Pranayama is a term every yoga practitioner may have heard from his yoga teacher or studio.
But what the word means? The term is derived from the word “Prana” which means the life-giving force (breath) and “Ayama” which means “expansion” or “extension”.
Prana is considered an important force that is highly responsible for the proper functioning of the body and in yogic terms, it is a strong energy that goes through the important chakras and nadis situated in our body to keep it holistically healthy.
Breathing is the key to prana, and it has a major role in everyone’s life because without it there is no life.
The role of pranayama is to enhance our basic breathing with the help of various techniques to promote mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.
And whenever there is a disturbance in the movement of prana because of the blockages in your chakras or nadis, it is believed that the person will start to feel sick.
Therefore, breathing properly is important, which pranayama teaches us.
In studies, it was discovered that most of our air cells remain inactive and people who breathe incorrectly only utilize a part of their lungs.
Thus, prana teaches us to use our lungs to its full potential to gain proper health, as well as, it is a great method to detoxify your body.
Benefits of Pranayama
1. Stress Relieve
Stress is the cause of every health problem you have ever seen or observed and whether it is pranayama or yoga, the first benefit I have ever observed when performing them personally is stress-relief.
Pranayama helps to get rid of stress, by taking long and deep breaths it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to induce peace and calmness in your mind-body.
With deep breaths, you inhale more oxygen, more oxygen means more energy, and further, relieve pressure on the neck and the upper chest muscles.
Do you ever feel a lack of sleep? Then, try this great method which is also used by our Indian Military to fall asleep in less time.
The 4 – 7- 8 – breathing technique
This technique will help you relieve stress and is based on the breath retention or Kumbhaka Pranayama.
Follow these 4 simple steps mentioned below and at the end repeat the process.
- With making a whoosh sound, exhale out entirely through your mouth.
- While counting to four seconds, inhale directly from your nose without making the whooshing sound.
- Hold your breath for seven seconds.
- After holding your breath, exhale out entirely from your mouth while counting to eight seconds. (making a whooshing noise)
Consistently performing pranayama techniques like this one will help to achieve more control over your breath, even in stressful situations.
2. Making you more aware
By regularly performing pranayama, you start to examine your breath by slowly building up your awareness and focus with your thoughts and with your surroundings.
And as you will gain more awareness, you will simultaneously achieve greater control over your mind.
3. Becoming more peaceful and relaxed
Just stop right now and take deep breaths for the next 30 seconds.
What do you feel? You might have observed the soothing effect of prana.
With regularly practicing controlled breathing techniques, it induces a relaxing effect on your muscles, nerves, and your overall body.
As consistency is the key, practicing pranayama regularly makes you habitual of deep breathing, which makes you more peaceful and relaxed at all times.
You can practice Nadi Shodhana to bring peace, calmness in your daily life.
4. Helps you burn Calories
Research has proven that long-deep breaths help to dissipate fat cells and will help you lose weight gradually and effectively.
The Pranayama technique called “ Anuloma Viloma ” can help you burn fatty cells of your body.
To perform Anuloma Viloma, you need to breathe in from one of your nostrils, then holding on it, and breathing out from your other nostrils. Performing this with some yoga poses will help you lose weight.
5. Balances your heart rate
After going through your daily yoga routines, you might have an increase in heart rate. So, how to bring it to normal? By performing this technique called Ujjayi Pranayama, which helps you to fill your lungs by breathing through your nose and by slightly contracting your throat.
This is a proven technique to induce relaxation and establishing normal heart rates by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
6. Improve Digestion
By combining pranayama techniques with belly breathing you can stimulate your dome-shaped diaphragm muscles, which lie under your lungs and on top of your internal organs.
With this method, you lead your diaphragm to fall & rise continuously, which applies a nice massage for your delicate organs.
You can practice Kapal Bhati pranayama, which not only improves your digestion but also revives your brain cells, brightens your face, energizes your nervous system, and enhances your blood circulation.
7. Boost the Immune System
This is proven by Preliminary studies that breath retention boosts your immune functions and the above discussed diaphragmatic method activates the flow of lymph fluid which includes white blood cells.
Thus, makes the movement of White Blood Cells further easy!
A Quick Summary ( Pranayama Infographic )
Pranayama combined with Yoga is a double bonus health gift one can ever have!
I hope you understood “What Pranayama is? What are its Benefits ?”
So, please share with your friends the magic of Pranayama and tell me ” Which Pranayama technique you like the most in the comment section below.”
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