Light on Prãnãyãma

Nature has been kind to us and there are ways to stop feeling sorry, cut back on stress level and wake up with a new spirit of positive energy. Pranayama, Yoga poses, meditation etc. are few of the best ways that can be implemented in everyday life to keep oneself motivated.

Too much of stress in life can lead to depression. This article is related on Pranayama for anxiety and depression. You will get to know everything that you wanted to know about Pranayama and how it relieves you from everyday stress.

  • Are you one of those people who tend to take every little thing in life seriously?
  • Do you feel the whole world is plotting against you?
  • Do you feel lonely and tend to shut off from the world?
  • Do you eat when you are emotional?
  • Are you stressed out too much related to work, marriage and other life pressures?

Then, you might be suffering from underlying stress that is slowly inching for depression.

I presume you are here because you feel burdened by such negative thoughts and want to shift focus to good things in life. I am there to help you.

Ever heard the quote “THE GREATEST TRICK DEVIL EVER PULLED IS CONVINCE THE WORLD HE DOESN’T EXIST”. The second Satan here is undoubtedly stress that can eat you up alive.

Few of the symptoms noted are

  • insomnia
  • chest pain (sign of heart problems)
  • joint and muscle pain
  • fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
  • digestive problems

The underlying reasons for anxiety and depression is undoubtedly

  • stressful lifestyle
  • lack of quality sleep
  • breakup, divorce, loss of loved one, work related pressure and so on

Healing Yourself With Pranayama & Yoga

Nature has been kind to us and there are ways to stop feeling sorry, cut back on stress level and wake up with a new spirit of positive energy. Pranayama, Yoga poses, meditation etc. are few of the best ways that can be implemented in everyday life to keep oneself motivated.

Certain breathing exercises, yoga postures help you in releasing the binded energy which will make you much liberated from stress. For those who are not aware, mindful stress can trigger body pain in vital areas of the body. With certain yoga postures, you can not only derive excellent focus attention but also remove negative energy from the body.

Some yoga poses such as Halasana, Sarvanga Asana, Shavasana are powerful in eliminating stress related depression and anxiety.

How Pranayama Helps

Pranayama is taken from two Sanskrit words – “Prana” and “Ayama”

Meaning: Prana – Breath AND Ayama – Control: Hence, Pranayama

Pranayama is proper breathing techniques that will help you to control the breathing. With regular practice, you will increase the positive energy in your body, mind and soul. You will also eliminate the bad toxins from the mind.

Pranayama plays a very crucial role in keeping us healthy and fit. When you practice Pranayama, you are supplying more oxygen to the body. Stating the obvious, this is the key to have a healthy body. People who practice pranayama will feel energetic throughout the day.

Benefits Of Pranayama For Anxiety and Depression

Anyone and everyone can derive the benefits of Pranayama. Kids who are above 10 can practice. However, elderly or weak people should NOT PRACTICE pranayama too much.

Mastering the art of pranayama is the first step towards self-healing and leading a positive life. Here are summed up benefits of pranayama FYI….

  • instant experience of peace and energy
  • pranayama cleanses 72,000 nadis or channels in our body
  • treats variety of stress related disorder
  • steady supply of oxygen to the brain, lungs, heart and the capillaries
  • no more headaches or nervousness due to anxiety
  • boosts the immunity system
  • improves the autonomic function
  • alleviates symptoms of asthma or any other respiratory disorders
  • reduces signs of oxidative stress
  • assists in steady mind, strong will power and ability to make sound judgement
  • enhance the perception of life
  • extend one’s life as well
  • balances the blood pressure levels not to mention purifying them as well
  • excellent remedy for obesity (weight loss)

What Is The Best Time To Practice Pranayama?

Without a doubt, the best time is to practice Pranayama is early morning. This means don’t snooze your alarm and cuddle back to bed. Go out in a place where you can maintain peace and have a breathe of fresh air. You must always do pranayama or any exercise on an empty stomach.

Get set…Go Pranayama…!!!

Sit facing east or north in a comfortable cross legged position on the yoga mat. Make sure that the head, neck and chest are in straight alignment. Do not slouch. Keep your spine stretched. Do not practice Pranayama within an hour of eating, bathing or sexual activity. Give an hour gap post Pranayama.

Basic Pranayama practice

The basic step of pranayama is purification of nervous system. It is called the Nadi Shodhona in Sanskrit. It is best advised to start pranayama with alternate nostril breathing and breathing awareness.

Anuloma Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing) Pranayama for anxiety and depression

As in the name, this pranayama is breathing through alternate nostrils. It purifies the nervous system and is hence called as Nadi Shodhona Pranayama as well. A calming ritual, it efficiently cleanses and detoxifies of negative energy.

Position: You can either sit in a chair with feet firmly on the floor or sit cross legged on the floor. Majority of the yoga masters go with the latter as it gives you an even balance for optimum concentration while keeping you “grounded”. 😉

Repetition: Start with 10 rounds of breathing through the left nostril and then 10 rounds of breathing with the right.

How To Practice Anuloma Viloma Pranayama for Anxiety and Depression

Using your right hand thumb, ring and little finger close the alternate nostril. For instance, while you inhale via left, your right nostril is closed with the right thumb. The little and ring fingers are used to close the left nostril. Do not breath with your mouth and close it during breathing. DO NOT MAKE sounds while inhaling or exhaling.

Steps for Round 1 Pranayama for anxiety and depression

  • The key is to focus your attention on breathing for a minute. Close your eyes and observe the flow of breath in both nostrils.
  • See picture to form the Pranayama Mudra with your right hand.
  • Close your right nostril with the right hand thumb. Inhale deeply via left nostril
  • Once inhaled, close the left nostril with your pinky and ring finger. Exhale through the right nostril.
  • Once exhaled via right nostril, inhale with the same one.
  • Close the right nostril after inhaling and exhale with your left.

Steps for Round Two Pranayama for anxiety and depression

  • Use the left hand and position it in Pranayama Mudra
  • Repeat the process with the right nostril inhalation.
  • Now inhale right – exhale left – inhale left, exhale right.

Once done with 10 rounds, return the hand to the knee and relax. Focus now for a minute on normal breathing and feel the rhythm of heartbeat.

Dont’s of Pranayama

  • Women who are menstruating should NOT practice yoga. The mind must be clutter free and void of any tensions or stress.
  • Pregnant women should NOT practice pranayama. However with proper nod from gynae, one can practice pregnancy yoga with right guidance from yoga teacher.
  • People who are suffering from any heart condition or recently had a heart attack must consult their doctor and yoga teacher.
  • Anyone who is going through radiation or chemo therapy.
  • Avoid if you are having fever, pneumonia or bronchitis.

Tips for Pranayama Yoga for stress and anxiety

  • Practice always on empty stomach. Give a good hour before the meal. Drink 2 glasses of warm water and go for a walk to improve the digestive process.
  • Pranayama infuses positive behavior that will give you the self confidence you have always craved for that can cure any health condition.
  • Make sure the place for yoga is clean, silent and full of fresh air.
  • Do not eat one hour before or after practicing pranayama or yoga.
  • Practice regularly if you want to enjoy the benefits of pranayama and yoga. Only with regular practice will you achieve better results.