By Lisa Akesson
In our fast paced lives we often forget how to breathe. I notice that when I’m anxious or stressed, I’m also holding my breath. Just as it’s very difficult to feel balanced and content with your shoulders slouched forward, it’s hard to be calm and relaxed without a conscious full breath.
Pranayama is an ancient Sanskrit word that means breath control or extension of the prana (lifeforce). It is the fourth limb of Raja yoga. I first came in contact with this powerful technique in a Yoga class, with one of the most common pranayama practices, nadi shodhana.
Since I learned more about the different pranayama techniques at my Yoga teacher training with Hale Pule, I’ve made it a priority to start my day with a short series of breathing exercises. It helps me quiet my mind and center myself before meditation. With a calm mind and clear intentions, I can then start my day the way I choose to.
One of my absolute favorites is the bhramari, or bumblebee. It’s simple and you can do it at home. Try it before your asana practice or meditation and pay close attention to how it affects your mind. It fascinates me every time!
This is how to practice bhramari:
I also demonstrate bhramari at the start of my video.