Pranayama (from Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga)
“Pranayama is control of Breath”. “Prana” is Breath or vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life force, and “ayama” means control. So Pranayama is “Control of Breath”. One can control the rhythms of pranic energy with pranayama and achieve healthy body and mind.
Patanjali in his text of Yoga Sutras mentioned pranayama as means of attaining higher states of awareness, he mentions the holding of breath as important practice of reaching Samadhi. Hatha Yoga also talks about 8 types of pranayama which will make the body and mind healthy.
How Pranayama Works
When one inhales air enters through the nostrils to reach the lungs and the small alveoli sacs in the lungs swell up like a balloon.
Each alveoli sac is surrounded by blood vessels which exchange CO2 and O2 with the air inside.
When one inhales and holds the breath, one allows enough time for the hemoglobin (Hb) present in blood, to combine with oxygen to form oxyheamoglobin which enriches and energizes the whole body.
Pranayama is therefore the art of revitalizing the whole system.
Benefits of Pranayama
Pranayama prevents one from acquiring disesases by reducing toxic waste from our body
It plays a vital role in maintaining the digestive system
It helps to improve ones metabolism and health condition
It banishes stress and gives tranquility and peace of mind
It improves concentration thus making it easy for a person to handle temper and negative reactions
Last but not the least it leads to spiritual progress through a relaxed body and mind