14 May 2014 Last updated at 15:39
Pranayama is the practice of breathing exercises, but it's about more than just the breath. The breath is said to be the vehicle for prana, the body's vital energy, which pranayama works to expand, chanel and release. There are many different pranayama techinques, all with different effects on the body and mind. Some are relaxing, while others are invigorating. All are part of one of the oldest traditions of yoga.
Good to Know
Pranayama is usually practiced sitting down, and is often taught at the beginning of yoga classes.
Who's it for?
This is an essential practice for those seeking the true purpose of yoga. Teachers caution that pranayama should be practiced with care, and its advanced techniques under the guidance of a teacher.
The origins of pranayama lie in ancient India and the practice is mentioned in texts like the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as one of the main practices of Hatha Yoga. Pranayama is not a widespread or popular practice in the West, but had many benefits to offer.
Share this page