Pranayama is the Fourth Limb of Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga. Its word formation can be understood as Pran i.e. Breathe and Ayama i.e. Control. Thus, It is the process of Controlling Breathe. As per Ashtanga Yoga Pranayama is the way of Purifying the Soul as the Meditation purifies the mind. Pranayama is the most basic form of Yoga that teaches us controlled breathing. We need to apply this breathing technique in one way or the other while practicing various Limbs of Yoga.
Breathing is the most important process of our Life. A proper way of breathing alone can protect us from several disorders. We breathe oxygen in and exhale carbon di oxide out. When we practice Pranayama in pure air and get our lungs filled with pure oxygen it helps our body in several ways. Oxygen helps in breakdown of our food to release energy that we utilize in doing work. Hence Maharshi Patanjali gave it a very special importance by in his 8 Limbs of Yoga.
Whenever we breathe there must be a harmony in durations of inhaling, keeping and exhaling. But when we breathe unconsciously (without focus) this harmony gets distorted and gets uncontrolled. To bring them back in Harmony a simple way is to practice Pranayama. It is a tool that prepares the practitioner for other popular Limbs of Yoga like Meditation, Asana and Samadhi.
Why do We need to practice Pranayama
Pranayama is a set of simple breathe exercises whose results are miraculous. As per Yoga the living age of any human has been decided in the form of number of breathes taken i.e. each human or any creature has limited fixed amount of breathe count. A human being has got a quota of 21,600 breathes a day. According to this quota the average human age has been counted 100 years. Here The Simple Math suggests the person who takes shorter breathes will live shorter life. Thus we must take deep breathe and preserve some breathe with the help of Pranayama to live a longer life.
Pranayama is considered as a Sanjeevani in Ashtanga Yoga because It yields Super Natural Powers to the Yogi. It helps in thorough Development of Body and also in Removal of Mental Stress. This is very useful in disorders related to Lungs, Heart and Stomach. It is helpful for every age group of people whether young or old. Everybody is recommended Pranayama because it regulates proper functioning of various important organs of Human Body.
Types of Pranayama
In Ashtanga Yoga, Yogi practice various techniques of Pranayama. Each of them are special purpose techniques used to serve a particular cause. Most of them are practiced by Yogi in pursuance of Moksha. Some of them are basic while others are slightly modified forms. In Yoga Sutra, Maharshi Patanjali has mentioned some Breathe Control Techniques which are general and everybody should practice for all the benefits of Pranayama. Following Easy General Techniques must be practiced regularly to get miraculous results.
Bhrastrika Pranayama or Bellow’s Breathe
Helpful in fat loss, makes body lean.
Imparts strength to Lungs, Recommended for relief in Asthma and other lung diseases.
Kapaal Bhanti Pranayama or Skull Shining Breathe
It improves metabolism process hence useful in weight loss.
Very Helpful in Thyroid and diseases related to eyes, teeth and skin.
Works very well for sexual disorders in men and women.
Anulom Vilom Pranayama or Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique
Imparts strength to Heart.
Specially recommended for cough and cold as Anulom Vilom Opens up the Nostrils.
Helps well in Migraine.
Bhraamari Pranayama or Bee Breathe
Increases Concentration and Focus.
Very Helpful in Throat related issues.
Provides relief in mental Stress and Anxiety.
Ujjayi Pranayama or The Victorious Breathe
Improves blood pressure.
Used in problems related to Nose and Tonsils.
Very helpful for Lungs and Heart Related Problems.
Surya Bhedi Pranayama or Right Nostril Breathing
Provides Relief in constipation.
Used for skin problems, brings glow to face.
Sheetali Pranayama or Cooling Breathe
Cools down mind and body.
Helpful in curing Ulcers.
Purifies Blood and cures Skin Problems.
Murcha Kumbhaka Pranayama or Swooning Breathe
Improves the quality of benefits of other Pranayama.
Makes Mind Joyful.
Kevali Kumbhaka Pranayama or Breathe Retention
Very Helpful in Stress Relief.
Acts as a tool for Samadhi.
Brings Joy in mind and increases Positivity.
Benefits of Pranayama at a Glance
Pranayama Improves Blood Pressure and It is very helpful in hypertension relief. People with hypertension shall practice it slowly.
It helps a lot in Heart related Problems. But Heart Patients shall perform it with ease and under capacity.
Practicing Pranayama improves Immune System miraculously.
It teaches us the Right way of breathing that supports Respiratory System to operate well because it imparts strength to Lungs
Breathe Control aids proper functioning of Nervous system and imparts strength to Nerves.
It improves Focus and Concentration hence results in increasing the efficiency of mind and body.
Pranayama relieves Mental Stress and is extremely useful in Anxiety, Depression and other stress related problems.
It helps in curing Insomnia and improves the quality of Sleep.
Many Breathe Control techniques such as Kapaal Bhanti (Bellow’s Breathe) are used in sexual disorders for long term reliefs.
It finds an important utilization in Hormonal Balancing. It regulates Hormone Formation and Control.
This is one of the best practices for Internal Cleaning and thus proves very helpful in Skin related Diseases.
Breath Control provides amazing relief in Constipation and Ulcer Problems.
The Fourth Limb of Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga, Pranayama is a basic and one of the most important Limbs of Yoga as it teaches to control breathing. Since Breath Control is a must for the successful practice of the Mighty and Popular Limbs, Asana (Postures), and Dhyana (Meditation). Hence it is important to practice this Limb of Yoga.
Breathe Control imparts strength to internal organs of the body. It regulates proper functioning of the Nervous system, Digestive system, Circulatory system and Respiratory system. Since the Various techniques of Pranayama serve various issues thus it helps to deal with various problems.
One must take Special Precautions while starting the practice in case he has heart related issues or hypertension. It releases immense heat hence you should avoid to practice it at hotter places. Closing is a very important part and you shall practice Shavasana at the end of workout for cooling. Proper Guidance from an Expert must be taken in order to get the best benefits of Pranayama.