Pranayama is generally understood as breath control, it is true partially; as Prana is not intake of breath it is the ‘Life force energy’ in us which flows freely. When this prana can’t flow freely in our body we start manifesting mental, physical emotional issues.
Prana means “Life force energy’ and Ayama means ‘to expand’. Pranayama in true sense means expansion of the vital life force energy. Free flow of this Vital is responsible for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth. Pranayama harmonizes the pranic body, a network of nerve channels carrying this life force energy to each and every cell and organs of the body. Pranayamas are also preparatory for meditative state.
Follow the pranayama of basic breath awareness and exploration.
Find a comfortable seated position and begin to notice your breath. Without changing it, simply notice the pathway of your breath. How and where does it move? Does it move freely through your nostrils between inhalation and exhalation? Where your breath is moving with ease and where it feels stuck. Begin to gradually deepen your inhalation and extend your exhalation. Go slowly, breath by breath, each one slightly deeper than the one before. Notice how your body changes as your breath changes. What does that feel like in your chest, your side ribs, and the back of your neck, your armpits, and your jaw?
When you feel that your awareness has shifted to a thought, do not get caught up in it and create a story around it. Recognize the thought and bring your awareness back to your breath and its movement, initially you might get lot of thoughts, which is absolutely fine. This practice is to be in the awareness and not allowing your mind to take over you. This practice is to be mindful of your thought processes, their nature, acknowledging them and letting them go.
It is a good idea to introduce Sama Vritti or Equal Breathing now. This means inhaling and exhaling for an equal length. Inhale through your nostrils for four counts and exhale though your nose for four counts. Continue this breathing pattern for as long as you like. You may change the length of your breath to a shorter or longer count. As you practice Sama Vritti (Equal Breathing), continue to observe the quality, movement, and sound of your breath.
You may continue doing this as long as you feel like doing it. Once you are done, slowly and gently open your eyes, first look at your palms, then at your feet. Take few moments before getting into any activity.
Once you get comfortable with your breath awareness, you can start introducing it though the day while doing various activities. Consciously start becoming aware of your breath during various and different kind of activities. Continue observing the quality, movement, and sound of your breath.
This practice is very good for bringing in relaxation and helps alleviate mental chatter. It helps in Insomnia.