“Just as the breeze disperses the clouds that cover the Sun, pranayama removes the clouds that hide the light of intelligence. “
Pranayama or prana control (vital energy or breathing). “The secret of the cosmic consciousness is intimately linked to the control of breath.”
Breathing is fundamental in the practice of yoga, yetit is not a simple technique and requires practice and training.
The word pranayama is composed of the roots “prana” and “ayama”. “Prana” means “life energy” and is present in all things, animate and inanimate. Although it is intimately related to breathing, it is much more subtle than air or oxygen. Everything that vibrates in the universe is prana. “Ayama” means extension, expansion, amplitude, prolongation, stretching. Therefore, the word pranayama means expansion of prana or vital energy.
Pranayama techniques use breathing to influence the flow of prana in the nadis or energy channels of the pranamaya kosha or energy body.
The breathing consists of four parts:
3.Antarana Kumbhaka: inhalation retention.
4.Bahya Kumbhaka: exhalation retention.
Retentions are the most important part of pranayamas. All movements, including breathing, create fluctuations in the mind (vittris). When the breathing stops, a state of “pause” is experienced and access to deeper levels of consciousness. The veil that covers the intelligence runs and the light penetrates vigorously in the deepest parts of the being.
There are three basic types of breathing that come together in what is known as full breathing. These three types include abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing, thoracic or intercostal breathing and clavicular or shallow breathing. In order to master the technique of full breathing, one must first practice it separately.
To practice abdominal breathing, you must focus on the abdomen, visualizing how it enlarges during inhalation, as if it were a balloon that inflates and deflates on exhalation. This type of breathing allows you to fill the lower part of the lungs for a greater intake of prana (vital energy).
The thoracic area is the second type of breathing, it is worked by widening the intercostal area for example, visualizing an accordion that opens when inhalation takes place and closes with the exhalation, this will result in a greater lung capacity and oxygenation of the body.
Finally, the upper part, the clavicular breathing, will be very useful at some times when you need to accelerate the breathing at the time of labor, or for a more shallow breathing.
The full breath is the sum of these three breaths in one. Beginning with abdominal breathing, followed by thoracic breathing, and ending with high breathing. And then exhaling, it is done in the opposite way, starting with the clavicle, bringing the ribs together and emptying the abdomen by bringing the navel to the spine, completely emptying the lungs It is important that the complete breathing is done in a dynamic way and in a straight spine posture so as not to hinder the passage and blocking of the air.
Breathing in Yoga is always done through the nose, except on special occasions or specific techniques, the reason for this is that the nose, with its villi, manages to filter the toxins that air can bring and allows a regulation of temperature, because it allows the air to warm up, which does not happen when breathing through your mouth. Another characteristic of yogic breathing is that it is always rhythmic, serving to regulate the energy (prana) and working to increase the depth, both in inhalation and exhalation.
Among the breathing techniques, one of the most important for pregnancy is known as Oceanic Breathing (Ujayi). This breathing is located in the throat, its particularity is that in the process of exhalation, the passage of air is dosed by partially closing the glottis, it is a feeling like swallowing something, this will result in a sound that resembles a wave breaking in the ocean. When practicing this type of breathing, it is useful to visualize a process of forming giant waves and how these break in the water, the sound that is created, produces a deep relaxation and intimate connection. The sound of this breathing is similar to that produced by certain people when they are sleeping deeply. The Ujayi or Oceanic Breathing is excellent because it allows you to connect with a continuous process without having to hold and block the air and thus, avoid being out of breath.
Our breathing is a tool that we have and knowing how to use it consciously opens us to a world of infinite possibilities. Begin by becoming aware of how our breath is like is the first step in getting to know our body, our emotions and our ability to influence any aspect of our life.