Pranayama Yoga: It is Breathing Well
Pranayama Yoga or yoga breathing is an exact, practical science in yoga that fuses the ancient sciences of yoga and pranayama into a simple yet remarkably powerful discipline that is now practiced for all-dimensional health by happy and successful people across the world. The word “pranayama” is a combination of the root words “prana” meaning “subtle, self-energizing life force” and “ayama” meaning “expansion or regulation”. Hence pranayama means “expansion of the subtle life force through modulation of the breath”.
Practice of pranayama yoga synthesizes the mind-body complex to be in the most desirable and optimum state that enables a person to live up to his/her full potential. It brings more prana to the blood and brains through inhalation. Systematic regulation of prana into the body through inhalation (energizes the body), exhalation (relaxes the body), and holding the breath for counts of time, are instrumental in bringing more life-supporting prana to body, and in expelling the waste toxin gases that form nearly ninety-eight per cent of our bodily waste. This only compounds the fact that as we grow older, our body’s subconscious breathing becomes shallower and quicker, this results in a host of physical and emotional disorders, some subtle while others very pronounced. If not controlled through pranayama yoga, these disorders affect our bodily and emotional health, the quality of our mind, and the quality of life we live.
Low prana results in negative emotions of jealousy, anger, irritability, violent behavior, impatience, arrogance, depression, and in a host of other physical problems that intensify with time.
Pranayama yoga is an important part of asanas and conducive to meditation thus, enabling today’s ambitious, go-getter generation to achieve the highest form of purification and self-discipline for the body and the mind. Proven over a timeline spanning thousands of years, pranayama yoga is the single-most powerful tool to realize a super mind that can focus as well as relax at the same time- a unique ability that is much desired today for a work-life balance and professional excellence.
Pranayama yoga strengthens the lungs, increases oxygen intake into the body for the blood to keep muscles in shape and brain functions optimum, improves concentration and cognitive brain functions dramatically, calms the mind for better decisions, reduces negative emotions and unhealthy tendencies, agelessness and agility, and, controls asthma, allergies, blood pressure, respiratory problems, stress-related cardiac problems, hyperactivity, sleeplessness, chronic pain (rheumatism, migraine, backache), endocrine and thyroid imbalances, loss of vitality, hypertension and psychological conditions. The most celebrated aspect of pranayama yoga is in reducing the breath counts per minute from fifteen to only five, dramatically prolongs the life span. A remarkable example is the tortoise that breathes four-five times in a minute and lives nearly two hundred years.
Pranayama yoga has four generic stages. The first stage of Puraka (inhalation) involves drawing in air in a smooth and continuous manner. A sub-stage called Bhyantara Kumbhaka (suspension after inhaling) involves pausing for a moment after inhalation. In the second stage Antara Kumbhaka, one holds the breath to expand the lung capacity and retain the prana. The fourth stage of Rechaka (exhalation) comprises exhaling the breath in a smooth and continuous manner and for a longer span of time as compared to inhalation. The sub-stage called Bahya Kumbhaka (suspension after exhaling) involves deliberate pause after exhalation, completes one cycle.
These are clubbed with different asanas (poses) and mudras (hand movements) across different lines of yoga for a better you, a better me and a better everybody.