Science and Benefits of Pranayama

“Breath is central to Yoga because it is central to life.”
T. Krishnamacharya

The word Pranayama is originated from Sanskrit language and is composed of the two Sanskrit words ‘Prana’ and ‘ayama’. Prana indicates vital energy or life force ‘the breath’ while ayama means to draw out. In this way, Pranayama means “the extension of life force”. Pranayama is one of the most important of the yoga disciplines whose origin lies in the ancient Bharat, the present day India or Hinduism. Pranayama is linked with controlling the breath and involves several physical techniques that result in the clearing of granthis or nadi blockages in the body, both physical and emotional. Regular sustained practice of Pranayama allows the body freedom to breathe through the flow of prana – the life energy through the body.

Pranayama is essential to our daily practice and thus, must be taught all across the world both in the west and east. In a similar manner, our yoga studio “Bend it like Buddha” offers a variety of approaches to Pranayama in our 200 hour teacher training courses and other yoga courses. Soon we will be sharing these techniques in the yoga teacher training online. Pranayama lies at the heart of yoga and so is given the extreme importance in our yoga studio. The vital force called prana that is circulating through us can be channeled by means of breathing exercises and working with bandhas. Pranayama, for this reason, can be considered as a bridge between the practices of yoga – the outward and the surrendering practices leading towards the deep states of meditation. For different pranic activities in the body, there altogether are the five types of prana. They include Apana, Udana, Prana, Samana and Vyan among which Apana, the downward flowing, and Prana, the upward flowing, are considered as of great importance.

fullsizeoutput_332

Practicing Pranayama is linked with balancing the pranas that further results in a healthy mind and body. The different types of Pranayama have a wide range of benefits associated with them. The benefits include improving circulation of blood, concentration, relieving depression, stress, anxiety and hypertension (Hegde et al., 2012). Besides neurological problems, Pranayama further helps in curing headache, asthma, migraine and gastric problems. Our school Bend it like Buddha in praia da rocha beach, Portimao in Portugal offers several Pranayama and yoga related courses based on the fact that longevity depends on breathing rate. Lowering of breathing rate is likely to increase life expectancy. Pranayama, on the whole, is associated with better functioning of the autonomic system. By practicing Pranayama toxins are removed from the body and organs get more oxygen. Various diseases, in this way, are prevented that further results in strengthening the immune system (Vialatte et al., 2009).

The science of relaxation is a valuable gift and researches have also revealed the scientific benefit of Pranayama. Much of what Pranayama does to the human mind and body is due to its effect on the autonomic nervous system that controls the physical processes in the body including immune function, respiration and digestion etc. (Sengupta, 2012). A study involving five minute breathing practice has revealed that Pranayama lowers the heart rate, diastolic and systolic pressure (Pramanik et al., 2009). Another breathing practice, known as Brahmari or humming bee breath that sometimes involves placement of the fingers close to the eyes and the mouth and production of buzzing sound through the nose, has been observed increasing the activity of the brain. In another research, it has been highlighted that even a short period of Pranayama yoga practice results in curing hypertension (Vialatte et al., 2009). Diaphragmatic breathing is observed associated with lowering the oxidative stress and improving the antioxidant level significantly benefiting those with diabetes. Besides this, relaxed abdominal breathing has also been observed benefiting patients with non-erosive GERD, decreasing their stomach acidity and thus, improving the quality of life (Eherer et al., 2012).

fullsizeinput_330

The above-discussed research studies proved to be the scientific evidence of considering Pranayama yoga as a valid therapy to improve one’s health and well-being. Pranayama at our yoga studio will help you balance the energy flow in all areas of the body evenly while improving the cognitive functions. Ask us about Bend it like Buddha online or in-person Pranayama and Breath work courses. We will be happy to share with you some effective and calming breathing techniques to improve your life and lower your stress levels significantly with daily practice.

