Breathing techniques can help us slow our metabolism, alkalinize our body, activate our rest-and-digest nervous system, change our brain chemistry and boost the immune system.
Pranayama is a yogic breathing technique aimed at controlling and expanding our vital force though controlling the breath. Prana is sanskrit for vital energy or life force. Ayama means expansion.
The breath-energy connection
There is a correlation between the breaths per minute and the life span of animals. The slower we breathe, the longer we live. When we breathe slowly, we can allow our body to absorb more oxygen with fewer breaths and this is more energy is efficient.
Pranayama Breathing can flush out stress hormones in minutes.
We can get rid of the stress hormone with slow breathing. Slow breathing will slow our heart rate, metabolism, flush out cortisol (stress hormones), produce endorphins and oxytocin (pleasure and empathy hormones). Mind are body are interconnected!
A study by Sarah Laza at Harvard Med School showed that 10 mins of slow breathing eliminated traces of cortisone. The subjects practiced Inhaling for 5 seconds and exhaling for 10 seconds on each round of breathing.
Breathing practices as an easier way into Meditation
The practice of pranayama requires focus. Pranayama helps us prepare developing our concentration as the practice requires different breathing counts and holding the breath for a number of seconds. When we focus our mind in one point (like the breath) we easy into the meditative state.
“Doing Meditation is like eating rice, you have to cook it first”. - Roshan Nagpure, Yoga Teacher.