Reduced stress, improved attention, higher immunity, improved heart health, weight loss, internal cell cleansing, motivation, and improve morale with Pranayama.

I’d add: it’s free, doesn’t require any equipment, and is open to everyone.

Are you up for it?

Yes, I’m referring to pranayama, or the art of breathing, which is a cornerstone of yoga.

Of course, breathing is so “natural,” so automated, and so beneficial to us, that we no longer pay attention to it, which is sad!

Breathing is a constant in our lives, from the moment we take our first breath to the moment we take our last!

Between the two, pranayama uses the breath to manage and calm mental oscillations, allowing us to maximize our physical, psychic, and emotional capacities.

Pranayama is a technique for transforming our essential energy. Learn basic Pranayam Techniques in our 100 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh India.

Why don’t you take a look around a little more?

“When the body is restless, so is the breath.” The yogi achieves fixity when the breath and mind are both still.”

Different types of pranayama practices

Various breathing techniques, such as cardiac coherence techniques, clavicular breathing techniques drawn from Mental Field Therapy, elongated pranayamas, brahamri, viloma, kapalabhati, digital pranayama, bhastrika, sitali, sitakari, and digital pranayama, are discussed in many publications. You’ll be able to practice with these methods!

But first, let’s take a closer look at what pranayama is.

What exactly is pranayama?

The initial meaning of the term “pranayama” is “mastery of the breath,” with “prâna” meaning “breath” and “Yama” meaning “control, regulation,” according to etymology. “Lengthening of the breath” is another meaning of “Yama.”

As a result, pranayama refers to the mastery or lengthening of the breath.

It is, however, much more.

Indeed, the capital letter ” Prâna ” also refers to the universe’s energy, the cosmic energy through which everything moves and lives.

This Prana can be found in live foods (fruits, sprouted seeds, veggies, etc. ), water, sunlight, and the air…

We are always connected to the Prana, whether through the nasal cavities, pulmonary alveoli, tongue, skin, or behind the neck…

As a result, adequate breathing allows the Prana to be absorbed. As a result, the body gets imbued with cosmic energy, allowing it to function properly.

As you can see, we’re talking about a lot more than just oxygen.

Prana is also a vayu, or expansion or inspiration breath.

Read More: History of Yoga

There are five vayus, or breaths, in total:

  • Prana is the absorption and expansion breath. It is the inspiration that allows the energy that sustains everything to enter.
  • Apana is the elimination and evacuation breath. Toxins are removed from the nâdis during breath (energy networks).
  • Samana is the breath of centering and equilibrium.
  • The breath of elevation, elongation, and alleviation is known as Udana. The inhale occurs on its own after Apana, with a feeling of lightening upwards.
  • Vyana is a Sanskrit word that means “spreading breath.” It disperses life and nourishes the body where it is deficient.

These five vayus represent the breath’s enormous sphere of operation.

Breathing technique

The control of the breath is known as pranayama. As a result, it’s merely a matter of becoming conscious of the various breathing times.

It’s fairly straightforward. We imagine it to be difficult because the procedures and phrases originate in India and are described using Sanskrit words; nonetheless, we perform them every day and at all times.

All you have to do is be conscious of what you normally do on autopilot.

“Pranayama is broken down into three sections:

  • recaka (expiration)
  • púraka (inspiration)
  • baking ( retention )

Kumbhaka (breathing suspension) is further subdivided into:

  • suspended with full lungs (antara kumbhaka)
  • suspension poumons vides (bahia kumbhaka)

However, as we’ve seen, pranayama also entails breathing lengthening.

We attempt to expand our breathing capacity after becoming conscious of the four stages of breathing by implementing complete breathing (the renowned “full yogic breathing,” yeah, that’s it!): that is, a deeper breath that incorporates the three levels of breathing (abdominal, thoracic, and clavicular):

  • On the inhale (pûraka), the breath fills the abdomen first; next, as you continue to inhale slowly, the breath fills the thorax; finally, as you continue to inhale slowly, the breath fills the top of the bust (clavicular level).
  • Pause for one to two seconds while holding your breath with your lungs full (Antara kumbhaka).
  • exhale slowly ( recaka ), initially emptying the clavicular area, then continue to exhale slowly, emptying the thorax as it expands out, then continue to exhale emptying the abdomen.
  • Pause for one to two seconds while holding your breath and emptying your lungs (Bahia kumbhaka). Allow the inhale to return to the belly and slowly rise towards the top of the bust, like a gentle wave.

Breathing in this manner has an unexpected effect with various consequences.

But what is the purpose of Pranayama?

Here’s what the yoga-sutras of Patanjali (2nd century AD) and the Hatha-Yoga Pradipika (1500 AD) say:

mental well-being

“Mind stability is achieved by exhalation and breath suspension.

“The mind is restless when the breath is unsettled.” The yogin achieves fixity when the breath is still and the mind is still. That is why one should practice pranayama and hold their breath.

The movement of subtle energy

“As a result, pranayama must be practiced regularly in a sattvic state of mind until the impurities that impede the susumma Nadi are purged.”

According to Indian tradition, pranayama has the following effects.

Read More: Yoga with Pregnancy

Concentration

“Whoever masters the breath, masters, the intellect as well.” And whoever has mastered the intellect has mastered the breath as well.

“And the mind develops the ability to concentrate in a variety of ways.

