Why train breathing and posture?
Hundreds of medical studies and thousands of years of ancient traditions such as Yoga Pranayama have proven that how we breathe has a major impact on our physiology and wellness. Modern life, too much sitting, and stress have taken their toll on the quality of our breathing, pushing many of us to breathe too fast for example (over-breathing), or inhaling from the chest (not properly utilizing our diaphragm). Poor breathing habits can raise blood pressure, aggravate the nervous system, increase anxiety, worsen sleep, and even overwork the heart.
Poor posture in turn has been linked to many issues including back and neck pain, joint degeneration, digestive issues, headaches, and of course appearance. There are also very significant links between breathing and posture, which have long been recognized by many traditions and practices. Good posture can improve breathing by increasing the mobility of your diaphragm. Recent studies support that posture can in fact have a significant impact on pulmonary function. For example, one study found that sitting in a slumped or slouching pose can decrease measurements of forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume, and peak expiratory flow compared to sitting upright.
This is why we engineered the Prana wearable to guide both your breathing and posture, giving you a powerful and integrated new way to train these important synergistic measures together.
What are the benefits of using Prana?
Prana builds on numerous medical studies which have found significant benefits of specific forms of controlled mindful breathing (i.e., breathing exercises and breathwork). These include:
- Relaxing the mind and body
- Lowering blood pressure and heart rate
- Increasing energy
- Improving focus
- Helping to fall sleep
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Strengthening the immune system
- Helping with chronic pain
- Activating the parasympathetic nervous system to avoid chronic fight or flight mode
- Improving mood
- Improving heart rate variability (HRV)
- Even helping medical conditions such as Asthma and COPD
Prana is designed to help make breakthwork easy, engaging, and effective so you can more realistically incorporate it into your life and stick to it for the long term as a powerful health resource.
Improving your posture offers many additional benefits beyond the connection to breathing, such as:
- Reduced upper and lower back pain
- More confident appearance
- Improved circulation
- Improved core strength
- Decreased joint wear and tear
- Supporting energy levels
- Improved muscle function
- Helping to prevent injury
Prana can improve your complete back posture (both upper and lower back), and do so together with breathing, or separately if preferred.
What is the difference between Training and Tracking mode in the Prana app?
In Training mode, Prana guides your conscious breathing with a breathing exercise typically lasting between 2 to 10 minutes, along with guiding your posture. Prana offers over 80 scientifically validated breathing exercises using real-time sensor feedback so you know you’re breathing the right way for specific targeted benefits including stress relief, increased energy, improved focus, and enhanced sleep. Our app offers gamified and haptic versions of the training to best suit your needs.
In Tracking mode, Prana monitors your automatic breathing and posture in the background as you sit and work for example, and provides alerts from the device when you breathe in a stressed way or slouch for too long, to help break unconscious habits which contribute to stress. It’s very common for the quality of our breathing and posture to be compromised during prolonged sitting, which can feed the vicious cycle of stress. Prana can detect several different forms of stressed breathing, and is the only wearable today which can detect all of the following:
- Faster than normal breathing
- Email apnea (unnatural pauses in breathing often due to stress)
- Unusual exhalation to Inhalation ratio (also a stress indicator)
- Average and real-time respiration rates
What types of breathing exercises do you offer and for what purpose?
Prana currently offers over 80 scienfitically validated breathing exercises organized into 6 major categories:
- Lung Capacity
The Health category is further grouped into 10 sub-categories (and growing) including:
- Blood Pressure
- Motion sickness and Nausea
- Chronic Pain
- HRV (heart rate variability)
- Sexual Health
As part of each breathing exercise, we provide links in our app to the relevant medical studies which have previously evaluated these specific breathing techniques, or very similar ones.
FDA disclaimer: These statements and any information contained in our mobile app have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for medical care or to prescribe treatment for any specific health condition. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
How do I wear Prana?
Prana is most commonly worn on the lower back to simultaneously guide diaphragmatic breathing and lower back posture while sitting, but can also be worn on the belly, upper chest, or even the upper arm, depending on your training needs.
Wear Prana on the belly when you wish to train diaphragmatic breathing only. For example, if you are getting ready for sleep or lying down, posture may not be as high a priority, and you can train breathing only in this position.
When worn on the upper chest, you have the option to train either your upper back posture or full rib cage breathing, or both.
Wearing Prana on the upper arm provides an alternate way to track your upper back posture.
Prana can be worn while sitting, standing, or lying down. We recommended only using Prana while at rest. While lying down, only breath training is available.
Why does Prana use a retractable belt?
Prana’s patented retractable design is a unique form factor and breakthrough in wellness wearables, which makes it possible to accurately monitor both your breathing and posture at the same time. Prana can fit in your pocket when the belt is retracted, and is much more compact than the average chest strap sensor. Prana weighs only 37 grams.
Prana can be conveniently worn under or over any style of clothing, and does not rely on tape or adhesives to attach to skin as with some other wearables, which can come loose due to moisture, and require repurchasing the adhesive tape. Prana also does not rely on clipping to clothing such as a bra or waistband, which impose some restrictions typically requiring tight clothing. Prana can be worn and removed very quickly which makes it especially convenient for short duration training sessions, such as a three-minute breathing exercise.
