To put it quite simply, breathing keeps us alive, it’s a function that the body performs instinctively, yet in this discipline, we are encouraged to cultivate greater awareness for the system through breath-work. Why is that?
The practice of breath in yoga is known as Pranayama. Prana = life force & Yama = control, however Ayama can be translated as ‘to extend’, so some would consider it as the practice of breath control or the practice of extending the breath.
Yoga consolidates the practice of body, breath & mind through Asana, Pranayama & Meditation. Yet what I find oddest is the amount of yoga teachers who turn to a completely different method for their breath practice. Pranayama has not only existed for longer, the range of techniques is extensive & each one offers a different type of support; naturally there’s one that complement Asana practices.
In yoga therapy, we study a person’s breath to evaluate how it’s affecting his/her Prana Vayus, which would be the ‘currents’ of life force energy that run throughout our bodies.
There are 5 x Vayus, with each one governing an area of the body whilst maintaining a specific set of functions -
Hongyi the yogi
Full-time yoga teacher & trainee yoga therapist in London. Eager to share, eager to learn!