Pranayama is derived from the words prana meaning life force and ayama meaning control. So in effect, pranayama helps you regulate your life force to your benefit. It is not just a breathing exercise but a way to bring about a positive change in your life.
There are different exercises that constitute pranayama –
Bhastrika Pranayama, Anuloma Viloma, Kapalabhati Pranayama, Bhramari Pranayama and Udgeet Pranayama to name a few. Each exercise has a different kind of breathing pattern. All these breathing exercises are done after performing other yogasanas.
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While doing pranayama, we are changing an involuntary activity like breathing into an activity that one focuses on. You become aware of your breath and with it, become poised to make the most of all of the energy in your body. There is a famous saying that goes- when the breath wanders, the mind is also unsteady. But when the breath is calmed, the mind too is calmed. Practising pranayama helps calm the mind. Not just that, there are many more health benefits of doing pranayama which are listed here:
1. By forcing oneself to breathe deeply through the nostrils, we make sure that the air that enters the body is purified by the nose before it enters into the body.
2. Deep breath, coupled with heaving of the chest or the abdomen stimulates the circulation in the body. This automatically translates into increased energy levels and vitality in the body.
3. The time spent on pranayama on oneself helps in calming your mind and makes you focus and concentrate better. It helps you connect with your inner pulse and also makes you introspect.
4. You have more clarity of purpose and thinking after doing pranayama.
5. With elongated breaths, your breathing rate reduces, and so does blood pressure. Hypertension will be a thing of the past if you practise pranayama on a daily basis.
6. A pranayama session is like a spa session. It helps you unwind and soothes the nerves. It means that you can get that glow naturally on the face by practising pranayama.
7. The body gets more oxygen with each breath during pranayama and the extended exhalation means more effective elimination of toxins with breath. Thus, doing pranayama is the way to go if you want to cleanse your body.
8. It also results in improved immunity since the body is replenishing all the dead cells faster due to more oxygen being available to it.
9. Since it helps calm the nerves, pranayama helps in getting better sleep during the night.
10. More oxygen also translates to better metabolism. If you are practising the kapalabhati pranayama, you are on your way to getting a flat belly soon!
11. Reduced stress, better metabolism and more energy all mean one thing – a better health and longevity.
There are so many benefits associated with pranayama. All you need to do is dedicate about 15-20 minutes every day, find a quiet spot and sit down to do the breathing exercises. 15 minutes is a small price to pay for a better way of life.
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