In yoga, the word prana means life force energy. Pranayama is sanskrit word for the science of breathing. So when you are breathing, you are bringing life force energy into your body. Breathing helps in every form of exercise. It calms the mind, relaxes the body, and releases tension and stress. It purifies the cells, organs, and lungs. You are literally cleansing your body from the inside out by breathing in fresh oxygen, bringing new energy into your body, and releasing old energy.
When people are stressed, they tend to hold their breath. Chronic stress is not good for our bodies and can lead to disease. It also makes you age faster because our nervous system has to work overtime. Stress reduction techniques that involve conscious, deep breathing, such as yoga and meditation, release stress because they calm the nervous system and allow the mind to rest. When our mind is more relaxed, our body is too.
There is a direct correlation between the mind and body, between our emotional state and our health, between our stress levels and our immune system. Breathing relaxes our mind and reduces tension which helps us feel better. When we feel better emotionally, we are healthier. Modern western medicine is realizing the link between our physical state and our emotional state. More and more doctors are prescribing meditation and stress reduction techniques like deep breathing and yoga to their patients as part of their healing process.
When we concentrate on our breath, we allow our mind to rest from all its incessant thoughts. This allows us to feel more connected to our body and to be alive in the present moment. When you’re not living in the present, you’re not really living your life fully. Time passes by and you hardly notice. Life passes and you barely experienced it. Many of us spend so much time regretting past mistakes or anxiously awaiting an uncertain future, afraid of what might go wrong, instead of being in the flow and experiencing the moments as they come. When you are living more in the present, any problems that might arise are more easily solved because you are focused. Breathing under pressure helps you to stay calm and present. Breathing gives you energy and makes you feel more alive.
A breathing meditation with positive affirmations:
Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor (you can lie down if sitting requires too much effort).
Start to breathe gently and deeply into the heart area so that your whole chest moves as you breathe. As you exhale, feel your shoulders relax. Notice the how you feel more present in your body as you breathe into your chest and back. As you breathe into your chest, feel how it opens your heart and puts you in a more receptive state.
Now, as you inhale and draw the breath into your chest, think to yourself "I am”.
Then, as your exhale, think a positive word or statement to yourself such as: light, abundant, prosperous, in perfect health, becoming, all that I wish to be, successful, joy, love, peace, guided on the my path, realizing my life’s work, wisdom, harmony, beauty, vitality, ready for all of the good that the universe has in store for me, allowing, ease, calm, relaxed, expansion, confidence, pure positive energy.
Continue to do this- inhaling as you think ‘I am” and exhaling thinking a positive word or statement that resonates with you. Feel the positive emotion that each word provokes. When you are ready to stop, softly open your eyes. You are complete.
In love and light,