Prana is our life force energy and is represented through our breath. Without prana there is no life, without breath the same. Prana is also the root word of pranayama, or breath work, as a specific tool in Yoga. It is also the foundation of the second layer of our subtle body by way of the koshas – pranamaya.
This particular layer is fascinating because it is the one we manipulate the most, yet if we can work more in tune with it we’d be amazed at how naturally good we would feel. I say naturally, because we continuously use various substances to alter our energy, many of us on a vicious cycle of never enough or too much.
We start our day with caffeine and the moment that runs out we are going through the drive through for more. Chasing sugar as we hit the afternoon slump. Desperately afraid of being tired and hooked on the buzz, we push through all day long with all the things on our to do list. Then at the end of the day when we actually want to rest and fall asleep we are wired out. We drink wine or smoke pot to try to ease the day’s caffeine, continuing to stare at our devices for that lovely blue light keeping us awake even longer. When we still can’t sleep we reach for sleeping pills or something stronger and start the cycle all over again.
What if you could reset your system so that you felt more connected to the natural circadian rhythms of the day without the crash and burn of added substances. Awake through the day and asleep all night – imagine how great you would feel! Body aches would be gone, digestion would improve and your mood would also certainly go up. It will take some discipline and it might not be as fun but here are some tips I want you to consider for this powerful reset.
1. Set a consistent sleep schedule. Ayurveda, the sister science of Yoga, recommends asleep by 10pm and awake at 6am. While this might not quite work for you, try to make sure you are going to bed and waking up at the same time every day – and yes weekends too. And please… no devices before bed. Try an old-school paper book instead and a chamomile tea.
2. Limit your caffeine intake. It can take up to 12 hours for caffeine to leave your system. So, rather than reaching for your double shot latte in the afternoons, try (I know my caffeine addict friends won’t like this) water. Often it’s our dehydration that causes us to be tired but we are so in the habit of the tired = need coffee loop that we often don’t consider that we are further dehydrating ourselves. Ever get to the spot when caffeine feels like it stops working? Your body is probably trying to tell you something.
3. Use Pranayama over sugar. Plan a 10-15 minute. breath practice in those times you tend to hit a slump and want an extra pick me up. Considering we only use an average of 10-20% of our lung capacity, imagine how much energy you can bring in with deep belly breathing and breath retention like in box breathing (inhale to a count of 5, hold your breath for a count of 5, exhale for a count of 5 and hold your breath out for a count of 5). Your body will reset naturally.
Discover More: Check out this great article by Lisa on yoga for a post-pandemic world.