02 Jun Are you breathing right?
If we take a moment to observe our breathing, we may notice that we often take shallow breaths, breathe with our mouth, and/or breathe better with one nostril than the other.
Currently, there is a lot of awareness about our physical health and the importance of exercising every day. This body gives us all the experiences that make us who we are, and it is admirable that most of us understand our responsibilities towards this body, the vehicle that takes us on journey through life. However, did you know that this physical body is just one of the five layers of our being? Our physical body is called the Annamaya kosh (physical sheath). Scriptures tell us that as embodied beings, we have four more progressively subtler layers – Prāṇamaya kosh (energy sheath), Manomaya kosh (mind sheath) , Vijnamaya kosh ( Wisdom sheath) and Anandamaya kosh (bliss sheath).
Prāṇamaya is derived from two words – ‘prāṇ’ (life-giving energy) and ‘āyām’ (to extend). It is prāṇ that gives life and vitality to all the creatures of this cosmos, and everything that happens in the body is energized by prāṇ. This vital energy flows into our body through breath and moves around the body via nādis or channels. There are 72,000 nādis in the body, and when the prāṇ flows effortlessly and without any blockages through our nādis, we feel invigorated and experience an increased sense of well being. This layer connects our physical body with our mind. For a perfect body-mind balance, it is very important that we take proper care of this layer.
The ancient science of yoga informs us that the best way to take care of the Prāṇamaya kosh is by the regular practice of Prāṇāyām. Prāṇāyām is a systematic breathing exercise to increase the life force or the Prāṇ. There are many benefits of Prāṇāyām, including, but not limited to:
- Improving immunity and eliminating seasonal allergies
- Enhancing the performance of heart, lungs, digestive system, and kidneys
- Helping with weight loss
- Increasing energy levels
- Preventing diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases
- Eliminating acne and improves the skin
- Boosting concentration and performance
There are different types of Prāṇayam – Bhastrika, Anulom Vilom, Bhramari, Kapalbhathi, and many more. Each one has many benefits to offer, but it is very important to learn the proper technique to experience maximum benefits.
Dallas YogaFest is proud to present several prāṇayam sessions conducted by experienced teachers of local yoga studios. Mark your calendars for June 18, to come and learn this ancient science of health and vitality. Make a commitment to improve the quality of your life!