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#InternationalYogaDay The Benefits Of Pranayama OR The Art Of Breathing Correctly

What is pranayama?

benefits of pranayama

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According to Ayurveda

“Breathing is the physical part of thinking and thinking is the psychological part of breathing.”

For people who are not aware, Pranayama is a vital part of Yoga, a part that teaches you how to lengthen your breath in numerous ways. The art of pranayama demonstrates how you can skillfully inhale, retain and exhale your breath to increase the level of oxygen absorbed by your blood and organs. Pranayama is the skill of altering the deepness, amount and pattern of one’s breathing.

The word pranayama comes from the Sanskrit. It literally means, “extension of breath”. Prana is life-force, which provides us with the energy that permeates our body. Prana forms an association between mind and consciousness.

According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika,

“When the Breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the Breath is still, so is the mind.”

Breathing well is the essential step towards not just survival, but also self-healing. Learning the right breathing techniques affects our body, and our mind by positively influencing our thoughts and actions. Not many know this, but each thought that we think alters the rhythm of our breath. When one is happy and content, their breathing is rhythmic. But when one is stressed and unhappy, their breathing gets interrupted. So, you can change the course of your thoughts and emotions by changing the pattern of your breath, which can be achieved by practicing pranayama.

Suggested read: #InternationalYogaDay History Of Yoga, Its Origins, And Development Explained

Benefits of Pranayama

benefits of pranayama

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Pranayama has numerous benefits, but the most important of these advantages are:

  1. The art of breathing right which pranayama teaches helps treat a number of illnesses and disorders that are related to stress.
  2. Autonomic functions of the body are enhanced by pranayama.
  3. Symptoms that are associated with asthma are cured by pranayama breathing techniques.
  4. If your body is showing signs of oxidative stress, then you should practice pranayama to treat the disorder.
  5. People who practice pranayama on a regular basis are seen to have better concentration, a sharper mind, a stronger will power and better judgement ability than those who do not practice the art.
  6. Pranayama when practiced every day, helps not just extend one’s life, but also improves the quality of life.
  7. According to research, the cardio respiratory system of the body can be enhanced through the regular practice of pranayama. This is because pranayama helps keep blood pressure under control.
  8. Pranayama assists in the efforts of weight loss.

Benefits of Pranayama in detail

There can be no other exercise better than Pranayama for the enhancement of physical, mental and emotional health. The breathing exercise helps treat problems of gas, nausea, phlegm and illnesses associated with these.

Let us find out in what was pranayama can benefit us.

Prana, the vital force of life

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A human being’s three basic necessities are air, food and water, of which we give supreme importance to food and water, while taking the air we breathe for granted. This is absolutely foolish because while a human being can survive for at least a few days with food and water, he or she cannot spend even a few minutes without air.

The air we breathe plays a vital role in strengthening our body. According to experts, it is the foundation of the human body. There is even a popular saying that goes like, the air we breathe is better than a hundred medicines.

Starting your day by inhaling fresh air can ensure that your lungs get healthy and strong, which, in turn, makes sure that your lifespan increases.

I have been practicing the art of Pranayama from the time I was 13, and I can assure you that this practice enables our body to be strong, active and mostly disease-free. It broadens our chest and increases its capacity. The abdomen becomes strong and tight. Even the face becomes so radiant and calm.

The purpose of any exercise is to fill the body with energy. As the energy in our body increases, we begin to perspire. Perspiration is essential to get rid of impurities and toxins from the body. Pranayama guarantees this, without hurting you unlike in sports.

Also, to perform pranayama one does not need any equipment or gear of any kind. It is something everybody can practice. You do not even need a companion to practice pranayama or have to spend a penny to perform it.

According to the old texts of yoga, with the proviso that air, which is the vital force of life, is dynamic and well-maintained, one will not fall sick.

Pranayama to increase energy levels in the body

Oxygen is necessary for the process of combustion. Oxygen makes up for 20 per cent of the earth’s atmosphere. The oxygen content in the air is greater during sunrise and around green areas. Our body cells absorb the necessary oxygen from the air we breathe. When the oxygen is absorbed by our blood, energy is produced. Pranayama, by increasing the flow of oxygen to the blood vessels, increase the amount of energy produced in the body.

