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The fourth of the eight limbs of yoga is pranayama. ‘Prana’ is considered the life force behind all creation and in Pranayama we control this prana through breathing exercises. Pranayama sharpens the mind, cleanses the body, and promotes overall health.
How to do it
There are certain prerequisites for pranayama. One must stick to Yama, Niayama, and Asana, that is, strict diet, restriction, and postures. The following should be taken care of as pre-requisites.
- Enquire from a certified trainer about your eligibility for pranayama.
- Get up early morning. It is the best time to perform Pranayama or any exercise oxygen content in the air is at its maximum early in the morning. Our mind is fresh and de-stressed, letting us gain the maximum.
- Be on an empty stomach and empty your bowls. If required, drink few glasses of warm water. You can take a bath to feel fresh.
- If Pranayama is practiced during any other time, there should be a gap of 5 hours after the meal.
- Try to sit in a noise-free, clean, and open space with maximum exposure to clean and fresh air.
- Carry a comfortable yoga mat.
The technique to do Pranayama is as follows.
- Sit on the mat with legs crossed and spine erect. Keep the head straight and look ahead.
- Sit quietly for some time and breathe normally. Try getting free of all the thoughts entering your mind. Concentrate on your breath.
- Sit erect and close your eyes.
- Take a deep and slow breath. Feel the air gushing in your chest through your nostrils.
- Hold the breath to a very comfortable length. Imagine and feel that the inhaled air is circulating in your body.
- Exhale very slowly and concentrate on the air gushing out of your nostrils.
- Repeat these steps 5 to 10 times. Do not hurry and be completely relaxed.
- After completing, sit relaxed on the same position with closed eyes for few minutes. Imagine that all the impurities of your body are flushed and that you are going to have a great day.
There are innumerable benefits of Pranayama as listed below.
- It expands lungs and improves its oxygen intake capacity
- Pranayama promotes healthy heart
- It improves blood circulation
- It also improves the digestive system and cures related ailments.
- Pranayama cures diseases like Asthma, Headache, Migraine, and tonsillitis, and neurological problems.
- It improves concentration, helps anxiety, and relaxes the body and mind.
- It helps fight stress and depression.
- Pranayama improves the functionality of the reproductive system
- It promotes oxygen circulation throughout the body.
- It stimulates the autonomic, sympathetic, and parasympathetic nervous system and helps them to perform properly.
It is important to learn pranayama from a certified yoga teacher before practicing independently. A daily routine and regular practice is very important to achieve and feel any kind of benefit from it. Pranayama is one of the easiest activities that promote healthy living.