayama for well over 20 years and I never ceased to be amazed at the power of pranayama to keep me mentally and emotionally on track.
The power of pranayama breathing
Most people find Pranayama (breath mediation) difficult. I certainly did. It has taken me a very long time to be content with each practice.
At first I pushed myself beyond my capacity. My chest was quite closed and there was not the elasticity in the diaphragm to allow my lungs to expand. I would became irritable and dispirited and wonder whether it was worth the effort.
I started practicing Pranayama lying down as is recommended and taught in Iyengar Yoga. I had enjoyed Savasana and found that I could talk my body on the whole into relaxing. Of course some days were better than others.
At first, it was a challenge
But when it came to lengthening the exhalation in supported Savasana I remember being totally shocked at how difficult that was.
My exhalation seemed so short. I couldn’t understand at all the mechanism for lengthening my inhalation. My teacher would instruct me to “breath into the bottom side ribs” and keep the abdomen passive. Both seemed impossible.
I am pleased that I kept practicing because my breath has become my friend and like a good friend has kept me honest.
Mindfulness on my breath has helped me understand myself better and it has allowed me to feel connected to the wider universe.
What I get from breath meditation
The various breathing practices give me energy as they deliver blood to every part of my body.
But most of all I love and appreciate how they quieten my mind, how they help me relax and remain humble.
I am in awe of their power to show me the way towards a healthy and happy life.