References

  • Eherer, A.J., Netolitzky, F., Högenauer, C., Puschnig, G., Hinterleitner, T.A., Scheidl, S., Kraxner, W., Krejs, G.J. and Hoffmann, K.M., 2012. The positive effect of abdominal breathing exercise on gastroesophageal reflux disease: a randomized, controlled study. The American journal of gastroenterology, 107(3), p.372.
  • Hegde, S.V., Adhikari, P., Subbalakshmi, N.K., Nandini, M., Rao, G.M. and D’Souza, V., 2012. Diaphragmatic breathing exercise as a therapeutic intervention for control of oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 18(3), pp.151-153.
  • Pramanik, T., Sharma, H.O., Mishra, S., Mishra, A., Prajapati, R. and Singh, S., 2009. Immediate effect of slow pace bhastrika pranayama on blood pressure and heart rate. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(3), pp.293-295.
  • Sengupta, P., 2012. Health impacts of yoga and pranayama: A state-of-the-art review. International journal of preventive medicine, 3(7), p.444.
  • Vialatte, F.B., Bakardjian, H., Prasad, R. and Cichocki, A., 2009. EEG paroxysmal gamma waves during Bhramari Pranayama: a yoga breathing technique. Consciousness and cognition, 18(4), pp.977-988.

How to Develop your Intuitive Abilities

Have you lost touch with your true nature, like most people today?

How to Develop your Intuitive Abilities

Everyone’s reason for practicing yoga is unique, the real challenge is mustering up the courage, carving out time to practice and if you cross the hurdles to reap the rewards of yoga, you will find it as amazing and beneficial as it is.  You have made the decision, joined yoga for beginners or online yoga classes, it is difficult to imagine what will happen until you actually practice mindfully and regularly. There are many benefits to practicing yoga but did you know yoga develops intuitive abilities? 

Intuition is the ability to have insight and wisdom received by an individual outside of their own intelligence, without the use of reason, logic or scientific evidence. Do you know who Patanjali was? He was considered the Einstein of Psychology and human behaviour in India because he was able to channel such ground-breaking guidelines in the 8-fold path of Ashtanga yoga. He was able to do this successfully without science. Now modern science states what Patanjali channelled intuitively thousands of years ago. That is, yoga along with meditation and pranayama (breathing techniques) has a multitude of benefits for the health and harmony of the mind, body and soul (Paniccia et al., 2018). Patanjali utilized his intuition and founded the great knowledge which we have today on this incredible practice of yoga. In yoga, intuition is considered to be developed over time through spiritual disciplines and meditation or pranayama. Your intuition are unexplained feelings you have that something is true even when you have no evidence or proof for it. Have you ever had an intuition that something was wrong and later proved to be correct? That was your gut knowing or intuition speaking to you. This special occurrence of knowledge may arrive instantly and not through the process of analysis and perceptions of the facts. Often times it happens to us when we are doing something routine such as walking to work or taking a shower. Also practicing yoga, meditation and pranayama over time results in a gradual development of intuition. This is a practice which encourages individuality and helps bring answers to important life questions. It also provides a road map leading a person to explore their inner self- their true nature and unique life path off and on the yoga mat (Sadhu, 2018). 

 

There are many other tools that help in developing intuition. Yet meditation, pranayama and yoga are some of the best ways which helps in letting go of attachments and to discover the inner self.  But how does one even begin to find this inner voice? Usually the intuitive voice is subtle, gentle and not obvious. Finding stillness within is essential in being able to listen to your intuition (Bagya et al., 2018). The key understanding of our true nature or inner self comes with learning how to widen the gap between thought to thought or still the senseless mind chatter or what Buddhists at Fo Guan Shan monastery, Taiwan call the “monkey mind”. Remember this proverb, “silence isn’t empty. It is full of answers”. One needs to develop the ability to distinguish between the noises and the voices, the voice of fear and the subtle voice of inner wisdom. 

Whenever you want to understand something or to make a decision, ask for guidance from inner higher self and then experiment. The resistance, tension, built-up emotions, trauma or stress… the physical practice of yoga will burn out the stress-energy from the body accumulated through years of samskaras, which means the mental impressions, recollections or psychological imprints in Sanskrit. Different yoga vinyasas or poses on the mat for example, despite the skill level, will help in your cultivation of intuitive skills (Schiffmann, 2013).

