In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, we learn the fourth limb of Raja Yoga is pranayama. Pranayama yoga is one of the five yoga principles that focus on breathing properly. Breathing is an important factor in yoga. Yet, pranayama is the systematic cultivation of prana (vital energy of life or breath).
When someone practices pranayama, the ratio of breath is important for controlling the amount of energy one draws in. It consists of a series of exercises, which are intended to keep the human body in vibrant health. Usually, it is a series of exercises for yoga practitioners as preparation for meditation.
Pranayama yoga goes hand-in-hand with performing the Asanas & Yogatic principle. When combined, these two are considered the most privileged form of self-discipline and cleansing of both mind and body. A particular pranayama technique that is practiced can bring about some different benefits, which improve the quality of life.
Different benefits of pranayama, which is the energy control (Yogic breathing), practiced in all forms of Yoga. Those, who practice Yoga regularly, can help you relieve stress, tension, and overall inner peace. The benefits of pranayama are very rewarding to our mind and physical body.
Pranayama for Longevity
According to Yoga, longevity or Increased life span is based upon an individual’s rate of breathing. Since breathing is controlled, in all types of Yoga, a student learns to control his or her breathing rate, which slows from an average of 15 breaths per minute to about 5 to 4 breaths per minute. This decreases one’s overall breathing rate by about one-third. Within some rounds of Yogic philosophy, it is believed that your life expectancy depends on the number of breaths you take in the course of life. Therefore, the slower you breathe, the longer you will live.
Pranayama for Emotional Health
This decreased breath rate leads to lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, healthier internal organs and a relaxed body. In fact, pranayama for drug rehabilitation is well worth and less expensive than standard drug rehabilitation methods; and when practiced correctly, it has no side effects.
Pranayama for Mental Health
Pranayama improves your mental health. The breathing process requires that you free your mind of negative thoughts. As you free your mind through breathing, you will lessen stress. It prepares your mind for meditation and helps you to gain control over your mind. You will experience a feeling of inner peace and sleep that is more restful.
Pranayama for Heart Health
Pranayama practice promotes better blood circulation. As you take in deep, controlled breaths, more oxygen enters your lungs and is transported through the blood stream to each cell in your body. By better blood circulation, it will improve your heart health. The heart is the hardest working of our important organs. By some estimation, the heart beats approximately 100,000 times per day. The amount of oxygen reaching your heart is important in maintaining a healthy heart and a prolonging life.
Pranayama progresses the functions of your body organs. It helps to improve our digestive system and decreases the chances of a digestive system-related disease. It decreases fatigue that will make you feel more energized, improve your mood and strengthen your immune system. Therefore, pranayama necessitates deep controlled breaths where you can take in large amounts of oxygen; so that your internal organs are getting the proper amount of oxygen to function properly. This also helps to remove toxins from the body and prevention of diseases.
Pranayama for Holistic Health
Pranayama develops your memory and concentration levels. As we grow older, our lung capacity naturally decreases. Pranayama can improve lung function, as we grow old. It can reduce, and even reverse, some effects of old age – such as joint pain, loss of vitality, less flexible joints, stiffening muscles, headaches, rheumatism, sluggish diaphragm, backaches, and hardening of the arteries, which leads to poor blood circulation.
If this is your first time to perform pranayama or any type of yoga, you must join a professionally supervised class. Beginners should always be guided by teachers to ensure that they are doing exercises perfectly and without feeling any negative effects. No matter how worthwhile the benefits of pranayama yoga are, doing it incorrectly may cause serious harm. You should also come in prepared as guided by your instructor.