- Eliminate stress, anxiety, irritation, and anger
- Reduce depression, insomnia and general fatigue
- Improve blood circulation, lung capacity, digestion & elimination
- Strengthen abdominal, diaphragm and chest muscles
- Strengthen heart and lungs, improve lung capacity
It is impossible to list all the benefits of Pranayama…but above are some of the most powerful and impressive ones. This is the first in a series of Pranayama (yogic breathing) articles. I will describe one Pranayama exercise per article.
The term Pranayama comes from 2 Sanskrit words: Prana (life force or vital energy) and ayama (control). So Pranayama is actually much more than a breathing technique, it is a control and increase of life force and energy itself, using this energy to create health in body, mind and spirit.
Complete Breath (3-Part Breath)
- Find either a comfortable seated position with the spine straight, or lie down on your back.
- Take a few deep breaths, relax the body, relax the mind.
- Take a slow and steady inhalation into the 3 chambers of the lungs
- Abdominal (feel the lower belly expand)
- Thoracic (feel the lower ribcage expand)
- Clavicular (feel the upper chest and shoulders expand)
- Reverse and exhale slowly and steadily, emptying the lungs from top to bottom.
- Make the exhalation complete by pressing the belly button into the spine to squeeze all remaining air out.
- Empty the mind completely, and just focus on the sensation of the breath.
- Do at least 5 minutes, going up to ½ hour when feeling comfortable enough.
Benefits: relaxes body and mind, strengthens abdominal, diaphragm and chest muscles as well as heart and lungs. Aids digestion and meditation, revitalizes entire system.
Contraindications: recent abdominal or lung surgery, full stomach.