In Sanskrit, the word Pranayama is composed of two parts, viz. Prana and Ayama. Prana – that most people are unaware of – is vital energy. Ayama’ means ‘control’ so it is called as Pranayama. It is that energy that manifests itself as the self-energizing force embracing one’s body. When this force enfolds the entire body with control, it is called Pranayama. The goal of Pranayama is not to bring the inhale and exhale into a particular relationship with each other. Nor is it to set up a particular length of breath. The different pranayama practices render lots of sundry possibilities for following the breath, as well. When you follow your breath, your mind is drawn into activities of your breath. Pranayama prepares us, in this manner for the stillness of meditation to come.
Benefits Of Pranayama
1. Pranayama Practice Increases Life
As per yoga philosophy, longevity depends on your breathing rate. Lowering of breathing rate is likely to increase your life. For example, a tortoise takes four to five breaths in a minute and it lives up to 200 years or more.
2. Blood Circulation Improves
As a result of breathing, the freshly oxygenated blood (during inhalation) travels from lungs to the heart. The heart pumps it via arteries and blood vessels to every part of the body, where in turn it seeps into every tissue and cell. This improves the blood circulation and more oxygen/ prana or cosmic energy reaches all parts of your body.
3. Pranayama For Healthy Heart
Our heart is the most industrious organ of our body. The heart beats 100,000 times a day. It is pumping blood day in and day out non-stop all your life. The health of your heart determines your life expectancy and quality of life in old age. More oxygen in the blood means more oxygen to muscles of the heart.
4. Benefits Of Pranayama For Functioning Of Body Organs
- Better functioning of autonomic system improves the working of lungs, heart, diaphragm, abdomen, intestines, kidneys and pancreas.
- Digestive system improves and diseases pertaining to digestive organs are cured.
- General irritability due to lethargy/ fatigue vanishes.
- By pranayama practice all body organs gets more oxygen, toxins are removed from body, therefore onset of various diseases is prevented. Pranayama strengthens the immune system.
5. Better Mental Health
- Pranayama practice provides freedom from negative and harmful mental conditions like anger, depression, lasciviousness, greed for money, arrogance etc.
- With pranayama fluctuations of mind are controlled and it prepares the mind for meditation. With practice of pranayama, you will start experiencing lightness of body, feeling of inner peace, better sleep, better memory and better concentration whereby improving the spiritual powers/ skills.
6. Better Breathing Improves Quality Of Life In Old Age
As a person with sedentary lifestyle reaches middle age, lung tissues tend to grow less and less elastic and lung capacity decreases. Pranayama can help to reduce the effects of following old age problems:
- Loss of vitality.
- Accumulation of uric acid in the blood stream which often leads to frequent joint pains and discomfort.
- Backaches, headaches, rheumatism, stiffening muscles and joints.
- Proper circulation of blood is impeded by a sluggish diaphragm or hardening arteries.
Types Of Pranayama :
There are several pranayamas. I am going to mention few of them below which are commonly used.
- Anulom Vilom Pranayam or Nadi Shodhan pranayama
- Kapal Bhati Pranayam
- Bharstika Pranayama
- Bahya Pranayama
- Bhramri Pranayama
- Udgeeth Pranayam
- Pranav Pranayam
- Ujjayi Pranayama
- Murcha Pranayama
- Sheetali Pranayama
- Sheetkari Pranayama