Breathing is a vital activity that we perform everyday. From the first breath we take until our last, the mechanism of breathing is automatic and does not require our conscious effort.
Importance of breathing to the body:
- the intake of oxygen, an essential nutrient for brain, nerve and organ function
- the removal of wast products (eg carbon dioxide and toxins)
Pranayama is the yoga practice of breath control. Roughly translated “prana” means life force and “yama” means discipline. There are various breathing techniques used in a yoga practice, either on their own or with asanas (poses).
A simplified version that stays true to the spirit of pranayama can be practised by travellers experiencing stress and/or jet lag.
- Sit up straight in you airline seat, inhale deeply and slowly. Good posture enables the lungs to fully expand to take in more oxygen.
- Take five in a park soon after arrival at your destination. Inhale as much oxygen as the surrounding trees and plants can give. They will reciprocate by taking in the carbon dioxide you exhale.
- Beaches are more than just places to work on your tan and do water sports. At sunrise or sunset, engage in your breathing practice as you inhale the healing ions that saltwater offers.
The addition of aromatherapy can enhance this experience. Place a drop of a stress/anxiety reducing essential oil on a tissue (eg geranium or neroli) and inhale as you perform your own breath discipline. Use the same method with a relaxing essential oil (eg lavender, bergamot) prior to bed time.
Article: Pranayama – The Art of Yoga Breathing