Pranayama—the Miraculous Breathing | What Experts Say

By on December 27, 2014

You might have not thought about it but not everyone breathes properly. Improper breathing can cause various diseases. If your body is not getting enough oxygen it needs for the day, chances are that you will experience mental sluggishness, exhaustion, dilapidated body, weak immune system, irregular blood pressure, tensions, and susceptibility to infections and diseases. Apart from having a connection with the human’s physical aspect, breathing can also be the bridge between the person and the Self. The practice of pranayama can give you both benefits.

Background and Etymology

Pranayama’s origin lies in India. It is a Sanskrit term meaning the ‘extension of life force’. Pranayama is composed of two words—“prana” means life force and “ayam” means to extend. According to the Vedas, the word ‘pran’ has different meanings including breath, vital air, energy,  principle of life, and the soul or spirit. And according to Bhagavad Gita As It Is, pranayama means ‘trance induced by stopping all breathing’.

Stages of Breathing in Yoga

Pranayama, the science of controlling breath through breathing exercises, is one of the five principles of yoga. You may think that breathing is merely a single inhaling followed by a single exhaling; however, according to yoga experts, proper breathing is analyzed into four stages and each has its distinct function.

1.Puraka (Inhalation). This refers to the single inhalation. This is the process where you draw in air and is expected to be   continuous.

2.AbhyantaraKumbhaka (Pause after Inhaling).This is the arrest of flow of air and withholding of the air in the lungs without any emerging movements.

3.Rechaka (Exhalation). Like puraka, this also must be continuous.

4.BahyaKumbhaka (Pause after Exhaling). This pause completes the cycle which will directly go on when a new inhalation starts.

Breathe Your Way to Health and Spirituality
Breathing is life.Pranayam or the breathing technique in yoga works wonders not only in your physical system but also on your mental and spiritual health. Regular practice of pranayama is said to improve your awareness to your body, mind, and spirit; thus allowing your entire being to become healthy. Some of the most common benefits of pranayama are as follows:

 1.   Removes toxins from the body.

2.   Improves immune system and prevents various diseases.

3.   Improves the circulation of the blood.

4.   Gets rid of excess fat.

5.   Improves the rate and speed of breathing.

6.   Lowers blood pressure and soothes the nerves.

7.   Treats digestive diseases.

8.   Gets rid of negative emotions.

9.   Controls the modalities of the mind.

10. Accelerates intellectual development.

11. Strengthens the person’s will power.

12. Burns up impurities of the practitioner.

Manu says: “Let the defects be burnt up by Pranayama.” Just like water cleanses the dirt in your body, pranayama burns up impurities and defects of the person’s mind and being. All throughout our lifetimes, we have accumulated desires and were contaminated by the impurities of this world. Over the years,  by cultivating  desires, we have become so attached  to matter.  And because of this, we suffer from great unhappiness, dissatisfaction, discontentment, fear, and lamentation. Pranayama has the power to help you become detach to this world and just focus within the Self. Cultivating a loving relationship with the Divine is the only perfect path to real happiness and satisfaction.

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