Since ages Yoga has been used in India as a means to attain mental and spiritual peace. The old scriptures claim it as the path to the spiritual realm. However, there are sub-disciplines and all have different purposes. The one used to bring harmony within the self by various practices is Hatha Yoga. It comprises of various asanas and one important practice of Pranayam. It aims at developing breath control in yoga practitioners. This also helps in establishing focus and calming the mind. You get hold of unnecessary thoughts, stopping them. Therefore, being at peace always is what it targets. Therefore it is also considered as the fourth pillar of the eightfold Ashtanga Yoga. This type of Yoga is considered as the ultimate path to the spiritual world. And Pranayam is one part you should necessarily follow!
How to practice?
Pranayam means the suspension of breath. Typically it is performed by taking long and deep breaths. Even longer pauses between inhalation and exhalation lead to the establishment of perfect control. The breath is not released at once, but slowly. Movement of the diaphragm is kept under check. In the beginning, it is difficult to hold it for too long. But with time and regular practice, some yogis have been able to gain conscious control over every breath they take.
A comfortable position is mandatory for getting started. Since the main aim relaxation, therefore sit with legs crossed or lie down. Even though there are numerous types of Pranayam, the basis of all is breath control. Simply keep your hands in a mudra or place them over your lower abdomen and below the rib cage. Then inhale and feel the air filling your lungs, slowly observing the movement of your abdomen. Hold for a while, as long as you can. Then exhale slowly, don’t let it rush out.
The stress of a busy and hectic daily schedule takes a toll on our brain. It requires peace and refreshment from a mundane lifestyle. Pranayam offers the perfect blend. Deep breaths increase oxygen intake which awakens the sensory neurons of the mind. It also has the following added advantages –
- Blood Circulation – Pranayam affects the way our heart pumps. Deeper breaths ensure that the oxygenated and deoxygenated blood have enough time and oxygen to travel. Thus, better circulation occurs.
- Weight Loss – As strange as it may sound, but breath control facilitates weight loss. The longer inhalation allows more stored energy to be used up, thus helping you lose fat.
- Healthy organs – All organs require the basic energy unit to function which requires oxygen. Thus breathing better has many good influences on the entire body.
- Enhance skin – It is known that antioxidants are extremely important for glowing skin. And better oxygen supply via blood can be boon for it. Pranayam ensures that you get this and be radiant.
There are many secrets hidden in this age-old practice of Pranayam. The yogis claim that a long life can also be attained with regular practice. So just be conscious about how you choose to spend your breaths in this life!