What is Pranayama? Pranayama is a Sanskrit word that means ‘control of breath. Pranayama is increasing the distance between two breaths, controlling the speed of inhalation and exhalation, and stopping and exhaling. What pranayama means is holding and exhaling the breath slowly and deeply comes in the sequence of pranayama.
What Is Pranayama?
The Sanskrit word Pranayama means Prana + Ayam. ‘Prana’ means life and ‘Ayam’ means long. Pranayama in general meaning is healing and long life. Pranayama is the first and best step in yoga practice. The type of breathing techniques in pranayama is divided into three stages: Inhalation through the nose (Purak), retention (Kumbak), and exhalation (Rechak). According to Maharshi Patanjali, Pranayama is a powerful force capable of controlling life.
What Are the Importance and Benefits of Pranayama?
Effects of Pranayama on Physical Health: Man can survive for weeks without food, days without water, but not even a moment without breathing.
Yoga gurus in ancient India succeeded in uncovering this secret. Despite all external actions, to stay healthy in food, to keep the soul alive, and to stay fresh regardless of age, Indians accepted Bapanam as a part of life. Which attracted the attention of the whole world. For hundreds of years, Indian culture, which has made yoga the basis of life, has been seen as a beacon to the world.
In the Vedic period, the Gurus gave society a wonderful vision of the science of the soul. The action and reaction of the outer universe and the inner universe are also the same. At the subtle level, the universe is present in the consciousness, and the manifestation of the universe exists in the body or body.
What is Panchaprana?
Panchabhata’s body protects the soul in the body with the help of the five senses. The soul controls the mind and senses. According to Ayurveda, the soul is completely different from the air. Which is called Panchaprana in Vedic scriptures.
The soul is one in the body, but the soul is divided into five parts according to its location and function. Along with this, the body also has 5 organs that work to purify the breath. Which affects the body’s fundamentals and is related to the chakras.
- Prana: The air required for heart action is received by the body through the mouth and nose.
- Samana: Samana Vayu carries air from the intestines to the navel and acts as a filter.
- Apana: Apana Vayu carries air from the navel to the feet and performs the functions of urination and excretion.
- Udana: It moves the air from the throat to the head and keeps the air in a straight position.
- Vyana: That which is present in the whole body.
Panchaprana and Its Location in the Body
- Prana: From the throat to the heart
- Samana: From the bottom of the heart to the navel
- Apana: From the bottom of the navel to the foot
- Udana – From the top of the neck to the head
- Vyana: All over the body
The human body has five Upa-prana along with five Pranas. Which works to keep the soul cells clean, healthy, and healthy.
Actions like coughing, sneezing, flapping, yawning, and itching are performed by the five Upa-pranas namely Naga, Krinkala, Kurma, Devadatta, and Dhananjay. Now find out the location of Panchupprana.
Location of Pancha Upa-Prana
- The Prana Vayus Upaprana Naga is above the navel.
- The Samana Vayus Upaprana Krinkala is located on the lateral side of the respiratory tract.
- The Apana Vayus Upaprana Kurma stays in the eyes.
- The Udana Vayus Upaprana Devadatta is located on the upper part of the trachea in the throat.
- The Vyana Vayus Upaprana Dhananjay is located in bones, skin, blood, and hair.
Pancha Upaprana is also related to Panchabhata in the body. The soul and sub-soul are connected to a particular element and help to activate a particular cycle.
- Pranavayu activates the Anahata Chakra.
- The Samana Prana activates the Manipur Chakra.
- Apana Prana activates the Muladhara Chakra.
- Udan Prana activates the Vishuddhi Chakra.
- Vyana Prana activates the Swadhisthana Chakra.
Prana Vayu is activated by air, Samana Prana by Fire, Apana Prana by Soil, Udana Prana by Space, and Vyana prana is activated by water.
Pancha Upa Prana and Its Functions in the Body
- Naga: Naga is the air that regulates burping.
- Krinkala: Krinkala is the Upa-prana that governs sneezing.
- Kurma: Kurma is the upa-prana that controls contracting movements that are blinking and allows for vision.
- Devadatta: Devadatta controls yawning.
