Today was walking pranayama practice. Pranayama is the physical practice that develops the body’s ability to process O2 and prana (the ‘Breath of GOD’) for improved health and vitality. The act of breathing occurs on a minimally basic level in order to sustain life. However, breathing consciously increases the ability of the body’s ability to (more) efficiently bring in and utilize those energies. When the concepts of hard / soft, plus / minus, yin / yang are fully internalized, it will be easier to incorporate breath practices into daily activities. Breath is key to vertebral existence.
Total Lung capacity (average) is six liters. The minimal volume retained in the lungs after (completely) exhaling is 1100 ml due to the solidity of the lungs, bronchial tubes, bronchioles, and alveoli. The range that most people breath in 2200 ml – 2700 ml range of full lung capacity; this is called tidal volume. This leaves room for another 1100 ml for exhalation and another 3300 ml for full inhalation. Current lifestyles leave breathing to be run autonomically. That is to say that the brain will run the breathing process automatically. The brain will unconsciously run the breathing mechanisms if the body is healthy, paralyzed or in a coma, somewhere in the tidal volume range. There is much more opportunity for bringing O2 and prana in and expelling CO2.
The gross physical practices are actively pursued. They are more accessible, physically,and emotionally. They make us feel good. However, this access and appreciation would not be possible without breath. Inhaled air consists of 21% oxygen and 0.04% carbon dioxide Exhaled air contains 16% oxygen 4% carbon dioxide. Controlled breathing (i. e. pranayama) can increase cardiac-vagal baroreflex sensitivity (BRS), improve oxygen saturation, lower blood pressure, and reduce anxiety. However, pranayama practices can be mentally strenuous, physically draining and emotion taxing. It does require proper training so that it is performed in a safe manner. These challenges create an attraction to the gross physical practices.
The practice of pranayama establishes an awareness of the rhythmic nature of life. It brings the inflows and outflows of nature to the fore and creates a sense of balance and harmony within the individual. To become aware of the breath is to tune into those unnoticed functions that sustain (vertebral) life. The bodily mechanisms that enable the inflow and processing of O2 and prana and outflow of CO2 is intricate. The design allows for the maximal capacities to be processed yet that fullness of breath is not always (being) accessed. Focusing on breath, the fullness thereof, allows one to tune into what is occurring on the inside.
Concerning my practice, it was great. No stretching, no striving. The only physical actions were walking, breathing and coordinating breath and moving. The rhythm of the breath was kept by the counting of steps. The mental activity was split between walking and relaxing (passive activity – active passivity). Coordinating breath and movement creates a psycho-physical link that elicits overall calming effects. The efficient processing of O2 / prana and expelling of CO2 is beneficial to the body in the following ways:
- Reduces anxiety and depression.
- Lowes/stabilizes blood pressure.
- Increases energy levels.
- Relaxes muscles.
- Decreases feelings of stress and overwhelm.\
See if this is something that you can make or incorporate into your routine.
Remember: Not breathing is not an option.
For pranayama instruction, contact Ab-Sutra Wellness and Fitness, located in Austin, TX