 

A yoga practice re-develops the intuition ability to consider what is healthy in each moment. In today’s busy, technological world we have completely lost touch with this intuitive ability. As a person learns to turn inwards both mentally and emotionally, they start the process of cultivating the intuition, instinct and intelligence. Following one’s own path requires courage, saying no to the things that don’t serve you and confronting your own demons. Yoga helps to practice opening the chest and heart, core engagement, self-grounding, calm and slow breathing and thus, emulating a courageous yet conscious warrior on the battlefield of life.

The voice of intuition is basically our inner hidden voice, calm, collected and sure. Intuition provides confidence and courage to make such decisions which serves us, regardless of the inside and outside voices. Yoga is designed in such a way so as to prepare the body for meditation and meditation in movement is yoga. Yoga represents union and as a person progresses through yoga, one may start experiencing prolonged periods of union within and thus stronger intuition (Paniccia et al., 2018). Yoga helps a person to tune into his emotions and to develop perception. Intuition is not a result of using the logical mind or over thinking rather it is a feeling of knowing that which we don’t know. During the yoga practice, we become intuitive when our body becomes physically aligned, naturally, with our breath movements. We feel different sensations, shaky and sweaty. We begin to think if these feelings are triggered by our thoughts. In the end, we come to know that these feelings are from our inner heart space (Sadhu, 2018).

The popular Netflix movie “Innsaei” has highlighted the global journey of soul searching. This movie has shown the power of intuition by uncovering the art of connecting within today’s world of distraction, stress and disconnection. The expert in indigenous consciousness and neuroscience in the movie shows a belief that human beings use only a small fraction of their capacity that is resulting in devastating consequences. Humans must need to learn something new, discover their inner self that which will birth miracles. The intuition binds us together and without this we, as human beings lose our sense of purpose. 

 

But how to regain intuition? Invite silence into your day, start with a short meditation or through yoga or watching the sunrise. Allow the voices in your mind to float away, do not engage with them and invite your inner voice to guide you. Connect yourself with the breath of divinity. Check within yourself, what are you thinking?  How are you feeling? Feel your presence and it will make you dilute the stress and offer you the best solutions and inner wisdom of always knowing what to do next.

Intuition, meditation, yoga and other spiritual practices not only help in overcoming fear, but they also encourage self-love and love for others. At first, learning to listen to your intuition may seem strange or challenging. Listening to your intuition, however, will allow you to see and believe how our life journey and nature is being carried out in surprising ways. How truly miraculous and incredible it is to be alive! Essentially, we are spiritual beings living a human experience through this dense, material container of the physical body…we are light warriors and destined to do great things on this beautiful planet and being in touch with our intuitive abilities will assist us and carry us through life’s challenges.  

References

 

  • Bagya, D.A., Ganesan, T., Maheshkumar, K., Venkateswaran, S.T. and Padmavathi, R., 2018. Perception of stress among yoga trained individuals. National Journal of Physiology, Pharmacy and Pharmacology8(1), pp.47-50.

  • Paniccia, M., Knafo, R., Thomas, S., Taha, T., Ladha, A., Thompson, L. and Reed, N., 2018. Mindfulness-Based Yoga for Youth With Persistent Concussion: A Pilot Study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy73(1), pp.73012050040p1-73012050040p11.

  • Sadhu, M., 2018. In Days of Great Peace: The Highest Yoga as Lived. Routledge.

  • Schiffmann, E., 2013. Yoga The Spirit And Practice Of Moving Into Stillness. Simon and Schuster.

 

Ayurveda Massage

What is it and the Benefits?

Ayurveda Massage course at Bend it like Buddha Yoga-Portugal

A variety of research studies have highlighted that Ayurveda massage helps in locating and removing the ailments related to muscles, joints and ligaments. It has further been proved through scientific studies that the massage further contributes to the improvement in blood circulation and initiation of detoxification. The stimulation is often very strong, however, the effects of the massage at the very end are not only relaxing but rejuvenating. With this powerful bodywork taking place, the practice of deep yogic breathing further provides the necessary integration and amplifies the benefits. Besides this, the passive yoga stretching during the massage contributes to increasing the mobility of joints together with the flexibility of the ligaments serving as an excellent tool for rehabilitation. (Sinha, Lohith and Ashvini, 2017).  

