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Why in Yoga Class Oxygen (Prana) = Life Force

Posted Apr 06 2010 2:33pm

I like to do a  cleanse  from time to time, and my personal favorite is the  master cleanse. If you are unfamiliar with this cleanse it consists of being without food for the length of 10 days during which you consume copious amounts of fresh lemon water mixed with maple syrup and cayenne pepper. (It is actually  quite delicious!) Despite that I have tons of energy, and tell people I feel fantastic it is funny to watch people’s reaction when they hear that I have not eaten in days. They quite literally fear for my life!

Contrary to popular belief however, it is  very healthy  to allow your body and your digestive system in particular, an extended break away from eating! The fact is, we can go for a long time without food, and for a shorter period of time without water. However, there is one vital nutrient that it is  impossible  to live without and that is oxygen!

It is the most important nutrient there is for our survival! Unlike food or water we can only survive a  few minutes without air! Yet ironically, we tend to take the breath for granted!

Our brain is the first to suffer if we do not get enough oxygen. We become tired, irritable, sluggish and may even become depressed! Those who work in jobs in which they do a lot of sitting must be particularly mindful of becoming oxygen deprived. Since the blood carries the oxygen throughout the body when circulation decreases problems begin to arise.

Ways in which decreased oxygen affects our bodies include:

  • Stroke
  • Heart Attacks
  • Vision Problems
  • Hearing Problems
  • Poor Memory
  • Cancer
  • Decreased Cognitive Function
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Depression
  • On a more positive note research has shown that sometimes we can reverse health problems by re-oxygenating damaged cells! ( Baylor University  has shown that arterial disease in monkeys can be reversed by introducing oxygen back into the diseased arteries!)

    Since a lack of oxygen affects  all  of the tissues in our bodies it is easy to see why breathing properly is so important!

    Long deep breaths as in  ujjayi  help to induce  the relaxation response  in the body as well as oxygenate the blood. When we relax our bodies go from  fight or flight’  mode to  ‘relax and renew’. This is extremely important when it comes to the vital organs of the body.

    Let’s face it your body does not care how well you are digesting nutrients, eliminating toxins or healing when it thinks you need to escape grave danger. In the ‘fight or flight’ state our bodies revert to a primal state where all of our blood rushes to the extremities and away from the vital functionings of the body.

    In conclusion, nothing could be as important as the breath. The power of the breath is a gift given to us every moment that we are alive, remember to use it and you will blossom to your own highest potential!


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