Prana’s retractable belt and advanced sensors also makes it particularly well suited for tracking and guiding diaphragmatic breathing and full rib cage breathing, because it can measure circumferential pressure around the entire torso as the rib cage expands, unlike patch or clip-on sensors which typically only measure isolated movement of the abdominal wall for example.
The retractable design also allows Prana to track all major body measurements.
How long is Prana typically worn?
When performing breathing exercises with or without posture training, Prana is typically worn for short duration training sessions, anywhere between 3 to 15 minutes (up to 60 minutes is currently possible), on a scheduled or as needed basis to target a specific physiological effect such as relaxation or focus. Breathing exercises require your conscious attention when performing them.
If you’re training posture only, the session times are typically a bit longer, anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes on average. Posture-only sessions can be performed in the background as you work for example, not requiring your full attention.
You can set your daily goal times for both breathing and posture in the app. Both start at 10 minutes by default, and you can set these times to automatically increase up to 30 minutes to ramp up your training over a 10 day period.
When wearing Prana for passive tracking while sitting, you can wear the device as long as you wish to receive alerts for slouching or stressed breathing. Typically users wear the device for several hours this way.
Why is diaphragmatic breathing important and how does Prana fit in?
When worn on the lower back, Prana is designed to detect and train diaphragmatic breathing at the source (breathing from your belly), helping you use more of your lung capacity with each breath to deliver more oxygen to your bloodstream. For many of us today, stress has caused the source of breathing to shift upwards, with chest or accessory muscles being used to shallowly inflate the lungs. Prana helps retrain this bad habit. See our Science page for more details.
Why are breathing patterns important?
How we breathe matters. There is now much research showing that specific breathing patterns can have significant physiological impacts, such as promoting calmness through the parasympathetic response, increasing alertness, improving heart rate variability, lowering blood pressure, interrupting acute anxiety episodes, improving sleep, and even helping with chronic pain.
Prana’s highly sensitive breathing sensors can detect a wide range of breathing patterns, from slow to fast, shallow to deep, and even very light breathing. This allows our system to accurately train over 80 scientifically validated and diverse breathing exercises utilizing beneficial breathing patterns, while providing accurate real-time feedback so you know you’re breathing the right way.
When do I use Gamified Training versus Haptic Training?
It’s your choice. Our Gamified Training offers a visual and engaging way to effectively perform breathing exercises with real-time sensor feedback. Follow the breathing pattern by controlling your inhalations and exhalations to collect the scrolling flowers, while maintaining good posture (slouching optionally stops the movement). You directly control the game character with your breathing, with the bird flying higher as you inhale, and lower as you exhale. Our library offers over 80 visualized breathing exercises to support many distinct wellness goals. Different background environments and ambient music set you on your breathing journey.
Our Haptic training allows you to close your eyes without needing to view the app, and be guided to breathe with a gentle vibration on the device, signaling when to inhale, exhale, and hold. This makes it especially suitable for mindfulness and meditation practices. If you slouch or don’t follow the breathing pattern, the device can warn you in both cases, with two long buzzes signaling slouching, and one long buzz signaling unmindful breathing.
Does Prana require using my mobile phone and which phones are supported?
To use Prana, the free Prana Tech companion app must be installed on your phone. Currently Prana is only available on iOS and requires an iPhone 6S or higher. An Android version is coming soon.
The app receives data from Prana about your breathing and posture while you use the device. In Tracking and Haptic Training modes, you do not need to actively view the app while using Prana. However, in Gamified Training mode, you will need to view the app while using Prana. In Tracking mode, you can use other apps on your phone while the Prana app runs in the background, monitoring your breathing and posture.
Can I train breathing and posture separately?
Yes. Prana is a flexible system which supports a variety of training use cases. You can train breathing and posture together, which we highly recommend as an efficient and effective training modality, or you can train them separately, which can better fit certain scenarios such as when lying down.
How can Prana train lower and upper back posture?
Prana’s unique retractable design allows it to be easily worn on either your lower or upper back to give you a more complete posture training workout compared to most other posture-only wearables.
Bad posture habits can manifest in multiple ways. During prolonged sitting, slumping can originate both in your upper or lower back. Your shoulders can wilt forward and your upper back can slump, or you might have more problems keeping your lower back upright. Prana lets you individually target either of these areas. You can alternate wearing Prana on your lower and upper back between training sessions to get the full benefit. Breathing can also be tracked in both positions, with diaphragmatic breathing when on the lower back, and full rib cage breathing when on the upper back.
What advantages does Prana offer over current meditation apps which offer breathing exercises?
Many meditation apps and YouTube videos provide guided breathing instructions through audio recordings of instructors speaking. While these resources can be helpful, they are not interactive and do not provide real-time feedback. Prana, on the other hand, uses sensors to actively evaluate your breathing and posture in real-time, providing feedback through the device or app to help you improve your technique. With Prana, you effectively have a real-time coach who gently reminds you how to improve your breathing and posture, helping you to feel more connected and focused during your meditation or relaxation practice.
What is the Science behind Prana?
Please see our Science page for more details and a list of relevant medical studies and research.
Why track body measurements?
Body measurements of waist, hip, and major muscles, are important factors which can significantly impact various aspects of our health, wellness, and even lifespan. Properly maintaining a healthy body composition can help to prevent or manage a range of health conditions, improve physical performance, and promote overall well-being. In addition to our breathing and posture features, Prana’s unique retractable design allows it to measure and track 15 distinct body measurements including body fat percentage.