Pranayama is the fourth limb of yoga.  Pranayama is made of two separate words.  Prana is the life force within us that can be described as something that flows with us and provides vitality.   Prana can also be described as something that is infinite and present everywhere.  Ayama means to stretch or extend.

Pranayama practice is done sitting in a one place for an extended period of time with our spine held erect.  This requires that the sitting posture be comfortable and effortless so that we can totally focus on breathing.  The free flow of Prana within our bodies is essential for emotional well-being and results in happiness, peace, contentment, and vitality.  In this state of mind, our breathing is deep, relaxed, even paced, and complete.  This free flow of Prana is reflected in, relaxed, even paced, and complete breathing.

When the Prana flow is restricted, the breathing is labored, rapid, and incomplete.  This represents a state of mind where we are unhappy, angry, fearful, anxious, and tired.  By focusing on our breathing, and shifting the breathing towards a more relaxed, deep, and even pace, we can clear and remove emotional blocks in our system by the practice of Pranayama.  In a way, we are influencing the flow of Prana in our bodies by focusing on breathing.

Pranayama can improve mood, mental alertness and enhance memory by sending more blood to the brain.  Pranayama can calm an agitated or angry mind.  When you are feeling lethargic and dull, mindful breathing techniques can help you restore energy.  Pranayama will also help you find the “Observer” within you and thus help you recognize an emotional response before it gets in the way of what you want to accomplish.  When you become aware of what your triggers are Pranayama gives you the space to get grounded.

Pranayama practice helps in altering emotional and mental States.  Mindful breathing allows you to slow down and self-reflect when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed.  Practicing breathing at work will help you slow down a conversation, have more time to observe what is being said, stay grounded, and give a more thoughtful response.  When you are able to successfully slow down a conversation, the other person in the conversation will slow down to.  Slowing subsequently improves quality of breathing and will shift energy on both sides of the conversation allowing for more connection and deeper understanding.

During the early days of pranayama practice it is best to seek the guidance of an experienced teacher and start your practice of pranayama with the teacher.

About Kammitment:  Led by scientist and life-coach Kamalesh (Kam) Rao, Kammitment helps one realize and make a commitment towards self-actualization, through tailored leadership coaching workshops and programs for students and professionals in all stages of their lives, by drawing upon the time-tested principles of Yoga and Mindfulness.  Kam has spent 20 years as a scientist and a manufacturing professional in the pharmaceuticals industry, and continues to consult with the industry.  In his free time he leads executive coaching programs for Fortune 100 clients.  A certified Yoga instructor, Kam lives in Oakland, CA and is an active volunteer in the Bay Area community when he is not perfecting the next Pretzel pose in Yoga and tapping into its myriad benefits.  For further information, please email [email protected]

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