We all are aware of the importance of focusing on breathing patterns to welcome comfort and relaxation in our lives. To incorporate that into our lives, there are countless methods, processes, and ways you can use to practice breathing and reap its benefits. One of these ways we will discussing is Pranayama, and we’ll walk you through its meaning, how-to’s, and benefits.
What is Pranayama?
Pranayama is an ancient yoga practice of controlling the breath (breath control). It is a Sanskrit word where Prana means “vital life force” and Yama means to gain control. It is the means of elevating our energies through the control of our breath. It is a practice through which you can attain higher states of energy.
Pranayama allows our conscious and subconscious minds to get still and be in the now. Therefore, it is obvious that this practice means far more than breath control.
Pranayama explained in Spiritual context
Inhalation, retention, and exhalation are three stages in the Prayanama practice. These stages of breath in Prayanama practice aids us in connecting us to the universal soul.
Let’s take an example. We can’t see our reflection clearly if the mirror in front of us is stained. Now, if that mirror is crystal clear and clean, we can easily see our reflection. Similarly, if our minds are continuously cluttered with thoughts and our spirit is confused, practices like Pranayama unlocks the patterns that clear the complexities in our mind and thus refining our physical state with time.
How to Practice Pranayama?
Before we dive into the steps to practice Pranayama, we will first list some important points that you must take into notice if you are looking for a good outcome.
- The clothing should be loose and light. Don’t wear any belts or anything tight that can come between your deep inhalation process
- Find a peaceful place that is quiet, clean, and especially where there is fresh air
- Try to practice in the same place
- The best time to practice Pranayama is in the early morning or in the evening.
- Pranayama should be practiced half hour before breakfast or 4 hours after the food. This practice can become difficult if it is done on a full stomach
- Never restrict or force your breath. Just go with the flow
- Lastly, awareness is a crucial part of any breathing practice. During the practice, it is natural for the mind to wander off. Don’t resist it or get agitated by it, simply understand that it’s natural and get your mind in control by getting your focus back on your breaths.
How to do it: Sit in a comfortable place with a straight posture. Take a steady breath. Inhale deeply as you reach your lung capacity but don’t force it. Hold the breath for a second and then exhale slowly through both nostrils.
You can repeat it as many times but doing this practice 20 times is recommended.
There are also further types of Pranayama and a few of them are:
- Sitali Pranayama
- Ujjaya Pranayama
- Kapalabhati Pranayama
Benefits of Practicing Pranayama
Our thoughts can either uplift us or break us down. Daily stresses and habits like overthinking can create energetic obstacles in our spirit and bodies. We can become rigid and perplexed. This can have a negative effect on our lives. That’s where the benefits of practicing pranayama come to play a part. It helps us to regain our focus, take control over our breaths and thoughts, helps us in breaking unhealthy patterns, and above all, improves our health by keeping our heart and mind healthy and sound.
As we take a breath and inhale, we introduce oxygen whereas we remove carbon dioxide from our body which helps in removing toxins. Pranayama not only improves our inhalation and exhalation processes but also brings remarkable physiological benefits. By making the mind calm, it helps to relax one’s physical body and also one’s mind. This practice helps to reduce unwanted thoughts and conflicts in your mind and provides you with vitality. And if it is done religiously, it can transform your physical and mental energies states. Read more about it here.
Want holistic protection from Corona Virus using Pranayama? Give this blog a read.