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Pranayama: Remove the obstacles of self-knowledge

Pranayama: Remove the obstacles of self-knowledge

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Breathing exercise that can be done by anyone.
Breathing exercise that can be done by anyone.

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Published by: Mind Yourself Chicago on Aug 04, 2011
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03/07/2013

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Pranayama: Remove the obstacles of self-knowledge
 We define ourselves as Chicago’s guide to health and wellness. In attemptto try to expose readers to the power of mental and emotional health we will enter a topic that may seem a little technical in nature. Maybe some would consider it a little too “yoga.” But we challenge you to givepranayama a try and to approach the practice with an open mind. These breathing techniques are ancient practices and passed down over severalgenerations and have been seen to bring the answers to questions that weonly scratch the surface of answering in our modern society. Healthy mindand healthy emotions are additional dimensions to living a healthy lifestyle.The definition of pranayama is the expansion of the energy body through breathing. A simple definition for such a powerful activity. Understandingthe breath and control of the breath can have profound effects on yourdaily life. Disease, dullness, doubt, negligence, laziness, excess craving,
 
delusion, instability and lack of concentration can all be impacted by incorporating pranayama into your daily routine. “These nine obstacles toself-knowledge disrupt and scatter the mind… in order to prevent theseobstacles from arising you should habituate yourself to meditation upon asingle principle… or the obstacles can be lessened by forcibly exhaling, thenretaining the prana during the pause following exhalation.” Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as interpreted by Mukunda Stiles.The practice of pranayama goes deeper than just the inhale and exhale. It istrue breath control and allows for stimulating thechakras, which hassubtle internal effects that science is still trying to uncover. In order totruly tap into the power of pranayama, one must understand the bandhas.Therefore we recommend you discuss the complete practice of pranayama with an experienced professional. With that being said, it is difficult to say the effects you will feel from the breathing exercise we will introduce to youin this article. We are all individuals and within our own search to removethe obstacles that disrupt and scatter the mind, we will have differentexperiences. If you are just beginning your practice of breathing, you cantry theeasy breathing exerciseto start the inquiry into breath control.Below is more complex breathing exercise (pranayama) that is more in line with what Pantanjali is describing in the Yoga Sutras and can be practicedat home.
Kevala kumbhaka: retention of the breath
In a comfortable seated position begin to inhale and exhale through thenose.On the inhale, start with inflating the lower part of the lungs, thenexpand the middle chest region, and completing the inhale by expandingthe upper/collar bone region.Exhale in the reverseContinue long, deep,slow, smooth, uninterrupted breaths while keeping the body relaxed, nottensing or shrugging the shoulders (approximately 5 times).(If the breath isnot smooth and uninterrupted see the easy breathing exercisefor more description on the breathing technique)At any point of the inhale or exhaleinterrupt the breath with a hold for a comfortable amount of time withoutexaggeration or tension in your body or breath. The holding of your inhale

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