Pranayama is an art of controlling the breath introduced by ancient Indian Yogis. Breathing is the source of vital life force and your body would mean nothing without this life force. Which means you die when you stop breathing. Ancient Indians identified this power and developed specific breathing techniques to nourish the mind and keep the body healthily alive. ‘Prana’ implies the universal life force and ‘Ayama’ refers to regulate or lengthen. Hence, Pranayama means working in the dimension of prana. Practising yogic breathing continuously enhances the quantity and quality of the vital life force i.e. Prana.
Our survival entirely depends on breathing because that is how Inhalation of oxygen takes place and all the organs function correctly. One can survive without food or water for little long but without breathing no one would last for more than a few minutes. This clearly indicates how does breathing rule our entire body.
Your breath also rules your mind which can be easily understood by observing the changes occurring in breathing habits in various moods. When you are happy, you breath rhythmically while stressed breathing is irregular and interrupted. Therefore, practising breathing techniques affect your actions as well as thoughts. Once you master the art of breathing, you start healing yourself.
The connect between breath and emotions is amazingly explained by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. He says, ‘Our breath is linked to our emotions. For every emotion, there is a particular rhythm in the breath. So, when you cannot directly harness your emotions, with the help of breath you can do that. If you are in theatre, you would know that a director asks you to breathe faster when you have to show anger. If you have to show a serene scene, director would ask you to breathe softer and slower. If we understand the rhythm of our breath, we are able to have a say over our mind, we can win over any negative emotions like anger, jealousy, greed, and we are able to smile more from our heart.’
Research shows that we throw out 90 percent of the toxins from our body just by breathing correctly. So, one can imagine what wonders could happen if we could control your breath. “When the Breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the Breath is still, so is the mind still.”
– Hatha Yoga Pradipika
How will Pranayama benefit me?
1- Clears the blocked Energy inside and around you.
2- Makes one energetic, enthusiastic and positive.
3- Gives clarity to the mind and good health to the body by generating harmony between the mind, body and spirit.
4- Helps relieving the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory issues.
5- Reduces the signs of oxidative stress in the body.
6- Improves concentration and strengthens will power.
7- Regular practices of specific techniques can extend life by slowing down the ageing process.
8- Few Breathing techniques can act miraculously for weight loss.