Pranayama or breathing practices have traditionally been used to directly impact our energy and vitality. In altering our breath patterns through various kriyas (cleansing practices) and with the use of mudras (hand gestures) and meditations, we are able to directly impact our nervous system in a positive way. Breathing is the only function that we have that crosses both our somatic nervous system and our autonomic nervous system. In times of pain (both physical and emotional) our breath becomes shallow or we may even hold our breath. In controlling our breath patterns, we are able to ground ourselves, develop mindfulness and begin to reduce our negative impressions, peeling back the veils that lead back to Self.