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The Ancient Breath Technique of Pranayama

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Predominantly controlling breath is nothing but Pranayama. The word Pranayama is comprised of two Sanskrit words Prana which means life force and ayama which means to suppress the Prana. Implementation done deliberately on the breathing techniques in order to alter it for getting the desired results. It is a yogic discipline with origins in ancient India.

Characteristics of Pranayama: The various discrete execution of pranayama involves various methods which exploits the characteristics of breathing. Following are the four characteristics of breathing: Pooraka or inhalationRechaka or exhalationAntar kunbhaka or internal breath retentionBahir kumbhaka or external breath retention

Another approach of pranayama is called Kevala Kumbhaka or spontaneous breath retention. This is a modern stage of pranayama which occurs during high states of meditation. The foremost part of pranayama is actually kumbhaka or breath retention. However, in order to perform kumbhaka successfully, there must be a gradual development of control over the function of respiration. These practices influence the flow of prana in the nadis, purifying, regulating and activating them, thereby inducing physical and mental stability.

Prana and lifestyle: Lifestyle has a fervent significance on the pranayama kosha and its pranas. The dispersal and flow of prana in the body is influenced by our bodily movements such as , work, sleep, intake of food and sexual relations. The pranic flow is affected by unsteady lifestyle, dietary indiscretions and stress.

Breath is the foremost process of the body. It influences the activities of each and every cell and, most importantly, is intimately linked with the performance of the brain. Breathing is devotedly linked to all characteristics of human experience. Pranayama exhibits regular breathing patterns, breaking the negative cycle and inverts the process. It does so by taking control of the breath and re-establishing the natural, relaxed rhythms of the body and mind.

The ancient yogis and rishis studied nature in great detail. They noticed that animals with a slow breath rate such as pythons, elephants and tortoises have long life spans, whereas those with a fast breathing rate, such as birds, dogs and rabbits, live for only a few years. Thus they came to the conclusion that slow breathing is most important for increasing the human lifespan On the physical level, this is because the respiration is directly related to the heart. A slow breathing rate keeps the heart stronger and better nourished and contributes to a longer life.

Types of pranayama: Bhastrika Pranayama: Bhastrika is a Sanskrit word which means bellows. This kind of breathing exercise resembles to that of howling. In this pranayama body gets the maximum amount of oxygen due to complete inhaling and exhaling breathing.Kapalbhati Pranayama: A powerful method of Pranayama which cures stomach disorder, obesity, digestive disorder and many problems related to stomach. Those trying to lose weight can practice Kapalbhati regularly.Bahya Pranayama: Bahya means “outside”. In this pranayama the breath is kept outside during the practice so it is called Bahya Pranayama.Anulom Vilom Pranayama: An effective method to purify mind and body. Anulom Vilom pranayama is one of the excellent breathing exercises which are also known as Nadi Shodhana. Regular practice results energy in the body and releases stress and anxiety.Bhramari Pranayama: ‘Bhramari ‘is the type of Indian bee and ‘pranayama ‘means breathing. So it is called as Bhramari Pranayama. In this type of pranayama when we exhale making a humming sound. It resembles the typical humming sound of bees.Udgeeth Pranayama: It is the simple breathing exercise. It is known as “Omkari Japa” means chanting of “Om”.Pranav Pranayama: A very simple breathing exercise. This is one type of meditation.

Benefits of Pranayama: Pranayama methods are favorable in curing a range of stress related disorderImproves Blood circulationImproves concentrating powersCures obesityIncreases appetiteIt removes toxins from the body and helps to clean the internal systemCalms the mind and bring stability in mindCures breast cancerCures problems related to reproductive organsHelps in glowing skinImprove memory powerIt gives physical and spiritual energyGives good healthIt helps relieving the symptoms of asthmaRegular pranayama can extend one’s life

There are number of benefits of practicing pranayama everyday. The list goes on! So do follow Pranayama and say hello to a healthy and happy life!!

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