PRANAYAMA “The 4th Limb of Yoga”
Prana: life force energy
Pranayama is the control of the breath. It is the foundation of your yoga practice. The yogi’s say if you can control prana, you can control all forces of the Universe, mental and physical.
For thousands of years, there has been significant curiosity surrounding the way we breathe to extend our life and improve the quality of our performance.
Prana is our vital life force. It works through the mind and in the heart, in the breath, and in digestion. It works in walking, running, talking and thinking; and in projecting the personality in all ways. Five types of prana are responsible for various pranic activities in the body. They are;
Out of these 5, Prana and Apana are most important. Prana is upward flowing and Apana is downward flowing.
What is the difference between Prana and Oxygen?
To clarify the difference between oxygen and prana, oxygen is a gas and prana is a subtle energy that is within oxygen. It is also within food, sunlight, water, the air in general. The body absorbs prana from the elements that contain it, and uses it in the body for every function that the body performs.
So what is all the fuss about?
These days, we are becoming even more curious about the breath. We are allowing time to focus on the breath. It quickly balances our energy and stabilizes our mood. Long term, the practice can help with al sorts of things, including improved focus and, of course, increased self-awareness.
We are learning various techniques to reduce stress, anxiety, insomnia and minimise risk of depression, schizophrenia and other chronic mental illness or disease.
Pranayama breathing techniques are being incorporated in to retreats for Free Diving, Scuba Diving, Surfing and other watersports to increase lung capacity and maximise time under water.
Special breathing techniques improve performance in sports such as short and long distance, running, track and field, cycling, swimming, gymnastics and dancing.
For more information on Pranayama, check out the Loka Yoga School Courses & Retreats. We specialise in 8 specific pranayama breathing techniques throughout our training and students learn how to teach at least 4 of them during our teacher training. This incredibly powerful practice can then be used to work in various fields, including the above-mentioned.