The breath is an integral part of yoga practice. Without focus on breath work, Yoga cannot be complete. Pranayama is the ‘yogic art of breath’. It’s a practice that needs to be cultivated with time, dedication and maturity. Pranayama is a seated practice in which the participant is led through a variety of breathing techniques.
Pranayama techniques are offered in a structured, comprehensive and thorough manner. Helping serious yoga students and teachers understand the practice so as to apply it in their life and yoga practice outside the walls of the studio.
Origins of Pranayama
Pranayama is thousands of years old. Breathing, or the breath, is an integral part of what makes up yoga. The practice originated in India, and is the 4th limb of yoga preceded by asanas or the physical practice.
Nowadays, a pranayama class is hard to come by because of the one or all of the following reasons:
- To practice pranayama, the student needs to have mastered a good amount of asana, or have a well developed physical yoga practice. This maturity in physical practice will help the student sit comfortably for an extended duration of time.
- The physical practice improves mental focus and concentration. This will help one pay more attention in pranayama and also one will benefit from the heightened body awareness from the asana practice.
- Compared to asana/physical practice, pranayama appears to be less dynamic to the naked or uninformed eye as there is less movement.
- Teachers who have understood pranayama are rare to come across. Those who can bring this ancient practice to life and break it down for all levels of practitioners.
- People are not used to being seated for an extended duration of time.
- The western world is obsessed with yoga poses and look at it as a form of a workout.
Meaning of Pranayama
‘Prana’ = vital force or breath
‘Ayama’ = extension, stretching, lengthening
Pranayama = Extension of breath
Benefits of Pranayama
There are many benefits from the practice of Pranayama. But we can broadly classify these into 2 categories –
- Physical benefits
- Psychological benefits
Physical benefits of Pranayama:
- Enhances lung capacity
- Improves respiration
- Increases oxygen intake
- Helps to expel toxins
- Regulates internal body temperature
- Boosts immunity and resistance to infections
- Improves overall heath and well-being
- Good for the spine and pelvis
- Increases body awareness
Psychological benefits of Pranayama:
- Lowers experience of stress
- Helps one to deal more effectively with stress
- Brings a sense of calm and control mentally
- Enhances mental clarity
- Improves focus and concentration
- Improves self-confidence
- Helps to feel more grounded and centered
- Removes unnecessary thoughts
- Prepares us to deal with difficult situations more effectively
- Brings a sense of peace
- Is considered to be a semi-meditation practice
Spring Pranayama Series
Aham Yoga offers 4 pranayama sessions through out the year. One in each season. This helps us to create a strong and clear foundation of pranayama for each student.We encourage all students to be consistent in attending the 4 sessions so as to grow in their practice of pranayama, but if you are new, feel free to sign up. We will take care of getting you accustomed to the practice.
All classes are led by our founder, Arundhati Baitmangalkar. She is one of the leading yoga teachers in the area, and the only one who offers pranayama classes regularly. Having learned pranayama back in India from her masters, her classes year after year are well attended. Students find that they are able to follow the instructions easily. Questions are answered and modifications are offered as needed.
How to Enroll?
- Optimally, we recommend that you sign up for the entire pranayama series, 5 classes: $100 (early bird price $90 until April 10th).
- Calendar issues? Drop-in rate is $20 at the door. Please arrive 10 minutes early to sign up. First come, first serve. Full series enrollments take priority.
What to Bring/Need to know?
- Carry a yoga mat or rent one at the studio
- Wear comfortable yoga clothes
- Try to not eat a heavy breakfast before class. Juice or tea is okay.
- Too much caffeine may interfere with the practice
- Get good sleep the previous night
- Let us know if you have any conditions that will prevent you from being seated on the floor
- Arrive ahead of time especially if its your first time at Aham yoga
- Arrive ahead of time and attend all the classes