(August 18, 2008)

What is pranayam?

Pranayam (Breathing exercise) is generally the exercise of breathing that can be carried out under the human control. It is a respiratory exercise and if done systematically can make the lungs strong, improve the circulation of the blood, make a person healthy and lead a long life. We breathe in oxygen which gets filled in the lungs, it spreads in the body and is taken to the heart and finally to the lungs which removes the unnecessary carbon dioxide from the body through exhalation. If inhalation and exhalation is done regularly and effectively then the lungs would become strong and the blood would become pure.

We normally do not breathe deeply as a result of which the lungs get filled with oxygen partially. The lungs cannot perform its functions properly leading to the development of diseases like tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, coughing and bronchitis. Thus it is necessary to control the process of inhalation and exhalation. This regulation in breathing is achieved from pranayam that can connect the inhalation and exhalation with the mind.

Various instructions involved in the performance of pranayam (Breathing exercise) are:

  • Choose a clean and quiet place for pranayam.

  • The stomach should be empty before doing the exercise.

  • Practice pranayam after Asana and before meditation.

  • Gradually increase the duration of the exercise.

The various pranayam (breathing exercise) techniques are: Bhastrika pranayam (Bellows), Kapalbhati pranayam (Frontal lobe cleansing technique), Anulom vilom pranayam (Alternate nostril Breathing technique), and Baghi pranayam (Half filled stomach wash), Bhramri pranayam (Humming bee breath) and Udgeet pranayam (Om chanting breathing).

Practicing pranayam (Breathing exercise) can be beneficial in the following ways:

  • The person tends to be healthy, cheerful, and strong and have good health and well being.

  • It enhances the intellectual development.

  • It improves the balance and equilibrium of the body.

  • It can deal with psycho physical disease.

  • It can help in flourishing the soul.

  • It helps in gaining a strong willpower.

  • The real relationship of man with the nature is understood by practicing pranayam.

Thus pranayam (Breathing exercise) provides the real essence of life and improves the quality of living.

There are certain precautions that need to be considered before practicing Breathing exercises:

  • Consult your doctor before doing this exercise.

  • Breathing exercise cannot be practiced by pregnant women or people suffering from illness.

  • For children above 2 years, do Bellow breath for 2 minutes and Frontal lobe cleansing technique and Alternate nostril breathing technique for 5 minutes.

Submitted by A V on August 18, 2008 at 12:55

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