Newsletter May 2014
PRANAYAMA - Breathing Practices to Increase Shakti
The word pranayama is comprised of two roots: prana plus ayama. Prana means ‘vital energy’ or ‘life force'. Ayama is defined as ‘extension’ or ‘expansion’. Therefore, the word pranayama means extension or expansion of prana. Prana in itself is considered the life force, the Shakti, which sustains the universe and the human body. When flowing well, it enhances health and vitality. Lack of prana or blocked prana is the cause of mental and physical imbalances.
On a physiological level, during pranayama practice the blood is enriched with oxygen and toxins are eliminated from the body. Different types of pranayama affect the body and mind in various subtle ways. For example, pranayama can have heating, vitalizing, cooling or calming effects.
Each person needs a selection of pranayamas particularly suited to them. Pranayama should always be learned under guidance of a fully trained teacher.
The pranayamas below are beneficial for most people and particularly helpful for many women’s needs:
Bhramari (bee breath) - relieves stress, alleviates anger, anxiety and insomnia. Reduces high blood pressure and speeds up the healing of body tissue
Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) - induces tranquility, clarity and concentration. Lowers stress and anxiety. Leads to states of meditation and spiritual awakening
Prana Mudra (invocation of energy) -awakens the perception of vital energy and distributes it within the body. See image below