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Breathing Techniques that Heal -Pranayama.

Updated: Aug 15, 2022

Prana, Reiki, and Chi all three refer to the same phenomenon which is life energy. You need the energy to live on and you derive it from three sources such as food, ideas, and prana.

Food for the body is like fuel for the car. Ideas can energize you too. For example, if you submerge in a fantastic idea, you can work tirelessly for long hours. Also, if you have enough prana then you are alive and healthy and if not, then a disease is manifested. Thus, let’s discover how you can improve your health by raising the level of life energy by practicing pranayama.

What is pranayama?

Pranayama means restraint or control of the breath. Pranayama or breathing is intimately connected with the mind. You can observe that when you focus on something or are in a meditative state your breath slows down. In cases of asphyxia, mental activities cease until respiration is revived and when you are agitated, or angry your breath is irregular and broken. These examples show the connection between the mind and the breath. However, prana is not just about the breath. In fact, breathing is one of a few exercises through which you can get to the real pranayama. Still, breathing is a manifestation of a vitalizing force named prana that is controlled by the regulation of physical breathing. This process of controlling breathing is called pranayama. Prana is a form of energy used by every living being in his/her material and astral form, which animates matter. All cells of your body are controlled by prana. Prana is known as a universal energy that manifests itself as gravitation, electricity, the action of your body, the nervous system, and thought force. Prana is in the air, but it is not oxygen, in food, water, and the sunlight but it is not vitamins or light rays. Still, you absorb prana with food, drink, and when you breathe and you can control this little wave of prana that represents mental and physical energies through the regulation of breathing to improve your health.

Furthermore, around the world, there are spiritual, mind, and faith healers, Christian Scientists, and hypnotists who consciously, or unconsciously use prana to heal others. Factually, they have stumbled on the discovery of pranic energy, but they operate it without being conscious of its nature. However, Yogis use different breathing techniques to control prana and to use it consciously for the purpose of awaking the spiritual force. By observing the lungs stop working you can see that the manifestation of energy and movements of the body stops immediately. It shows the essence of breathing and prana. Through pranayama, you control prana and the motion of your lungs which may help you heal from diseases.

Additionally, you can observe that a healthy person with strong pranic energy brings vitality to those around him/her because the pranic energy is transmitted to others like the water flows from the higher level to the lower. So, a healer transfers his/her own prana to a sick person, but they must recharge through pranayama after that. The healing might be done over a distance too. Yogis and Reiki healers can perform this type of healing and transfer prana by being a link connected with the cosmic energy.

Unconscious use of prana

Moreover, you may unknowingly use your prana, for example when you visit a sick friend you instinctively stroke his/her head. By doing this you transfer your prana to that person. Also, you may observe that you use prana when you try to lift something heavy, you instinctively hold your breath to store the prana that you need to do it.

In fact, all willpower comes from the control of prana and if you are fully trained, you can supply consciously yourself in prana and you are able to acknowledge parts of your body that have enough and not enough prana. Moreover, you can supply prana in areas where it’s lacking to avoid illness or heal an existing condition. Thus, pranayama breathing techniques help you increase vitality, and mental focus and expand your consciousness.

You still acknowledge that your mind affects your breath, and your breath affects your mind. The ancient text ‘The Hatha Yoga Pradipica’ states ‘Respiration being disturbed, the mind becomes disturbed. By restraining respiration (pranayama) the yogi attains steadiness of the mind’. The breath is a bridge to your nervous system and practicing pranayama can improve your mental and emotional state this is why recently, breathing techniques are practiced by psychologists and psychotherapists.

How to do it?

You can start with a simple observation of your breath. This gives you a mental point of focus that will help you in calming the overthinking mind. When your mind is relaxed you can think steadily, and your emotional instabilities decrease. This gives you a sense of well-being, which helps in self-management when dealing with fear, anger, agitation, confusion, and confrontation. Pranayama helps you to draw senses inwards, deepen awareness, and expand consciousness. Personally, often while practicing pranayama I have excellent ideas or solutions to problems.

Start with Building your Awareness of Breathing

(ask someone to read it for you)

  • ·Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

  • Swivel your feet so your big toes are closer together than your inner heels, then lean your knees together so holding them in place is effortless.

