Pranayama is the practice of lengthening, observing and controlling the breath or life-force in the body and mind. The mind and the breath are intimately connected. You can observed this the next time you are scared or feeling depressed - the breathing will be irregular. In yoga there many forms of pranayama but the easiest and most effective is alternate nostril breathing. Pranayama has been shown to lower heart rate variability, lower stress levels, lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and stimulate brain growth (2005 Harvard study). It is an essential practice for best results after Hatha Yoga asana practices and before meditation. Students in our yoga teacher training program are taught the various styles of pranayama and how and when to use them to maintain health and to improved focus and attention.