- Dhananjaya: Dhananjaya controls the functioning of heart valves. Sleeping, producing phlegm, circulation of blood, particularly in the heart, and decomposition after death.
All humans, regardless of age, or physical fitness, are capable of performing this action. During this simple action, the maximum benefit can be obtained by giving up thoughts and imagination and focusing the consciousness only on the breath. This simple exercise can improve whole-body mobility problems.
Breath is the most important part of life but we ignore it. Which leads us to unconsciousness. But by consciously controlling your breath, you can heal, relieve stress, and even control the most energy-sapping emotions.
Important Health Benefits of Pranayama
- It clears the airways and normalizes breathing and prevents diseases.
- It purifies the blood and removes toxins from the body.
- It destroys Vata, Pitta, and Kapha diseases.
- It normalizes blood pressure.
- It refreshes the body by delivering oxygen to the right parts of the body.
Difference between Pranayama and Normal Breathing
Breathing is something we naturally let out and take in, but performing this action fresh is called pranayama. Pranayama calms our mind and body; Finally, it connects us to the source.
By increasing control over the mind, we can accomplish more. When we focus our mind on our breath and perform a yoga action or a posture, our body also follows this action which gradually connects the body to the source.
But during normal breathing, the air that we take into the alveoli and bronchi of the lungs is only a part of the primary flow of air. Every part of our body needs air. which refreshes the body. Without air, the body becomes dull and dry.
What Are the Types of Pranayama?
There is no definite answer to the question of how many types of pranayama there are. There are innumerable types of living things on the surface of the earth, so there are types of yogasanas. But within that, we practice the excellent 84 yogasanas. Similarly, while there are an indefinite number of pranayama, yoga gurus recommend mainly 7 to 10 types of pranayama.
- Anuloma Viloma
How to do Pranayama for Beginners
Breathing is the most important process in the body. It affects the functioning of every cell in the body. Most importantly, breathing is closely related to the functioning of the brain. Humans breathe about 15 times per minute and about 21,600 times per day.
Breathing provides oxygen to the body and creates energy in the body. Breathing is connected to all aspects of the human experience Because most people are not aware of their breathing, they use a very small part of their body’s lung capacity.
After a few days of practicing Pranayama, the breathing becomes smooth and every part of the body is affected. Due to fast and slow breathing, the maximum capacity of the lungs is activated and the nervous weakness is removed.
Before starting Pranayama, there are several points to consider:-
- Morning and evening are the best times to practice pranayama.
- Pranayama should be done at a specific time every day.
- Pranayama should be done only on an empty stomach.
- Pranayama should be done before eating or at least 5 hours after eating.
- Do not do pranayama in closed rooms or air-conditioned rooms.
- Choose a quiet, clean, and pleasant environment during leisure time.
- Wear comfortable clothes made of natural fibers instead of tight clothes.
- Sit with the spine straight in Padmasana, Sukhasana, Sidhhasana or Vajrayana.
- Before doing Pranayama, hands, feet, and face should be washed and purified.
- After 20 minutes of Pranayama, drink the water collected 4 hours earlier in an earthen or copper vessel.
- The bath should be taken after the body temperature is normal.
How to Do Nadi Shodhan Pranayama?
Every action and reaction of the body is controlled by the pulse. Nadi Shudhana Pranayama is performed to purify the 72 thousand nadis in the human body This simple action awakens the soul energy and maintains the balance between Ida and Pingala.
Nadishodhana pranayama or Alternate Nostril Breathing is balancing the left and right hemispheres of the brain, deeply calming the nervous system, and revitalizing the mind.
- Sit in Padmasana, Siddhasana, Sukhasana, or Vajrasana with the spine straight.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
- Keeping the right nostril closed with the thumb, slowly inhale through the left nostril.
- Hold the air in the chest for a while.
- Close the left nostril with the index and little finger and exhale silently through the right nostril.
- After doing this 3 times, change from right to left.
How to Do Sheetli Pranayama | Cooling Breath to Calm Your Mind and Body
One of the best breathing exercises to calm your mind and body. Sheetli Pranayama properly removes the excess heat in the body to further cool your body by reducing anxiety, fear, and depression.
Take a long, deep inhalation through the tube in the tongue which is formed by folding both sides of the tongue. After Inhalation closes your mouth and exhales with both nostrils. Repeat this about 8 to 10 times.