Look who wants a massage too;-) from our 200 hour course in Goa.

Ayurveda massage is an effective and unique form of yoga based bodywork originating in India. Some scholars assert that Ayurveda originated in prehistoric times and that some of the concepts of Ayurveda have existed from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization or even earlier. Ayurveda developed significantly during the Vedic period and later some of the non-Vedic systems such as Buddhism and Jainism also developed medical concepts and practices that appear in the classical Ayurveda texts. The Ayurveda massage is considered as a combination of deep tissue massage and that is assisted by the yoga stretches and energy work. At our studio, Bend it like Buddha we incorporate the Ayurveda massage, energy work and breath work into all of our 200 hour yoga teacher trainings. This helps activate and cleanse the nadis which are energy channels and the mind and body become more balanced.  Our body is a storehouse of tensions and issues that are sometimes originating from unresolved emotional trauma. Ayurveda massage also helps in the relieving fatigue and awakening of the entire body and then each of the areas of the body are cleansed and refreshed through massage combined with the power of breath and stretches.

As the Ayurvedic medicine tradition consider the interaction and balance of mind, body and spirit from the internal power of the individual, in a similar manner, Ayurveda massage serves to relieve the pain as a preventive medicine through an increase in the circulation, stimulation and strengthening of the lymphatic system. Symptomatic relieve of stress and generation of positive emotions are also among the other benefits of Ayurveda massage. Ayurvedic massage practitioners may also suggest a variety of lifestyle changes based on the particular imbalances in a person and Dosha type. The Ayurveda massage further helps the individual to stay healthy, improving the nervous system and strengthening the immune response thus increasing the longevity together with facilitating long-term weight loss. Healthier skin together with better vision and eye health have also been proved to be the scientific benefits of Ayurveda massage (Kothainayagi and Gupta, 2018).

Stress and other toxins are accumulated in our body on regular basis and a good massage has the ability to remove these toxins. Ayurveda massage is recharging the body, making the mind soothed and relaxed. The overall sensation, in this way, is improved with the internal organs stimulated and efficiency of them is improved. Lubrication of joints, releasing muscles and calmed nerves, as a result of the massage further contributes to the mental alertness and brings an increase in the overall physical stamina of a person (Kulkarni et al., 2010).

Learning 45+ massage techniques at our yoga studio in Praia da Rocha beach, Portimao Portugal

There are certain similarities between Ayurvedic massage and Ayurvedic yoga massage, however, Ayurvedic yoga massage provides additional benefits. Our yoga school is committed to delivering the highest standard of Ayurvedic yoga massage training to our students, both beginners, people with injuries and seniors are warmy welcomed to join any of our Ayurveda massage courses in Portugal, Bali or India. All our courses are suitable for beginner students.

The release of chronic stress and tension is tangible and during the Ayurveda massage the natural energy flow is restored into the body making it feel light, calm and aligned. There are practitioners that may schedule a regular Ayurveda massage treatment as a form of physical maintenance of your body thus helping you maintain good physical and mental health in a stressful world.

Ayurveda massage relaxes the body both physically and mentally while the overall result can be observed in the form of a deeper and refreshing sleep pattern, with the aging effects reduced and the emergence of a rejuvenated appearance and inner well-being.

References

Kothainayagi, B. and Gupta, S., (2018). CONCEPTUAL AND APPLIED STUDY ON ABHYANGA (AYURVEDIC MASSAGE). PARIPEX-INDIAN JOURNAL OF RESEARCH6(7).

Kulkarni, A., Kaushik, J.S., Gupta, P., Sharma, H. and Agrawal, R.K., (2010). Massage and touch therapy in neonates: the current evidence. Indian pediatrics47(9), pp.771-776.

Sinha, K.K., Lohith, B.A. and Ashvini, M.K., (2017). Abhyanga: Different contemporary massage technique and its importance in Ayurveda. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medical Sciences (ISSN 2456-3110)2(3), pp.245-251.