Pranayama for blood purification

Pranayama helps purify our blood. We all know that if the blood is oxygenated and clean, one does not experience blood clots or swelling or headaches or pain and burning sensation in the abdomen area.

Pranayama ensures that oxygenated blood is circulated through our body. This helps prevent illnesses, such as anemia, jaundice, asthma, paralysis, cough, disorders of the eyes, blindness etc.

The air that one breathes in while performing pranayama circulates through our body and warms the gastric juices. This helps in relieving constipation and other digestive system-related issues. This air also warms our blood vessels, thus helping release toxins from our organs through the exhaled air.

Our blood absorbs oxygen from the air we breathe. The nitrogen and carbon dioxide present in that air, which makes up for about 80 per cent of that air, is then exhaled. While performing pranayama, we hold the breath. The air then absorbs all the impurities which is then exhaled with the air we breathe out.

When our blood is properly oxygenated, our body gets warmed up from inside, which helps in the opening of skin pores. As a result, we start perspiring, which is the best way to get rid of the impurities from the body.

Suggested read: Get That Coveted Toned Look, With Yoga Exercises

Who is Pranayama not great for?

Pranayama can be practiced by anyone, and that is its beauty. However, since it is such a powerful technique, it is suggested you learn it from a proper teacher and at least in your initial days, practice only under the supervision of an expert.

Also, under few conditions pranayama should not be practiced. These are:

  1. During periods and pregnancy avoid pranayama.
  2. If you have a heart condition (especially if you have had a heart attack recently), you should not perform pranayama.
  3. People who have low blood pressure should practice the art of pranayama under the guidance of an expert or teacher.
  4. During fever, pneumonia and/or bronchitis, do not perform pranayama.
  5. People going through chemotherapy should not be practicing yoga. The same is true for people going through any kind of radiation therapy.
  6. Pranayama is not recommended for people who are going through an emotional and psychological condition like depression, anxiety and/or suicidal feelings.

What is Anulom Viloma Pranayama?

benefits of pranayama

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According to Sarvyoga,

“Anulom Vilom Pranayama (अनुलोम प्राणायाम) is one of several Pranayama or breathing exercise used in the practice of Hatha yoga. At first you have to understand the meaning of Anuloma and Viloma .In this the first word Anu roughly translates to “with”, and the word Loma means “hair” implying “with the grain” or “natural”. And meaning of Viloma is “against the grain.” Anuloma is the opposite of Viloma. It is very helpful in respiratory system related diseases like Asthama.

Anulom Vilom Pranayama is the best way to balancing the Tri dosas in our body. Our body gets ill when Tri dosas are not in balancing position. Vaat, Pitta, and Kaffa are known as Tri dosas, Tri means “three” and the meaning of dosas is “impurities”. All these are present in body of every people. If one of them is imbalance than we suffer from different diseases. All of three are the cause of all diseases. So it’s important to balance these tri dosas. If you really want to balance these Tri dosas than do Anulom vilom pranayam regularly. It is the simplest and best way for this.”

Benefits of Anulom Viloma

The benefits of anulom viloma are, according to Sarvyoga,

“Anulom Vilom Pranayama is the ideal pranayama for a healthy heart. Anulom Vilom Pranayama is also known as Nadi shodhana pranayam (alternate nostril breathing). It is next level of Anulom Vilom. In Anulom Vilom Pranayama we inhale and exhale, but in Nadi shodhana pranayam we hold (kumbhaka or retention) our breath for a second or minute than exhale.”

This art of anulom viloma also helps in improving our level of concentration and ability to live in the moment.

Suggested read: Meant For You? Discover Your Yoga Style, Here

That is a wrap on today’s post on the benefits of pranayama. Did you find this helpful? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Article Name
The Benefits Of Pranayama OR The Art Of Breathing Correctly #InternationalYogaDay
From improving our digestive system to keeping our blood pressure under control, there are numerous benefits of pranayama. Let us have a look at these benefits.
Riya Roy

Riya Roy

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.” This Isaac Asimov line, embraces my love for writing in the finest and most desperate way that it is and should be! I was tormented by the earnestness of the written word not very early in my journey. But once smitten, it has helped me devour life twice over; savoring the moment and indulging in its memories. As a flâneuse, I wander to understand the intricacies of human relationships. Realizing that, they are just different manifestations of the same feeling of love, has been my greatest learning. I seek to share its opulence through the words I type.