Developing a deep breathing practice can help manage stress, improve concentration and blood circulation, help with tissue restoration and promote an overall sense of wellbeing. Focusing on taking deep breaths helps us regulate our autonomic nervous systems which means we can positively influence this system that is usually working outside of our awareness.
Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient practice that originated in India over 3,000 years ago. In Ayuveda, the use of herbal compounds, special diets, and other unique health practices are promoted and valued. One of the most basic practices in Ayurveda is deep breathing or pranayma. The word pranayama is derived from two Sanskrit words: prana (life force) and yama (control). Deep breathing allows you to control your life force. Most yoga practices include some form of pranayamic breathing.
Basic Breathing (Pranayama)
Pranayamic breathing is performed while you are sitting down with your spine, neck, and head in a straight line. In yoga, this posture is called the lotus pose. You begin by breathing in slowly through the nose and out slowly through the mouth in a rhythmic pattern. While you breath, allow your mind to clear by welcoming any thought that comes to mind, acknowledging it as being neither good nor bad, and then letting that thought go. Continue doing this mental exercise while you practice your pranayama.
Kalpabhati is a specific type of pranayama designed to help with purification of the body. It involves forced exhalation to rid the lower lungs of stale air and allow fresh intake of oxygen rich air. This helps cleanse the entire respiratory system. Kalpabhati increases the amount of oxygen in the body and helps clear your mind and improve concentration.