Pranayama, the breathing exercises of yoga

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A person can live without food for weeks, without water and sleep for days but without air, only for seconds. Such is the criticality of air, and yet, we do not realize the fact that we breathe air every single day. We all are in survival mode regarding our breathing,i.e., taking air subconsciously to survive. Because of this attitude, many diseases occur in humans. If man could learn to breathe consciously and peacefully, only then would he be able to live calmly.

The old sagas understood the importance of air, and they laid great emphasis on it. They invented a system of breathing exercise called Pranayama. In Sanskrit, it means the control of pranas or the control of life-giving substance. Such is the importance of Pranayama that in most of the cases, pranayama is incorporated with yoga asanas.

Pranayama is seen as a source of increasing one’s pranas or life. Better breathing, after all, means better oxygen supply to your lungs. This will help every muscle to be rejuvenated and contributes in fighting asthma and many other breathing related problems. Breathing exercises area crucial part of one of the aspects of Ashtanga yoga or eight-limbs. Many pranayama exercises are easy to follow and can help you in achieving your health goals.

Some of the benefits of practicing pranayama when performed on a daily basis are:

  • Pranayama enhances the quality of breathing or Prana that boosts oxygen level in the body.
  • On a spiritual aspect, it helps to clean out all the negative energy from the body as your chakras and nadis start to open up.
  • It makes a person feel more energetic and relaxed as the level of life-giving pranas increases in the body.
  • It creates a balance between the body, mind, and soul. It helps to correct your body clock too.

Here is some straightforward and efficient pranayama that you can perform in the comfort of your home:

  1. The Natural Breath

The foundation of having a cheerful breathing exercise ensures that you breathe air and it is an entity that goes in and out of your body. In short, it is transforming from non-conscious to the conscious stage. Here is an exercise to do so:

  • Take a deep breath and feel the air rushing in.
  • Breathe out and feel the air rushing out.
  • Inhale good thoughts while breathing in and take out the negativity when breathing out.
  1. Sahita Pranayama

When you pause in between inhaling and exhaling, that pause is known as Kumbha. It is another important phase that we will incorporate in our next exercise. It increases patience and stamina.

  • Take a deep breath for 5-7 seconds and focus on your breath.
  • Pause for a few moments and be conscious of the stillness.
  • Exhale the air for 7-9 seconds and feel the stress going away.
  • Hold the breath for a few seconds and realize the stillness.
  1. Bhramari Pranayama

In Sanskrit, Bhramari means buzzing like a bee. This exercise is helpful in synchronizing your body with the mind. It also soothes ailments related to the nervous system and creates a balance between the mind and body.

  • Take a deep breath through the nose.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Put your thumb on one ear, index finger on the eye and the rest of the fingers on your nose.
  • Exhale while humming “OM.”
  • Repeat it for 5 minutes and rest in Shavasana.
  1. Dirga Pranayama

It is a three-fold breathing in which the breathing occurs in 3 parts.

  • Take a deep breath first and fill your belly or abdomen with air.
  • Move up to your lower chest.
  • Fill your upper chest.
  • Exhale in reverse

Parting words

Pranayama is, without a doubt, a serene breathing exercise that calms the body and the soul.

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