Now is the perfect time to start a breathwork and yoga practice. In India, yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and the benefits are well known. Breathwork has also been a part of yoga practice in India since the very beginning. Here in the Western hemisphere, yoga has been popular for the last decade, but the practice of breathwork is still relatively new.
Breathwork is traditionally known as pranayama. The science of pranayama and benefits of pranayama are now being researched more frequently. A growing number of studies show that breathing techniques are effective against anxiety and insomnia. These techniques influence both physiological factors (by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system) and psychological factors (by diverting attention from thoughts). If you think about it, every relaxation, calming or meditation technique relies on breathing, which may be the lowest common denominator in all the approaches to calming the body and mind. Research into basic physiology and into the effects of applying breath-control methods lends credence to the value of monitoring and regulating our inhalations and exhalations.
As we move through this seasonal change and come into the new year, this is the perfect time to start a new pranayama practice. Pranayama practices can really help to enhance your yoga practice. With the change of weather and seasons, this is the perfect time to focus on letting go of things that no longer serve you in your yoga practice. It’s the time of year to embrace change and accept new challenges. If you’re curious on how to theme a new years yoga class, you can always work a little breathwork into the class with any sequence of yoga postures. Breathwork always makes sense in yoga classes and works to support your yoga practice.