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Pranayama for Stress Relief
Pranayama is the art of breathing, Indian Yogi style. It has long been an important component of the yogi’s practice, accompanying yoga asana or postures and as a gateway to meditation.“As a jug is filled from the bottom to the top, so fill the lungs from their base to the brim. Fill them to the top of the collar bone and inner armpits”
Pranayama for stress relief is a highly complex and evolved art that yogis master only after long training where considerable lifestyle, devotional, nutritional and philosophical constraints must be in place for there to be success. Many yoga masters warn of the side effects of pranayama practice if it is undertaken without the right preparation and supporting circumstances. Like so many ‘spiritual’ practices, pranayama has much to offer as a means to reduce stress at a profound level. Tao pranayama has an added advantage-it is not a technique that needs to be practiced exclusively sitting in meditation.
Yoga and Indian pranayama practitioners require only a slight shift of emphasis in practice to benefit from the Tao approach to pranayama. Setting aside some of the more complex practices and using the Taoist method of pranayama brings rapid results-the benefits and advances that can be made are astonishing.Every season at Tourné during retreat there is an opportunity to learn the technique or to deepen existing practice.
The Taoist approach to pranayama for stress relief is highly adapted to modern circumstances. The technique can be used in all circumstances. Tao pranayama was developed by martial artists as well as monks and required that the technique be useful in potentially the most stressful situation-warfare or hand to hand combat with or without weapons. Over that last twenty years, these Tao breathing techniques are becoming increasingly recognized as highly efficient.
Tao pranayama provides an ever present programme of pranayama for stress relief that becomes increasingly automatic with practice. Instead of breathing in short shallow breaths, a practitioner of Tao prnayama finds themselves naturally breathing deeply at the first sign of stress or lack of clarity.
The body’s intelligence “sees” into how stress is accumulated and how it can be released through breath at increasingly deep levels. Eventually it gets to the point where the breathing process helps dig out deep seated habit patterns associated with stress, fear or any reaction that has impacted on the memory and nervous system.
Practicing yogis and pranayama practitioners of many years will delight in the Taoist approach. It is easy to learn and the principles provide a cascading insight into the functions of the nervous system.
To use pranyama for stress relief, is a credible and achievable aim that will make the body healthy, the mind wieldy and the spirit light. Yogis or meditators of any tradition who wish to enhance their current practice will benefit. Beginners with no previous experience will find the method gentle and highly efficient for releasing stagnant energy and shallow breathing habits.
Those whose interest is to use the techniques for stress relief and daily increased energy and efficiency will find the method simple, straightforward yet very profound. It is not without challenge, but the challenge is met with softness and it is with softness the practitioner’s whole outlook and attitude towards stress changes. Eventually, the technique delivers considerable power and energy.
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