  • Have your arms out by your sides, palms facing down.

  • Close your eyes.

  • Fully focus on your breathing

  • Do you feel where your breath comes from?

  • Observe which part of your body moves first as you breathe in.

  • What happens next?

  • Observe your body movements when you inhale.

  • What happens to your lower and upper abdomen?

  • How do the ribcage and chest work?

  • Is there anything happening at the back?

  • What is happening to your shoulders, throat, face, and nostrils?

  • Does anything change at the pelvis?

  • Absorb yourself fully in your breathing.

  • You are one with your breath.

  • Your breath rises and falls with the rhythm of ocean waves.

How do you feel about the expansion?

2. Now focus on your exhalation

  • From where do you exhale?

  • Where does the movement begin?

  • Where does your exhalation end?

  • Are the movements in the torso as clearly separated as in your inhalation?

  • Can you feel the strength of the energy?

3. Accept the support of the earth each time and do not shrink but let yourself sink.

  • Count the length of inhalation and exhalation, which one is longer?

  • Which one is easier?

  • Focus on the quality of breathing. Is it deep or shallow?

  • How rhythmic is it?

  • Is it smooth or rigid?

  • Is it soothing?

4. Do not hurry to the next inhalation, take your time to fully inhale and exhale. Wait until it is finished before you take your next inhale. It takes time to exhale all the used air from the alveoli. Don’t ‘squeeze’ the last air out and let it flow. When you realise that you try too hard just release it.

5. Be aware of the time of your exhalation before your next inhalation. There is a moment before your lungs demand air so do not grasp for the next breath. Enjoy the pause, a moment of calmness, as still as a deep, calm pond. The exhalation disappears into it, and then the stillness gives birth to the inhalation.

During contemplation of this stillness, you may find the pause lengthening naturally.

  • Attune yourself to what happens at the top of the inhalation before you feel the need for exhaling. Pause again. Enjoy the moment, relax, and sink into the moment.

  • These pauses divide the breath into four parts: an exhalation, a pause, an inhalation, and a pause.

  • Emerge into every part of your breath, there are not two identical breaths. Befriend your breath.

  • Take some time to contemplate the influence of this practice on your mind than roll over to sit up.

  • You have just learned how to calm your mind and be absorbed at the moment.

This is an introduction to discovering your breath. When you are ready, start an even breath, where you inhale and exhale the same amount of time. Inhalation - counting 5 times, exhalation counting 5 times. Practice this breathing awareness for a month and see how you feel.

Storage of Prana

Prana can be stored in your body mainly in the solar plexus. When you breathe you store some prana, but not as much when you do it consciously. A person who has an abundance of universal energy has vitality and strength. Yogis get many psychic powers through the practice of pranayama although they do not show their powers because they might lose them and get awful consequences. You can restore yourself through pranayama (alternate breathing exercise) and focusing your thoughts and prana to the solar plexus.

Alternate Breathing Exercise

Sit in any siting pose e.g., Swastika Asana/Easy Sit Pose

Keep the spine, neck, and head in a straight line.

Month 1. Single Nostril Breathing

Close your right nostril with your right thumb.

Inhale slowly through the left nostril (counting mentally OM 5 times), and exhale through the left nostril (counting mentally OM 10 times). Repeat 15-20 times.

Close your left nostril with your right ring and pinkie fingers, and inhale through the right nostril. Counting OM 5 times for inhalation and 10 times for exhalation. Repeat 15-20 times.

Inhale and exhale naturally and effortlessly.

Month 2. Alternate Nostril Breathing

Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Now close the left nostril immediately with your right ring and pinkie fingers. Remove your thumb from the right nostril and exhale through that nostril.

Now, without pausing, inhale through the right nostril. Close the right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left, as previously. The proportion of inhalation is 1:2 as in the previous exercise.

I wonder about your experience, let me know if you managed to calm your mind and energise your body. There are other pranayama techniques that you can read about in my previous posts. Still, there is more to explore. Good luck and stay full of vitality and energy.

The next week I will write about all planets in Aries.

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