If you keep up with us on Instagram, you know we love a good ritual. We strive to incorporate even the smallest of them into our everyday routines. From dry brushing, to oil cleansing, to our evening cup of tea— pranayama has now joined the order. "Prana" is the vital life force that sustains all of creation (known as "chi," "ki," or "qi" in other Eastern traditions). Controlling one’s prana through breathing exercises steadies the mind and cleanses the body, thus boosting the overall health and well-being of the practitioner. Pranayama is often featured in yoga classes as a way to offer a more complex form of breath work. By focusing on your breath and creating new breath patterns, you can help ease anxiety and depression, obtain better self-awareness, and even sleep better throughout the night. If you don't have time for a full asana practice, pranayama is something that can be done easily anywhere. Experience mindfulness in a new and enlightening way:
- Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position.
- Rest one hand on your belly and one hand on your rib cage.
- Close your eyes, and breathe deeply but naturally.
- Begin to focus your awareness on the breath as it moves in and out of your body.
- Feel the lift of your belly and the expansion of your ribs on your inhalations; and the slight compression of your ribs and drop of your belly as you exhale.
- Next, bring your bottom hand to your chest, just below your collarbone. Breathe all the way into this area and allow your chest to rise slightly; then exhale and let it go.
- Feel your belly lift, ribs expand, and chest lift as you inhale; on your exhalations, notice how your chest drops, ribs contract, and belly lowers.
- Release your arms and focus your mind on your breath, inhaling and exhaling fully.
We all need tools sometimes— we recommend pranayama using the Living Libations Salt Inhaler, or the Therapeutic Eye Pillow from Bodha.
Information via Everyday Yoga.