Prana can be translated as energy, breath of life, vitality and power. Ayama is literally translated as to lengthen or expand. So pranayama can be described as the process of expanding our vital energy by regulating and lengthening the movement of the breath.

How often do we pay any attention to the breath? Usually, it’s only when we suddenly feel ‘out of breath’, perhaps in the midst of a stressful moment, or perhaps running for the bus or even during an exercise class. But when we are just operating ‘normally’ so to speak, the breath is just there. We don’t notice it, we take this essential life force for granted. Only when it changes for the worse, do we start paying attention.

Pranayama begins as a process of enquiry, a systematic development of breath awareness, starting with simply checking in with your breath, ‘as it is’. As you develop this awareness, you can start introducing pranayama techniques to balance the breath, rejuvenate the body and in conjunction with a yoga and mediation practice, move through a process of self-transformation.