Pranayama is the formal practice of controlling the breath, which is the source of our prana, or vital life force. It is a process of breath control in yoga. In modern yoga as exercise, it consists of synchronizing the breath with movements between asanas but is also a distinct breathing exercise on its own, usually practiced after asanas. In texts like the Bhagavad Gita, it meant the complete cessation of breathing.
Benefits of Pranayama
- Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress-related disorders.
- One can control the rhythms of pranic energy with pranayama and achieve a healthy body and mind.
- Improves the quality of sleep.
- Increases peace of mind.
- Reduces high blood pressure.
- Improves lung function.
5 types of prana are responsible for various pranic activities in the body, they are Prana, Apana, Vyan, Udana, and Samana. Out of these Prana and Apana are most important. Prana is upward flowing and Apana is downward flowing. The practice of Pranayama achieves the balance in the activities of these pranas, which results in a healthy body and mind.
How to Do Pranayama, Body Gestures and State of Mind
- The first two fingers of the right-hand palm are to be curved and the last two fingers are to be kept straight and to be held together.
- Now straighten the thumb and bending the right hand in the elbow, place the curved fingers in such a way that they come near the lips.
- Keep your hand from shoulder to elbow glued to the chest. Keep the right-hand thumb on the right side of the nose and last two fingers on the left side of the nose.
- Now by pressing the thumb, the nasal cavity on the right side can be closed and by pressing the last two fingers left side cavity can be closed.
- The pressure should be light and on just below the nasal bone, where the fleshy part begins. With this arrangement of the fingers, one can close any of the two nasal cavities. Here only the movement of thumb and the last two fingers is expected.
- Movement of other parts should be avoided.
- The eyes should be closed and the whole attention should be concentrated on breathing so that it will be possible to acquire it.