Since our attention is constantly pulled outward by sensory stimulation, even a dedicated practitioner may forget the subtle yet profound effects of pranayama practice. We have become so accustomed to jumping quickly from one device, image or message to another, that we are losing the capacity to focus on one thing, and to exercise choice over what we think. Pranayama practices make use of the breath to engage our attention in the present and steady our physical and mental levels.
More importantly, these practices cultivate the refined awareness that enables us to observe and examine our own thoughts, and make conscious choices over what we dwell on. Over the long run, what we focus our attention on determines our ability to be happy, to experience love and to be free of the cultural conditioning that can close our hearts and imprison us in a me-centered way of life.