Pranayama and the meaning of breath

About Pranayama and the meaning of breath

Pranayama is the fourth extremity of Astanga yoga, and is also known as the “Heart of Yoga.” Pranayama teaches us to how to use our lungs to the finest capacity ; as an outcome of which, the cells in our body are able to get adequate quantity of oxygen. However there are about 20 pranayamas ; some of the Pranayamas which are simple, trouble-free and can easily be practised by learners are as follows Pranava Pranayama, Sunhat Pranayama, Kapalabhati, Bhramari Pranayama, Anuloma Viloma Pranayama, and so forth.

Practice of Yoga

Everyone has been talking about the advantages of the practice of yoga on the physiology of the human body. The changes depend on a number of factors such as the mental and physical condition of an individual. The practice of yoga, including self-compassion, is one of the primary beliefs of Patanjali Yoga Sutras. Within the Yoga Sutras are a set of 196 aphorisms or sutras that detail the recitation process of the practice of yoga and meditation.

Pranayama and the meaning of breath

Pranayama meaning

Pranayama comprise of three words “Prana” which means breath or soul, “yama” means discipline or control and “ayam” which means development. The meaning of pranayama includes “expansion of the soul through breath control”. In realistic terms it refers to a set of breathing methods that are used for concentration, relaxation, and meditation.

How Pranayama Works

Yoga practitioners have been using pranayama for thousands of years to guide them through their yoga and meditation practices. Deliberated breathing helps quiet the mind during meditation, and brings fresh oxygen into the body to support it during difficult or challenging yoga poses. Assured pranayama techniques are also thought to help body release toxins.

It’s pranayama’s ability to quiet the mind is what makes it useful during times of intense stress, emotional upset, anxiety or trauma. Anyone can gain from practising pranayama anyplace, at any time.

Pranayama techniques

  • In addition to long and deep breathing, the most regular pranayama techniques comprise victorious or ujayyi breath, alternate nostril breathing and breathe of fire. Ujayyi or victorious breath is performed only through the nose and involves a minor constriction at the back of the throat. Take a long breathe in with the mouth closed and when you do, make the sound aaah ; do it again on breathe out. When practised properly, victorious breath is said to sound like the deep-sea and is often referred to as oceanic breath. Victorious breath is supposed to produce heat in the body and rid the muscles of lactic acid build up.
  • Breath of fire is most frequently used in the practice of Kundalini yoga and is supposed to relieve tiredness by restoring vitality and vigor to the nervous system. Breath of fire is generally practised for thirty seconds up to three minutes.

Pranayama techniques all involve breath control and observation. All from simply observing the breath, to breathing into several cavities of abdomen, and varying nostril breathing fall under the group of pranayama techniques. Our state of mind is directly related to the quality of Prana within. Pranayama techniques help to stable those qualities of Prana and bring us closer to a state of homeostasis.

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