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Originally published June 9 2009

Pranayama: Benefit from Deep Breathing

by Sheryl Walters

(NaturalNews) The modern day lifestyle can be very fast and furious leaving many people feeling depressed tired and basically unable to cope. While these symptoms are not good they are simply our body's way of telling us to slow down and to take a few deep breaths.

Most of us think that breathing is an involuntary act and that there is no right or wrong way to do it. But there is, and most of us do it wrong. Pranayama is a yoga breathing exercise that is used to prepare participants for meditation and to help them on their spiritual journey. It teaches us that we should take note of our breathing, and that we should use the full extent of our lungs. Basically it teaches us how to breathe properly.

The Pranayama exercise that yoga beginners tend to learn first is called the Three Part Breath or Dirga Pranayama. In ancient traditions it was thought best to perform the exercise lying down. This way the participants can really feel their breath flowing through their body, but it is not essential to feel the full effects of the exercise. It is called the three part breath because it is performed in three stages, first using the bottom of the lungs, then the middle and lastly the top. This means that the full capacity of the lungs is being used instead of the 20% that most of us scrape by on.

When we are young we naturally breathe this way, deeply and using all of our lungs. But as our lives become stressful due to work, financial pressures and kids our breathing tends to become fast and shallow. This means that our lungs do not fill up with enough oxygen and are therefore unable to distribute the optimum amount around our body. Many health problems ranging from heart disease to sleep disorders may in fact be due to what is known as oxygen starvation. We all know that our body needs oxygen to function properly. Our brain and muscles feed on it making us feel more alert and energized. Our lymphatic system, which is the system that rids the body of toxins, is controlled by the simple motion of breathing deeply.

The great thing about this type of deep Pranayama breathing is that it can be performed almost anywhere. It will help keep your mind calm and clear in any situation and done regularly it can give you an amazing sense of euphoria. This is because deep breathing is our built in defense against stress. It lowers your heart rate and blood pressure while easing muscle tension. So next time life seems to be getting on top of you just stop, take a step back, breathe deeply and try to use your lungs' full capacity. You will be amazed by the results.

About the author

Sheryl is a kinesiologist, nutritionist and holistic practitioner.
Her website provides the latest research on preventing disease, looking naturally gorgeous, and feeling emotionally and physically fabulous. You can also find some of the most powerful super foods on the planet including raw chocolate, purple corn, and many others.

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