The word Pranayama is derived from two words, ‘prana’ which is the vital life force or energy that exists in all things, and ‘yama’ which means expansion or extension. Therefore, pranayama means ‘extension of the dimension of prana.’
It is the breath that influences the flow of prana through the different energy channels called nadis or meridians that exist in the body.
When learning breathing and pranayama practices, it is very important to start at the beginning and build a strong foundation, starting with basic breathing techniques. Only then should you move to more advanced pranayama practices.
The first stage is to understand and connect with the breath, developing awareness of the breath and it’s rhythm.
We can learn so much about our current wellbeing simply by observing the breath. The speed of the breath. It’s rhythm. Whether there is any tension in our breathing. The length of the pauses between each breath. By understanding the pattern of the breath in relation to the state of our mind, we begin to cultivate awareness.
Through breathing and pranayama practices great physiological benefits can be gained. However, the biggest benefit is to learn tools that are able to change our current state of being.
Just by noticing the breath we are able to change our current state of being. For example, if we are in a stressful situation, observing the breath helps to bring us to a state of calmness. It takes us out of the stress response and brings us back into the present moment. Which in all the eastern practices and philosophies, such as Yoga and Buddhism, they tell us this where we are meant to be!
At Grassroots Yoga and Meditation we use a systematic methodology to introduce and teach breathing and pranayama practices to our students.
It is essential to build a strong foundation with basic breathing methods, and then build progressively over time to more advanced practices.
Pranayama practices are divided into different categories. We teach them according to needs of our students. Each category and practice has its purpose and benefits, so depending on the personal situation of the student, a practice can be beneficial or contraindicated.
As an example, a student who suffers from anxiety, we wouldn’t use vitalising pranayama practices as they could over stimulate the mind. Instead we would instruct Tranquilising Pranayama Practices that calm and quieten the mind.
The categories of pranayama we teach are:
- Basic Breathing Methods
- Vitalising Pranayamas
- Balancing Pranayamas
- Tranquilising Pranayamas
Classes and courses with Grassroots Yoga and Meditation are offered in Catalan, Spanish or English. We also offer classes online.
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