Introduction to Breath (Pranayam)

"The main problem in the world is stress. It is not going to decrease - it is going to increase. If through pranayam the shock can be harnessed, the entire stress and disease can be eliminated."

- Yogi Bhajan

Kundalini Yoga employs a wide range of breathing techniques. They are more extensive and sophisticated than in any other form of yoga. The breath, its rhythm, and its depth are correlated to different states of health, consciousness, and emotion. Kundalini Yoga uses the breath scientifically to change the states of energy. By scientifically we mean that you can consistently produce a desired effect with regular practice. 

The breath is a fundamental tool for the Kundalini Yoga student. Mastery of the breath is a foundation for:
  1. Promoting health and vitality
  2. Opening the range and creativity of the emotions
  3. Controlling the moods
  4. Developing concentration
  5. Promoting a feeling of connectedness
Breath awareness begins with recognizing the breath as both the gross physical breath, as well as the subtle life force of the body and mind called prana. A Kundalini Yogi examines and breaks the habit to ignore the breath. Think of breath in broader terms than simply respiration. Consider that the breath and its movements are connected to the movements of all the emotions and thoughts. 

The breath and the Word are in intimate relationship. They form the platform from which all things begin, and they shape the form and direction of one's life. They govern our communications and our relationships with ourselves and others. If we can consciously harness the patter-forming abilities of the breath and sound, we can creatively direct our lives and potentials. 

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