The quality of our breath expresses our inner feeling. Truly said!! Let’s have a discussion on Pranayam, what actually it is and what it does.
Prana is the vital force or cosmic energy that causes any kind of motion even the movement with in an atom. Electricity is prana, breathing is prana and digestion is prana. The different functions have different names but they are all the same current or force that is prana. Pranayam doesn’t mean retention of prana but it is the control or regulation of prana.
Pranayam has three major sections
- Inhalation, Exhalation and Retention. In Ayurveda these are mentioned as Puraka, Rechaka and Kumbhaka. The main purpose of pranayam is to purify the entire system of body and regulate the mind.
The prana here is – movement of the breath and the movement of the mind go together. They are interdependent. Once you learn to regulate the prana, mind gets regulated itself. Let’s take an example. Suppose you are thinking seriously of a problem or trying to understand a passage that you are reading. Mind is totally concentrated on that. All of sudden just stop that concentration and watch your breath. You will be surprised to know that you are not breathing. That is why you take a deep breath after such intense concentration. That is the reason why we meditate to achieve the still ness of the PRANA!! Even the movements of mind are stopped so naturally the breath is also stopped.
There is complete stillness – Mental, Vital and Physical that’s why one is asked to sit quietly and steadily without any movement of the body. This way there is no wastage or utilization of the electricity or prana in the body.
The scriptures say to practice NADI SIDDHI (ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING) alone for several months and that too with proper habits in your life then you get it’s benefits within 2-3 months. When you can do Nadi Suddhi comfortably at a 10:20 count for 30-50 breaths then one is ready for the retention. One must be tension free then only he/she can be considered to be ready for it. Exhalation must be easy. If it’s not so, retention was done beyond your capacity. Increase the retention slowly until you reach the 1:4:2 ratio. Gradually build up capacity. Before you hold your breath, body must be strong enough.
Pranayam alone is not the goal of only practice. Main purpose is to calm and control the mind. Once ration, 1:4:2 is achieved, mind can be controlled easily. There is no hurry, one must practice gradually with perfection and decipline.
Benefits of Pranayam-
It cures the respiratory problems. It is best indicated in health problems like Asthma, Allergies, Bronchitis etc. Practicing it on regular basis can enhance the lungs functions effectively.
It enhances vitality of body of course and makes you more energetic, motivated and happier.
It makes you to understand about having control on body and mind.
It helps in body detoxification.
It expands your aura and gives clarity.
Benefits in relieving stress and hypertension.
Helps to bring harmony in between body mind and soul there fore makes a person physically, Mentally and Spiritually strong.
4 Types of Pranayam are-
1) Bhramari Pranayam (Bee breathing)
2) Kapalbhati Pranayam (Skull shining breathing technique)
3) Bhastrika Pranayam (Bellows breath)
4) Nadi shodhan Pranayam Or Anulom vilom (Alternate nostril breathing technique)
Position to perform Pranayam
One must sit in cross legged position with straight back and closed eyes. Keep yourself stress free and think positive. Just focus on breathing. Slowly increase the number of cycles once you are regular.
Take care that place should be Ventilated, free from dust and pollutants. It should be done morning and evening time before 2-3 hours of meal.
Regulate the breathing and there by control the mind! 🙂
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