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Pranayama – Breathing control
“Pranayama is control of Breath”. “Prana” is Breath or vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life force, and “ayama” means control.
Before practicing Pranayama in seated position, lie down on your back ( Shavasana pose) to focus on your breathing. Breath evenly, and focus on filing every part of your lungs with air. The oxygen will fill your lungs from the bottom to the top. First, your diaphragm expands to allows the bottom of your lungs to fill in the abdomen region. Air then fills the middle of your lungs within the rib cage, and finally reaches the top of your lungs where you can feel your chest rising up. Both sides of your chest should rise equally. Most people breath shallow filling up only the top of their lungs with air, and forgetting to breath fully using middle and bottom of the lungs, keeping a largely portion of their lungs deprived of proper nourishment. When you are ready to practice Pranayama in a comfortable seated position, begin by placing one hand on your chest and the other on your abdominal. This will help you observe your breath. Close your eyes, lift up out of your spine, tuck your chin slightly toward your sternum, and listen to your own breath as your rib cage and abdominal expand and contract. Focus on the pathway that your breath travels, the rhythm, and the texture of the sound.