If you missed Part 1 check it out here!
Last week, we talked about what Pranayama actually is - the control or expansion of the breath. But what does that mean really? What does the practice of Pranayama actually do? Well, as you learn to practice different Pranayama techniques (I'll provide you with two great ones next week!) you will learn to actually change the depth of your breath, lengthen your inhales and exhales, and even change the rate of your pattern of breathing. But besides these physical aspects of the breath itself, there is much more Pranayama has to offer.
I'm sure you've experienced someone say this, either to you personally or to someone you know. Think back to the situations you may have heard those words uttered. What state of mind was the person being given this instruction in? If I had to guess, I would say they were in distress - anxious or angry - and were being told to breathe as a way to relieve some of those feelings.
Pranayama can actually alter the state of your nervous system, or in other words, breathing properly and consciously, can change your overall mood and energy.
Because I am still a student of Pranayama, and certainly not an expert, I am going to try and solidify this thought with someone else's very eloquent words on the topic of Pranayama:
"When you learn the breathing techniques it will positively affect your actions and thoughts. Every thought we have changes the rhythm of our breath. When we are happy breathing is rhythmic and when we are stressed breathing is irregular and interrupted. Mastering the art of breathing is a crucial step towards self-healing and survival." - Nahid Ameen
So - again in a very small nutshell - that is what your Pranayama practice can do for you. Check back next week to learn two of my favorite beginner Pranayama breathing techniques!