An awareness of self can bring you closer to life and in the lap of spirituality. this is how Pranayama works.
Pranayama or yogic breathing techniques hold crucial value in the practice of yoga. Pranayama comes from two words – Prana and Ayama which means ‘life force’ and ‘extension’. The breathing techniques associated with pranayama enhance the source of prana in the body thus, increasing vital life force.
It is believed that pranayama came into existence even before the physical asanas were introduced. The importance of pranayama in yoga can be well-understood from the ancient Sanskrit texts on Hatha yoga that emphasized a lot on yogic breathing.
Pranayama comes with numerous benefits like outer and inner health, clarity of mind, lightness of heart, physical well-being and more. Thus, it is quite understandable that during yoga classes, every yoga teacher in India focuses on teaching the students at least the basic pranayama techniques which ultimately aids in the practice of yoga.
Types of Pranas
There are five types of Prana which are responsible for all the activities related to prana. These are Prana, Apana, Vyan, Udana, and Samana. They are responsible for all the pranic activities in the body. Pranic activities, also known as pranic healing or 5 vayus are the significant forces of life.
1. Prana means all the energies in the universe. The concept of Prana is found in the Upanishads. It is thought to have consisted of the fundamentals of atman. It is a driving force for all the vayus.
2. Apana is responsible for eliminating all the wastes from the body. It is the second most important Vayu among the five. People may not have motivation in case Apana does not take place properly. In the case of unhealthy functioning of Apana, people may feel dull and lazy.
3. Vyan infuses in the whole body and is a coordinating chain in the body. Vyan looks after the whole body as an integrated whole. Vyan Vayu also takes care of the functioning of the muscles. Its function is also related to water.
4. Udana's is supposed to have its presence in the throat and head. It functions mainly for the eyes, ears, and nose. Disturbance in the role of Udana Vayu can lead to health disorders. It is claimed to look after the overall growth of the body.
5. The presence of Samana is thought to exist between the navel and the heart. It controls metabolism and digestion. It helps in absorbing oxygen from the air.
Benefits of Pranayama
1. It helps in the performance of asanas. The role of the breath in asanas is very crucial.
2. It makes the unification of the body possible. Our breath, action, and consciousness are unified while doing Pranayama. It makes the inner cells vigorous.
3. Rekindles the energy for the performance of the asanas. If you are tired, a few minutes of pranayama can bring back the energy and vigor. Sit down and invest a few minutes to the practice and feel the difference. The fundamental breathing awareness taught to students by a yoga instructor in India is with the help of pranayama techniques.
4. Focus on positive thoughts. Relaxed awareness of the inhalation and exhalation while practicing pranayama clears the mind of unwanted and negative thoughts and creates a positive feeling.
5. Enables an adequate supply of oxygen. Pranayama enables an adequate supply of oxygen in the body and purifies the toxins from the blood.
6. Manages the blood pressure: It manages the blood pressure if done regularly in the morning.
The benefits of Pranayama in yoga are innumerable. Moreover, proper breathing is crucial for physical and mental health.