What Exactly is Pranayama and Why You Need to do it?
How Exactly Can Pranayama Give You Perfect Health, Long-lasting Youth and Unshakable Happiness.
If you are one of those people who often skip Pranayama after you have done your dally yoga practice or even worse than that, you don’t do pranayama at all, you definitely need to read what I have to say to you in the next few paragraphs. Do it and it will relieve you from colossal sufferings. Skip it and you will have to strive many more moons than expected to achieve whatever you peruse with your daily yoga practice, which for you may be perfect health and for others, happiness peace of mind or get closer to Spirit.
Breathing is life. It is one of our most vital functions. The Forth Stage of the Eightfold Path of Astanga Yoga is Called Pranayama: Pranayama or Breathing Exercise which promotes proper breathing. In a Yogic point of view, proper breathing is to bring more oxygen to the blood and to the brain, and to control Prana or the vital life energy.
Pranayama, is the science of control of the energy. It consists of series of breathing exercises especially intended to bring the energies of the body into control, meet the body’s needs and keep it in vibrant health and finally to withdraw the energy from the senses so the yogi can absorb himself into deep meditation and merge with the infinite.
Many scholars and writers have been making a mistake by saying that the great exponent of Yoga – Patanjali here was referring about breathing exercises.
Pranayama however is only connected to the breath secondary. It’s a big mistake to think that pranayama mean only breath control. Pranayama is the subtle form of energy that permeates the entire creation. Yes, Prana does mean breath as well, but only because there is close connection between the breath and the causative flow of energy in the body. Pranayama therefore really mean energy control. This energy control is often affected with the aid of breathing exercises.
Actually pranayama is control of the vital force energy of the body through yogic breathing exercises. As the yoga scriptures point from thousands of years ago, and recently modern science also came finally to the same conclusion that everything is made of prana (energy). So as we inhale we don’t ONLY bring oxygen to our system but we bring energy, because the real source of breath is energy, not the other way around as some people are saying. Pranayama is the control of the energy in the body.
Hence the way Pranayama is performed is through the science of breath control. It consists of series of breathing exercises intended to bring more oxygen to the blood and to the brain, and to control Prana or the vital life energy. Pranayama is intended to divert all the energy from the body to divine awakening through breathing exercises.
Inhaling helps us to absorb more prana or vital energy and exhaling helps us to expel carbon dioxide, physical and mental wastes.
The grate sage Patanjali state in His Ashtanga yoga Patanjali yoga sutras that this energy control is achieved as a result of various techniques. Although in the The Forth Stage of the Eightfold Path of Astanga Yoga which is “Pranayama” he refers not to the pranayama breathing techniques themselves but to the result achieved from them. The final result of the pranayama is a state in which the energy in the body is harmonized to the point where its flow is reversed. Which means that the flow of energy into the body is no linger outward toward fulfilling the foolishness of the ego and the ever enslaving us senses, but inwardly toward divine awakening. Only when all the energy in the body can be directed toward the hire self, ones awareness can be strong enough and finally lift the veil of delusion that separates us from our natural state of inner and eternal bliss and enter superconsiousness.
The very energy with which we think is the same energy that enables us to walk, talk, go to ski and even to digest a simple sugar molecule. If you think is not true try this: Eat a big plate with spaghetti with tomato sauce and cheese and after half an our try to concentrate in some mental work and let me know how it goes. Chances are you will want to roll over the sofa and take the siesta. But on the other hand if you fast for a day, just notice how clear your mind will become.
Through pranayama we absorb that energy and channel it toward inner spiritual fulfillment which leads to health, happiness and eternal bliss.
Pranayama comes from the following words:
# Prana – “life force” or “life energy”
# Yama – “discipline” or “control”
In our respiration process, we breathe in or inhale oxygen into our body, going through our body systems in a form of energy to charge our different body parts. Then we exhale carbon dioxide and take away all toxic wastes from our body. That’s why every serious yogi and even every person who do yoga and wish to improve any part of his life HAS to do pranayama. Through the practice of Pranayama, the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide is attained. Absorbing prana or energy through breath control helps to unify our body, mind, and spirit.
Pranayama acts as a key; it opens the mind, freeing the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and habits. By breathing from the upper third of the respiratory system, pranayama can move blocked pathways to the brain and the nervous system, creating new patterns, roadways to the superhighway of the superconscious.
Long before we experience divine awakening pranayama will bestow its benefits upon us if practiced regularly and correctly.
Pranayama revitalizes the body, steadies the emotions, and creates great clarity of mind. Maintain the bandhas during pranayama. Place the mind in the breath. Pranayama, like asana practice, is progressive. You build upon what you’ve already done.
Pranayama is the key, it opens the mind, freeing the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and habits.
By breathing from the upper third of the respiratory system, pranayama can move blocked pathways to the brain and the nervous system , creating new patterns roadways to the superhighway of the superconscious.
Types of Pranayama
These are some of the most widely known types of pranayama:
Anulom vilom pranayama
Nadi shodhana pranayama
How to Do Pranayama (Pranayama Steps)
Anulom vilom pranayama
Nadi shodhana pranayama
In order to implement the pranayama breathing techniques is preferable always to do them on an empty stomach. You must always avoid any effort and go slowly, without haste and with patience, so this way you can familiarize with these powerful procedures. If at any time you experience fatigue, suspend the exercise and rest if you have to. If a person suffer from lungs or any type of heart disease he should consult a specialist. It is convenient always to remain extremely vigilant during the execution of these exercises. You increase the retention of the breath very gradually. Never strain. Build your practice over time.