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If you are tired all the time, low in energy and enthusiasm,  it is likely that you are
lacking life force energy or prana. Our lifestyle can have a profound impact on our
pranic or energy body. Diet, exercise, sleep patterns, food and exercise all affect the
flow of life force energy in the body, as does the way we breathe and the quality of our
breath.
Our energy body is made up of energy channels that run through the body called
nadis, as well as what you may think of as the aura, or energies emanating from the
body that yogis call koshas or sheaths.  Nadi means “flow” or “current”, you can
imagine them as a subtle form of nerves.
Chakra means “wheel”. Chakras are energy centres or  vortices of life force (pranic)
energy found in specific places in the body that correspond to nerve plexuses and
endocrine glands in the physical body. Chakras control the circulation of life force
energy through the entire body.
                                                                 
Savasana 
Savasana or relaxation pose is
generally how most yoga
classes end and is great to
practice with breath awareness.
Lie on your back checking that
your shoulders and hips are
aligned and your head is
aligned with your spine. If there
is any discomfort in the neck or
the chin is lifting upwards,
place a blanket or small
cushion under the head until
the chin is level. Place your feet
about hip width apart and your
arms slightly away from the
sides of your body with your
palms facing upwards. If there
is any tension in the lower back
place a rolled blanket or bolster
cushion under your knees.
Lengthen the back of your neck
and your tail bone to stretch
and release tension in the
spine. Release any tension in
your shoulders, allow your feet
to relax and flop outwards,
allow the whole body to
completely relax.
PRANA AND THE BREATH
Prana is life force energy, vital energy, the subtle force that fires our cells and animates our being.
It exists in all things inanimate or animate, is closely related to air but more subtle than air or oxygen.
If we are not breathing correctly we are limiting the amount of life force that our body
can utilise and we are restricting the flow and level of our energy. Learning how to breathe correctly
is a beneficial first step to increasing well being and energy levels.
Stage 1: Becoming aware of your breath.
Sit in an upright position or lie in savasana (relaxation pose). Bring your awareness to your breath.
Breathing through the nostrils become aware of the coolness of the breath as you inhale and follow
the breath down the back of the throat into the lungs. Notice the expansion of the lungs, observe
whether the chest rises or the belly rises and falls as you inhale and exhale. Notice the length of the
inhale and exhale. Are they even or is  one longer than the other? Notice whether they are smooth or
whether you gasp the breath in or sigh the breath out. Now follow the exhale back up past the throat
and notice how the breath is warm as you exhale through the nostrils.
If your upper chest/rib cage is expanding forward and outward as you inhale you are
breathing incorrectly, only using a small section of your lungs. Thoracic or chest breathing is
usually employed naturally with physical exercise and when under stress or tension, as it
helps the body to obtain more oxygen. If you are breathing like this all the time you are
expending more energy than is necessary and creating unnecessary tension in your body.
Thoracic breathers often have a tendency towards anxiety, stress, hyperventilation and panic
attacks.
Stage 2: Abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing - The most efficient way to breathe.
It is best to begin lying down in savasana and once you have mastered this breathing lying down try
sitting, then standing, then in action. The idea is that eventually you will breath like this naturally,
although it may take a little time and conscious awareness for you to retrain your breathing patterns.
You are going to bring the breath into the upper belly, the area known as the solar plexus or the v at
the bottom of your ribcage. Place your left hand on your chest and your right hand on the upper belly.
A good guide will be that your little finger is resting a little above the belly button. As you inhale, drop
the breath into the upper belly so the left hand and chest remain still and the belly rises and right
hand moves upwards. As you exhale the belly relaxes and falls. Try to cultivate a deep, even breath,
using breath awareness as in stage 1.
When lying, the lower belly (beneath the belly button) will gently rise and fall with the upper
belly, although this is not to be exaggerated. When upright, the lower belly gently draws in on
the inhale and relax on the exhale to help support good posture, the lumbar spine and to gain
maximum energy whilst in motion. All that said, I have found for people who have difficulty in
doing this initially, that it is beneficial for them to over exaggerate the inflation of the whole
abdomen until they get the feel of it.
Ideally practice breathing this way with breath awareness for 5 - 10 minutes everyday and
your body will soon realise the benefits. Eventually breathing this way will become natural. If
5 - 10 minutes seems too long a time to practice, even 1 minute a day will make a difference
and is better than not at all. Diaphragmatic breathing ensures the lower lobes of the lungs are
being utilised. As well as massaging the internal organs it increases oxygenation of the blood
and circulation, bringing a constant and fresh supply of energy to the body. Correct breathing
and good posture can immediately improve the state of physical and mental well being.
Stress Free Zone
Breathe...Live...Love...Be
c: Rachael Hawes
    e: info@stressfreezone.org.uk         m: 07966 775150