Cure of diseases

“When Pranayama is done correctly, it eliminates all ailments.”

Toxins will be burned as a result of pranayama

The human body is regarded as a boiler:

Breathing is separated into two zones: inhalation and exhalation.

– the Prâna, which is allocated for inspiration, permits energy to enter. Inhaling accelerates combustion and heightens the flame.

– the bottom for exhaling: Apana, which is the breath that will expel and evacuate. Toxins are burned during exhalation, which aids in their removal. Because the poisons are being burned, subtle energies, such as kundalini, will be able to circulate more freely.

Consciousness awakening

However, the most important aspect of pranayama is:

“One must correctly exhale, inhale, and hold back the breath at all times to achieve full fulfillment.”

“What covers the light then evaporates.”

“One must continually push up Apana Vayu and push down inspired prana while sitting in padmasana. Through the power of shakti, whoever does this achieves matchless insight.

Breathing’s Physiological Effects According to Modern Science

Setting up a purposeful, slow, abundant, and regular breathing pattern has remarkable results:

A complimentary physiological massage

The diaphragm rises and falls dramatically during a full inhale. Suddenly, each of our abdominal organs slides against each other, changing shape, pulling attachment tendons on the fascia, and sliding. These bodily activities are necessary for the proper functioning of our organs.

The transverse muscle is especially crucial for our body to tone:

The digestive tract (as well as the spleen, stomach, and pancreas) are massaged and toned, and the liver is decongested.

However, in our contemporary way of life, both organs are frequently mistreated, which has several negative effects on our health, as the intestines and liver are two pillars on which our mental and physical well-being is dependent.

A little body cleaning is in order

Breathing provides oxygen: the lungs and heart work together as a pump to circulate blood, bringing pure oxygen to our cells (which have a vital need for it). In exchange, the cells give up their waste (carbon dioxide). These wastes from the body are burnt in the lungs.

Good breathing keeps germs at bay (including Koch’s bacillus, which causes tuberculosis, but also many others).

Also, thoroughly empty your lungs.

Refresh the stale air that has gathered in the bottom third of the lungs, making it healthier and toxin-free.
Allows the lungs to be properly nourished, allowing them to be more flexible and functional.

Antibodies are strengthened

We improve the velocity of fluids flowing through all of our body’s tissues when we practice complete yogic breathing, which promotes better cell feeding, more efficient waste elimination, and stronger immune defense.

Lymph, which is present around our blood arteries, organs, and cells, contains 6 to 10 liters (far more than blood, which has 3.5 to 5 liters).

We alternately saturate and squeeze our tissues (as if scrubbing a sponge) when inhaling and exhaling, which cleans our interstitial fluid.

Our lymphatic system is in charge of infection prevention and detoxification. As a result, it is far more functional and efficient.

Even faster than fasting, the great fasting expert Désiré Mérien discovered that particular breathing methods could rapidly reduce the body’s acidity (the root of practically all illnesses).

Read More: How to choose the correct YTT

Pranayama has a variety of psychological consequences as well

Breathing incorrectly has a negative impact not only on our physical health but also on our mental wellbeing.

We intuitively understand that our breathing patterns are linked to our emotional state.

Science has also confirmed this.

The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are two parts of our autonomic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system energizes us so that we can respond to a threat, while the parasympathetic nervous system moderates it and allows us to relax.

These two systems should cycle on and off in response to life events in a healthy life.

Unfortunately, we overstimulate our sympathetic nervous system and understimulate our parasympathetic nervous system in today’s environment, with devastating health repercussions.

Living with an overworked sympathetic nervous system in a constant state of stress contributes to nearly every type of sickness, from heart disease and hypertension to digestive problems, diabetes, back pain, joint pain, auto-immune disease, sleeplessness, and more.

A daily practice of pranayama, on the other hand, promotes the parasympathetic nervous system. Taking time each day to actively activate the parasympathetic nervous system will lower the health risks linked with chronic stress dramatically over time.

What exactly is the purpose of pranayama?

There is a “fourth mode of breathing” that goes beyond the level of consciousness and leads to samadhi, which is a state of meditation.

In a traditional Indian method, pranayama aims to establish a state of meditation to awaken consciousness, according to ancient Indian writings.

The fourth mode of breathing will be known as this in the Yoga Sutras:

” There is a fourth mode of breathing that exists outside of the plane of consciousness where we distinguish between inspiration and expiration. »

As a result, the breath is held in communion with the subtle. It is a protracted period of non-breathing, free of the concept of time, and the awareness of being fully awake. Then there appears to be an inner delight.

The challenge is that pranayama must not be subjected to mind control, which is the polar opposite of this knowledge; you must entirely let go and establish a contemplative attitude from the energetic heart, Anahata chakra.

To reach Kundalini awakening and the level of Raja Yoga, all previous practices must make it feasible to achieve Kevala Kumbhaka with ease (which is the awakening of consciousness and unity with the Absolute). However, several actions should not be omitted to respect the body.

So now you know everything there is to know about pranayama!

This is why there are so many different techniques. Many of these can be found by clicking here.

The more we practice, the more we see that we have control over our emotions, and the more we trust ourselves. It’s the start of a virtuous cycle.

If this method has been practiced for millennia, it is because it works!

So, are you ready to begin?

If you enjoyed this post, please share it on social media.