By doing regular cold pranayama, hunger and thirst are overcome and pitta disease, high blood pressure, and tongue and throat diseases are completely eradicated.
How to Do Sheetkari Pranayama | Cooling Breath to calm your body and mind
You can feel the power of yoga after doing this easy, simple practice of Sheetkari pranayama like Sheetli. Remember this pranayama is not recommended for cold days and phlegm patients. Now let’s know in brief how to do Sheetkari Pranayama.
One of the best breathing exercises to calm your body and mind. Sheetkari Pranayama properly removes the excess heat in the body to further cool your body by reducing anxiety, fear, and depression. Sheetkari pranayama is practiced by inhaling air through the sides of the mouth through closed teeth.
How to Do Bhramari Pranayama- Bee Breath For Better Sleep
It lowers one’s blood pressure, relieving hypertension. It releases cerebral tension. It is recommended as a nightly routine yoga for better sleep. It soothes the nerves. Bhramari should not be practiced by pregnant or menstruating women.
Sit in meditation mudra in a pure environment. Focus on the cycle of obedience. After exhalation or inhalation, apply light pressure to the base of the nostrils with two middle fingers. Keep both ears completely closed with two thumbs. Now do the rechak kriya or exhalation by chanting the sound like OMN. Do this at least 8 to 10 times.
How to Do Ujjayi Pranayama | Ocen Breath
Ujjayi Pranayama reduced Body mass index and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Triiodothyronine (T3), and no significant differences in Thyroxine (T4) hypothyroid patients. Its significant role in the improvement in weight reduction and all throat problems. Ujjayi Pranayama is good for heart, asthma, tonsil, cold, and cough also.
Sit in meditation in a pure environment. Center your attention on the pure chakra and take a breath like the gentle roar of the ocean. Try to contract the throat. If possible, do laxatives or exhalation after a while. Do this at least 8 to 10 times.
How to do Bhastrika Pranayama? | Yogic Breath of Fire
Bhastrika Pranayama helps in correcting any imbalances in the 3 doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Sit with your spine straight. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Inhale, try to hold your breath for a while, and slowly exhale. Do this 21 times. First, slow the breathing and then speed up the breathing.
How to Do Kapalbhati pranayama?
Kapalbhati Pranayama strengthens the functions of the liver and kidneys. The benefits of Kapalbhati pranayama also include energizing your nerves, gaining control over your mental strength, and detoxifying your skin. The Pooraka and Rechaka should be performed at least 21 times in a cycle of Kapalbhati.
Avoid doing Kapalbhati if you have your menstrual period. Pregnant women should also avoid doing Kapalbhati pranayama.
Sit in Sukhasana or Padmasana on an empty stomach in a pure environment. Emphasize only the exhalation without focusing on the inhalation. Exhale with full concentration and full force. Do this at least 21 times. Abdominal contractions and expansions occur naturally while doing Kapalbhati.
How to Do Anulom Vilom Pranayama?
Anulom Vilom Pranayama has several benefits to improve overall health and mental well-being. It can significantly reduce stress and help improve mental health. It can have an immediate calming effect.
Anulom Vilom is an ancient exercise that follows the principle of alternate breathing, which is said to have several physical and mental health benefits. It can also significantly reduce stress and help improve your mental health.
- Sit in a meditation pose. Make sure your neck and spine are straight while you close your eyes.
- Lie down on your back with your outer wrists resting on your knees.
- Place your middle and index fingers on your palm, using your right hand.
- Place your thumb on your right nostril and your ring finger on the left nostril.
- Close your right nostril with your thumb and breathe deeply and slowly through your left nostril until your lungs are full.
- Pay attention to your breathing.
- Close your left nostril with your ring finger after releasing your thumb.
- Exhale slowly through your right nostril.
- Next, do it in reverse by inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling through the right nostril.
- As you go through the process, be aware of the effects your breathing has both on your body and your mind.
These breathing techniques have physical as well as mental benefits. These techniques are useful for yoga purposes as well as for meditative practices. It is quite beneficial in improving cardiovascular health, increasing lung function and capacity, managing blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, and improving concentration.