Simarouba Yoga and Naturopathy Clinic
Thippasandra, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
Yoga is a discipline that includes various physical, mental and spiritual practices, originating from ancient India. People have been practising yoga since the Indus Valley Civilisation. Yoga has also been mentioned in various Hindu, Buddhist and various other religious texts.
With time Yoga grew as a discipline in India, and later on, was spread to the West. Now it is a global practise, and outside the West, it has now been reduced to a posture-based physical fitness, stress-relief and relaxation technique. But yoga is a lot more than physical exercises; it includes both mental and spiritual development of a person.
Various texts divide yoga into various aspects focusing on developing a part of an individual, be it physical, mental or spiritual. One such element is pranayama.
What is Pranayama
Pranayama has been mentioned in the Rig Veda, Upanishads, and is also a part of Yoga Sutra, Patanjali's Yoga, and various forms of yoga over time. Prana means life-force, which for us is our breath and this form of yoga teaches us the art of skilful breathing. It is a set of breathing exercises that helps with asanas and concentration.
Pranayama is practised along with asanas, and it helps regulate our breathing while we exercise. Pranayam is also a separate exercise on its own, that is practised after performing the various asanas.
Some religious texts refer to pranayama as a complete cessation of breathing; meaning its a way our body can take control of how we breathe.
Once you master pranayama, you will be able to heal your inner self, while your mind will reach a point of relaxation, and you will understand concentration.
These procedures must be finished sitting in a meditation pose. Except if that is the situation, mainly if the training includes requesting movements, I don't consider it pranayama.
Today, various types of light breathing strategies are called pranayama, by not all that fluffy yoga educators. A few educators will even name a couple of deep belly breaths pranayama. Nonetheless, pranayama in hatha yoga is a thorough strategy that incorporates holding the breath or breathing gradually.
Old yogis considered pranayama and breath maintenance to be significant.
Pranayama is a lot older than the physical activities that make up contemporary physical yoga. In the old Sanskrit messages on hatha yoga, the "asana" or seat was at first the posture you sat in to rehearse meditation and breathing activities. The stances of present-day physical yoga are not much older than a hundred years of age.
As of now in ancient times, pranayama was viewed as difficult. Some even likened it with asceticism. The prominent job of pranayama and breath maintenance is uncovered by the tremendous measure of consideration given to it in the Sanskrit texts on hatha yoga.
Benefits of Pranayama
Oxygen is the most vital nutrient in our body. It is important for the integrity of the brain, nerves, glands and internal organs. The science of breathing is called pranayama. It is best to do pranayama while sitting on the floor on a folded blanket. A poorly performed pranayama will end up with an individual taking shallow breaths while having low endurance. It is important to empty the bladder and bowels before starting pranayama yoga.
Yoga must be performed on an empty stomach, and it is best to perform it in the early morning before sunrise when the pollution is at the lowest level. If someone is not able to perform it in the morning, then do it after sunset, when the air is fresh and pleasant. The place must be clean and calm.
- Practising the above will bring in a lot of benefits such as;
- Complete stress relief
- A clear mind due to which you will have an improved thought process and better judgement
- Helps with concentration, and rods you of unwanted distractions
- Regulates and maintains blood pressure
- Improves breathing and relieves asthma and breathing difficulties
- Breathing properly leads to having healthier internal organs and improving their respective body function
- It helps a person heal from the insides and gives them a sense of perception
- In some cases, it is useful in weight loss
- Helps us relax our body and muscles
- Boosts energy levels
- Since you can now control your breathing, it prevents easy fatigue and keeps your energy up throughout the day
Types of Pranayama
There are different types of pranayama exercises. This is determined based on the pose involved as well as the rhythm of breathing. Some common pranayama techniques include Nadi Shodhana (to purify your body channels), Shitali Pranayama (meaning: cooling breath), Ujjayi Pranayama (involves mimicking ocean waves), Kapalabhati Pranayama (shining skull), and Dirga Pranayama (three-part breath).
Things to consider before starting pranayama
Pranayama and hatha yoga involves a lot of complicated postures, and it is known to be the type of yoga that causes the most number of injuries.
Always be careful before you begin pranayama. If you feel dizzy, light-headed or uncomfortable, then the wise thing to do would be to stop immediately and let your body breathe normally. In such a situation, it is better if you have an instructor to supervise and guide you.
We know that pranayama helps better lung capacity, but it is a change that occurs gradually. Do not force or restrict your breathing in order to improve lung capacity. For pranayama to be successful, it is imperative that the quality of breath is not compromised. With time and practice, you will get a better hold over the exercises, and you will be able to use more of your lung capacity.
If you suffer from conditions such as diabetes, high or low blood pressure, epilepsy, vertigo, heart conditions, or if you’re pregnant, then consult a health provider as well as a professional yoga practitioner before you perform pranayama.
Yoga is a complex practise that has been developing for a long time, and now what we have is an amalgamation of practices from various scriptures. There are other types of pranayama that help achieve different goals. But for now, learning the above will help you heal internally, and cleanse your body, while also being an effective technique to relax your mind.
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