After the practice of asanas, the body is relaxed and the mind is made free from all disturbances, enabling it to concentrate.
What is Pranayama?
According to Patanjali Yoga Sutras, "Regulation of breath or the control of prana is the
stoppage of inhalation and exhalation, which follows after securing that steadiness of posture
or seat, asana.
The Gita says," Others offer Prana (outgoing breath) in Apana (incoming breath) and
Apana in Prana, restraining the passage of Prana and Apana, absorbed in Pranayama. Pranayama is a precious Yajna (sacrifice).”
Pranayama is the method of breath control. Swami Yogananda says, Breath is the cord That ties the soul to the body". Your breathing directly affects the mental states. Breathing exercises help to control the bodily functions. A regular, deep breath
enables one to feel calm and an irregular breath can make you feel anxious. Yoga Breathing helps to re- charge the cells in the body and re- energize the brain cells. It brings rejuvenation to the body.
Before going to the exercises it is important to know what is prana? Prana is the vital force, subtle in nature. This energy is life energy that sustains all functions in the body, mind and soul. The mind functions with the help of prana. The breath is the gross external manifestation of prana. The one learns to control prana then one can easily control the mind. This prana is controlled with the help of regulating the external breath.
What pranayama does to you?
What pranayama does to you?
It helps one to have a good appetite. It gives good strength, courage and cheerfulness. High standard of health, vigour and vitality can be achieved. Good concentration and enthusiasm is produced. It delivers us from all diseases.
Pranayama involves exhalation, inhalation and retention of breath.
i. Exhalation is called Rechaka pranayama.
ii. Inhalation is called puraka pranayama.
iii. Retention of breath is called kumbakha pranayama.
Proper breathing and awareness of the breath is very important. Our essential nature is prana, and the main source of prana is the breath. In Pranayama, the object of attention is the breath, on the inhalation and exhalation.It is a powerful tool to combat stress. Our mental states, feelings, bodily sensations affect the pattern of breathing. Positive thoughts cause regular breathing and negative thoughts cause uneven breathing. Correspondingly, in this stress filled lifestyle, it becomes imperative to practice yoga.
Swami Svatmarama says, "By the faulty practice of pranayama the aspirant invites all kinds of Ailments". The aspirant should study the capacity of his lungs before embarking on the practice of pranayama. If he indulges in the wrong practice of pranayama, it will sap him of his energy. A wrong course of breath or over enthusiasm would result in coughs, asthma,headaches, eye and ear pain.