In this Keen on Yoga Podcast Harmony Slater discusses pranayama, ancient breathing practice. Breath work has become increasingly popular, as we look for ways to help lessen the anxiety in these uncertain times. Harmony has studied with Pattabhi Jois as well as the renowned Sri O.P Tiwariji. The later then head of the Kaivalydam Institute for research on yoga near Mumbai in South India.
In this interview, we discussed how best to build up a practice. In addition what breath to start with and the signs or symptoms that we are doing it effectively. Even without dealing with anxiety – pranayama is most helpful to balance of the intensely stimulating affects of our ashtanga practice on our nervous systems.
For, the practice itself often stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), which can be helpful in resolving trauma. However, we need to balance this with tapping into the calming effect of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). This is not adequately found addressed in the way most people practice, moreover want to practice. (ie. with a certain speed and dynamism that is invigorating, yet, also needs balance for this reason).
Finally, Harmony shares some of her own experience with using pranayama to fight inflammation, fatigue and digestive-issues. Here, we delve into the science behind it regarding oxygen and Co2 exchange, as well as considering how to commence breathing if you find yourself resistant or even frightened by the prospect of sitting quietly and focussing on your breath.