It appears so strange to see people in their morning hours doing breathing in and breathing out through their abdomen, but this is what that keeps their whole system in control, fit, energized and healthy, which we can’t understand unless we do it ourselves. They are doing Pranayama, a yoga form which since centuries has been proving beneficial for the human being.Pranayama is a mystical power of self-healing, which Patanjali has placed next in importance to asanas in his “Yoga Sutras”.
Pranayama has been derived from two words: Prana means Vayu and Ayama mean complete control, so Pranayama is control of life force. Prayanama involves breathing techniques which are itself a life exhilarating process that directly has an impact on our thoughts and actions, and in each thought, we witness changing in the rhythm of breath. Whenever we feel happy, breathing is rhythmic but when we are stressed, it becomes irregular and interruptive.
Pranayama is linked between the physical asanas and mental or meditation yogic exercises. It constitutes having pukara and prolonged inhalation or kumbhaka means retention to breathe, and recall slow and extensive breathing. It is a free, natural and very easy source of power.
Through yoga asanas, we get rid of our physical disabilities but through Pranayama, we free our mind from ignorance, untruthfulness, and other painful experiences.
Here we will highlight some of its benefits:
Pranayama teaches us to breathe slowly and deeply. With regular practice, breathing rate can be reduced from fifteen breaths in a minute to 5 to 6 breaths a minute that means it is almost one-third of what we breathe normally. As the breathing rate is reduced more oxygen is pumped in. It is best to follow the ratio of 1: 2 for inhaling or exhaling the oxygen, which would help in reducing the wear and tear of internal organs and keeping the blood pressure normal, relaxes the body tension and quiets the nerves.
Pranayama increases Lifespan
As per the yogic philosophy, a practice of pranayama increases the life span. As the humans start breathing slowly they utilize the lungs more efficiently. For instance, a tortoise breathes once in three minutes, and it can live for 300 years, a rabbit breathes 45 times in a minute and its life is until fifteen years. Likewise, the breathing rate of a living species decides its age, and by decreasing the number of breaths, a human being can increase their life. This is only possible through the regular practice of pranayama.
Pranayama improves blood circulation
When we inhale, the fresh oxygenated blood travels from lungs to the heart. The heart pumps the blood through arteries and blood vessels to each part of the body, which the air seeps into each tissue and cell. This improves the blood circulation and keeps humans away from many heart-related issues and problems.
Pranayama keeps the Heart Healthy
With pranayama, more oxygen is generated in the blood which means heart muscles are also getting more oxygen. Sukha pranayama removes blockages in the arteries, improves high blood pressure, is a great stress buster and a mental tonic.
Pranayama improves the functioning of the body parts:
Better functioning of the system improves the working of heart, lungs, diaphragm, intestines, kidneys, and pancreas.
It improves the Digestive system and diseases pertaining to it
Irritability that is caused due to lethargy or fatigue is reduced.
It improves the immune system.
Pranayama builds energy
The loss of energy that we feel every day in our body is due to our incorrect breathing. We might be using only the small portion of our lungs and not getting sufficient oxygen causing improper waste disposal from our body, thus functioning of the body is reduced and the cells/tissues fail to regenerate themselves because of insufficient energy. The pranayama practice helps in the intake of oxygen up to five times and that means you are removing five times of carbon dioxide from your body.
Pranayama reduces mental disturbances
Persons facing mental disturbances like fear, anxiety, anger and disappointment get calmed down with pranayama. It works on the brain cells and improves memory, concentration level, and observation.
It is our Karma or deeds that give us the life we live, and it is through pranayama that we attain that Karma which ultimately leads us to attain a blissful and healthy life. Adopt pranayama in daily routine with rhythmic movements of breathing and soon you will see how the quality of our life has considerably improved.
--Article by Sunita Choudhary