Updated: Sep 23, 2020
These days, our everyday lives are filled with a sense of uncertainty and a need to constantly reassess. There’s also the overstimulation of being bombarded with an influx of information from all directions. Utilizing the ancient practices of Pranayama, asana and meditation is a superb way to cope with the current changes in our world and society. Learn more below!
Pranayama, or breath-work, is known to be one of the best ways to nurture and tone our parasympathetic nervous system (also known as the nervous system) that regulates our fight-flight-or-freeze response to stress. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the author describes pranayama as a way of breaking your unconscious breathing patterns and bringing mindfulness to breathing in a way that best benefits our nervous system. Rhythmic breathing through the nose and maintaining focus and awareness of the rhythm of the breath is a peaceful way to bring yourself into the moment and to create distance from stressful thoughts.
Asanas, also known as yoga poses, stretch, tone and strengthen the muscles, letting the body release extra stress through exertion and focus. Grounding poses, like pigeon pose, Malasana and wide-legged forward fold help to invite introspection and a connection to the earth and to our inner selves. Adding Pranayama to our asana practice helps to further deepen our awareness of our movements and relaxing and rejuvenating poses like mountain pose and Savasana help to tone our parasympathetic nervous system by allowing the practitioner to release and relax within the safe space of their practice.
Meditation goes hand-in-hand with Pranayama and your asana practice. A physical asana practice of poses was actually originally intended not to be the sole purpose of yoga but as a way of readying the body for sitting in quiet meditation. In these modern times we can use both asana and meditation as a way of releasing stress and reconnecting with our inner selves. Meditation might seem intimidating at first but viewing the practice as initially just taking a few minutes for yourself to simply focus on your breathing is a great way to cultivate the beginning of your practice. As you start to enjoy this time of inner reflection more and more you can start to add more time to your meditation schedule.
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