Pranayama: Stress Relief Yoga Breathing Technique


May 14, 2012

Medical experts have long suggested that stress plays an important part in impacting our ability to function at maximal levels. Studies have shown that stress plays an important role in producing hormonal imbalance. This hormonal imbalance in the body can produce pain, muscle tension, soreness and anxiety attacks. Therefore stress relief can be an important step towards prevention as well as management to improve physical performance and quality of life.

The word Pranayama is derived from 2 Sanskrit words “Prana” meaning life force/vital energy/the breath and “Ayama” meaning control. Pranayama is a controlled breathing technique that helps in maintaining energy flow and balance in the body. Breathing is a very important element of life and controlled breathing is necessary for all kinds of successful exercises.

Proper respiration/ breathing provides energy to different body systems/parts as well as removes toxic waste products from our body. This promotes relaxation. Pranayama helps in maintaining oxygen and carbon dioxide balance in our body and thereby connects our body, mind and spirit. An individual under stress or stressful conditions usually does not pay much attention to proper breathing, and this can lead to fast and shallow breathing. The result can be oxygen deprivation, which increases negative energy and stress in the body.

Benefits of Pranayama:

Proper respiration is a critical part of an individual’s life. Pranayama allows an individual to breathe fully and deeply, which helps in improving lung capacity, oxygen saturation as well as optimal functional ability.

  • Pranayama increases an individual’s ability to concentrate by relieving stress as well as promoting relaxation, harmony and peace of mind.
  • Many believe that Pranayama prevents initiation or progression of any pathological or disease conditions.
  • Pranayama also improves one’s self-control.
  • Pranayama helps to remove body waste products/toxins.
  • Pranayama improves the rate of metabolism of the body and has been show to help digestion.

In our daily life, we use many relaxation techniques to relieve stress. Pranayama is a deep breathing yoga technique; which is easy to understand, less time consuming and also supported by various peer reviewed studies and articles.

Things to keep in mind while performing Pranayama:

  • Do not hold the breath during this exercise.
  • Pranayama techniques are best done on an empty stomach (Morning hours or one or two hours after a meal).
  • Move at your own pace and modify the poses as needed in order to maintain alignment and easy breathing in every pose.
  • If you feel any discomfort, dizziness or pain during your practice, either modify the pose so that you are comfortable or take a few moments to rest.
  • It is very important that you listen to your body and practice Pranayama techniques in the manner that is the safest and most comfortable for you.

At the Compass Rehabilitation Center, we have trained experts ready to discuss the benefits of Pranayama for you.