Improve your Energy with Pranayama

Breathe………to improve your health and energy

How crazy is it that I am talking to you about breathing.  It’s a simple act and something your body is designed to do automatically.  However, somewhere along the line we have we seem to have unconsciously become incompetent at perfecting this. Remember energy = life.

The Yogis understood the importance of breath and oxygen for both physical and spiritual practice.  They created a series of exercises called Pranayama  – prana – translates to “life force” and yama translates to “flow” – so pranayama is flow of life force.   They understood the flow of breath as life force.

 

Let’s look at why breathing correctly is so important for optimal health:

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  1. Oxygen is the most vital nutrient in your body. You can survive without food for a few weeks, without water for a few days, but without oxygen your cells and vital organs will start to die within a few minutes.
  2. It is essential for the proper and efficient functioning of the brain, nerves, Glands and other internal organs.
  3. If the brain does not get proper supply of this essential nutrient, it will cause degradation of all the vital organs of the body.
  4. The brain requires more oxygen than any other organ. If it doesn’t get enough, the result is mental sluggishness, negative thoughts, depression and, eventually, vision and hearing declines.

Oxygen purifies the blood stream and promotes good health

One of the major secrets of energy and rejuvenation is a purified blood stream. The quickest and most effective way to purify the blood stream is by taking in extra supplies of oxygen from the air we breathe. The Breathing Exercises given here are the most effective methods ever devised for saturating the blood with oxygen. So here are a few things about what oxygen can do to your body:

  • Oxygen recharges the body’s batteries.
  • Most of your energy requirements come, not from food, but from the air we breathe.
  • By purifying the blood stream, every part of the body benefits, as well as the mind.
  • Oxygen is critical for energy production and is a major component to creating ATP (Adeonosine Triphosphate)
  • Lowered production of ATP, results in lowered vitality, disease and premature aging.
  • Correct breathing brings mental clarity and peace

3 things that can prevent proper breathing:

  1. Poor posture. Your posture can determine how deep you breathe.  If you are slouching, leaning forward, sitting with crossed arms, you are restricting air flow to the lower area of your lungs
  2. Sedentary lifestyle
  3. Stress

You can delve into the subject of pranayama and continue learning and developing the practice over years.  Today we are going to grasp the basics that create the foundation for a good practice.

Exercise:

Look at yourself in the mirror, breathe in and out as you would normally breathe and watch your shoulders.  Do they rise up and down?  Does your stomach move at all?  Most of us use only a quarter of the total capacity of our lungs – the top quarter.  However, the richest flow of blood is in the lower lungs – the bottom part!

When you breathe properly the diaphragm contracts and the abdomen protrudes, therefore allowing the lungs to expand and fill with air.  By breathing deeper and slower we can encourage more oxygen to flow through the lungs and reach the areas where it is needed.  You need oxygen in the blood to release ATP (adenosine triphosphate) – without ATP our blood cannot produce energy.   The brain dies when we stop breathing, not because of the lack of oxygen, but from the lack of energy.  When we exercise we need more energy, so to get more energy means we need to get more oxygen – this is why we breathe more deeply when we exercise.  To be out of breath means we can’t get enough oxygen to meet our energy needs!

  • Place one hand on your stomach and as you take in a deep breath allow your stomach to inflate and expand out. Keep your shoulders still.  As you breathe out gently press your stomach and allow it to retract (think how a balloon expands when you blow air into it and deflates as you allow the air to come out).
  • Now breathe in for a count of 1 and hold the breath for a count of 4. Now breathe out slowly for a count of 2.
  • Repeat 5 times (this can be done as often as necessary, at least 3 times daily).
  • As your lung capacity increases you can increase the breathe counts (see table below).
  • Do you feel light headed after doings this? Finally you have oxygen going to the brain – your blood flow has increased and oxygen in the cells!
In Breath Count  Hold Count Out Breath Count
1 4 2
2 8 4
3 12 6
4 16 8
5 20 10
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