Our lovely yoga teacher Maya will teach us something new this month: Pranayama. If you have never heard of Pranayama before, don’t worry. We will get a closer look at this breath-focused practice during our Healthy After Work on 9th of May.
Pranayama, which literally means “to extend the vital life force”, is an incredibly rich practice made up of many breathing techniques. Some are easy enough for a child to do. And some of them are performed only by advanced practitioners.
Maya, why is it so important to breathe?
“Breathing is the first thing you do when you come to Earth. Air is the very essence of life. You can live for weeks without food, days without water, and how long without air? Maybe six minutes?”
What are the benefits of daily breath-focused practice?
“It relieves anxiety, stress and tension in the body, lowers the level stress hormones in the bloodstream and leads to greater focus and thought control. Breathing not only with your upper third of our lungs but also with Diaphragm will lengthen neck muscles, shoulders and chest helping you to have a better posture.”
Gentle diaphragmatic breathing
Though the practice of Pranayama is safest and most effective when guided by an experienced teacher, there are several simple techniques that anyone can do by itself at any time to transform not only the breath but also your state of mind and quality of life. Maya will now guide you through a gentle diaphragmatic breathing.
Benefits: Quiets and calms the entire nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety, improving self-awareness.
How to: Sit comfortably on the floor (chair) with a straight spine. You can also practice lying on the floor. Place a palm on your abdomen and breathe comfortably for a few moments, noticing the length and quality of your breath. Does the breath feel tense? Strained? Uneven? Shallow? Simply observe the breath without any judgement. Then gradually begin to make your breathing as relaxed and smooth as possible, trying to make a pause between each inhale and exhale.
Once the breath feels relaxed, notice the movement of the body. With an inhale expand your belly forward naturally, as you exhale gently contract abdomen to support the movement of the diaphragm and experience the pleasure of giving yourself a full, relaxed breath.
Continue to practice for 10 to 20 breaths.
Have a great, abdominal breathing month!
Motivation May Events
- Healthy After Work 9.5. at 16:30 @ Suomitalo (Lönnrotinkatu 5)
- Yoga with Maya every Thursday @ Suomitalo
- Member Mindfulness 15.5. @ Fredrikinkatu