The word pranayama is comprised of two roots: ‘prana’ plus ‘ayama’.
Ayama means stretch, extend or expand and describes the action of pranayama. Prana means vital energy or life force. It is the force that exists in all things, whether animate or inanimate. It is that which is infinitely everywhere. With reference to us humans prana can be described as the vitality that flows continuously within us keeping us alive. The amount of prana within us has a direct effect on our mood, our energy levels and state of mind.
The practise of pranayama can be described as extension or expansion of the dimension of prana, its purpose being to improve the body’s capacity to retain and increase prana in the body. In order to increase the body’s ability to retain prana, the practises of pranayama purify the energy channels (nadis). Over time and with regular practise the channels become more purified influencing ones physcial and mental well being.
Pranayama consists of inhalation (puraka), exhalation (rechaka), internal retention (antar kumbhaka), external retention (bahya kumbhaka), locks (bandhas) and hand gestures (mudras).
Breathwork includes conscious breathing practises without the use of locks and can be used to accompany pranayama practises.
- Awakening of vital energy-strengthening internal systems resulting in better overall health, greater alertness, sense of well being and vitality
- Reduces stress
- Uplifts mood and energy level
- Influences the organs and physiological systems of the body, including the respiratory system, digestive and eliminatory system, cardiac system, endocrine system, nervous system
- Greater concentration
- Experience of higher consciouness
- Peace of mind and clarity
The breathwork & pranayama classes focus on breath awareness techniques, kriyas (cleansing practises), traditional pranayama techniques and mudras (hand gestures).
‘The purpose of pranayama is not to learn how to breathe properly or better, but to awaken the inherent energy or prana within’
‘When the molecules of the mind are transformed higher qualities such as love, compassion and unity may arise’