The art of breathing 2 improve the life energy by Pranayama.


What is Pranayama?


Do we breath properly? It seems most of us are unaware about proper breathing. the importance of proper breathing and briefly explains ‘Pranayama’, the art of breathing in ancient Yogic science.

We may live for many weeks without food and for days with­out water or sleep. But without breath­ing, life will cease within minutes.

We know this very well but most of us are unaware of the importance of breathing properly. Normally, people use only a fraction of their full breathing capacity. Stress, poor posture, long hours of sitting in the office and our bad habits – all these factors affect our proper breath­ing. Improper breathing creates an imbalance in the oxygen/carbon dioxide ratio, which results in hyper­ventilation and dizziness. If the brain does not get adequate supply of Oxygen, it will result in the degrada­tion of all vital organs in the body.

Brain requires more oxygen than any other organs and lack of oxygen results in mental sluggishness, negative thoughts and depression. Old aged ones always face this problem. They often become vague and senile because of the inadequate oxygen supply to the brain. Poor oxygen supply affects all parts of the body. Proper oxygen supply allows the body to metabolize food efficiently and to rid itself of all the noxious byproducts of metabolism, especially carbon dioxide. What is wrong with our breathing is it is too shallow and too quick.The increasing stress of modern life and the resultant negative emotional states affect the rate of breathing.The result is oxygen starvation and a toxic build-up.

The ancient Yogis realized the vital importance of proper breath­ing thousands of years ago. Hatha Yoga Pradeepika says thus/As long as there is breath in the body there is life. When breath departs, life also de­parts. Therefore regulate the breath/ The  yogic art of breathing is called as ‘Pranayama'(controlled intake and outflow of breath). Prana is usually translated as breath, though this is only one of its many manifestations in the human body.’He who knows Prana knows Vedas’-says Upanisads. Prana is the sum total of all energies that is manifest in the universe.

It is the sum total of all the forces in na­ture. Prana is not the air itself but the subtle life-giving element extracted from the air.The more life-force you have in your body, the more “alive” you are; the less life-force, the less “life”. Life-force is present in all forms of nourishment but it is accessible and most constant in the air.

The ancient sages knew that all bodily functions were perfofmed by five types of vital energy (Five Pra­nas). And according to Yogis, Prana, mind and breath are very closely connected. It is Prana that makes the lungs capable of breathing and when we breath in, we are receiving the Cosmic Prana, which energizes the whole body.The practice of Pranaya­ma regulates the flow of Prana throughout the body. It also regu­lates the thoughts of the practitioner and bestows him with a calm mind.

An average person takes around 500 cubic centimeters of air dur­ing normal inhalation. But in deep breathing, the intake of air is in­creased up to 3000 cubic centime­ters, about six times greater! With the practice of Pranayama, the respira­tory system functions at its best and as a result, the circulatory system also functions more effectively. And the resultant better de-toxification opens the doorway to good health.

With Pranayama, one is get¬ting training for full utilization of all lobes of the lungs and to normalize the breathing rate. He learns how to make the breathing uniform, con¬tinuous and rhythmic. Following are some basic practices for those who wish to learn Pranayama.These can be practiced even by aged persons.

Abdominal Breathing.

Abdominal Breathing.

Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position on the floor or lie flat on your back in the Corpse pose. You can place one hand on the abdomen to feel it rising and falling. Relax your mind and body. Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose, feeling your abdomen expand and rise while keeping the chest still. As you exhale, feel the abdomen sink down. When you inhale expand the abdomen and contract it when you exhale. Practice this exercise for ten cycles (one inhalation and one exhalation equals one cycle).

Benefit: Breathing slowly and deeply brings air to the lowest part of your lungs and exercises your dia­phragm which can greatly enhance breathing relaxes mind and body, massages internal organs, calms emotions and induces good sleep.

Sit comfortably in a cross-legged po­sition on the floor or lie flat on your back in Savasana. Hands may be relaxed by the sides or you can place the hands on the sides of the ribs to feel them expanding and contract­ing. Gently contract the abdomen.

Rib Cage Breathing

Rib Cage Breathing

Inhale slowly through the nose into your rib cage. Do not pull the breath deep into your lungs, but keep it focused between your ribs. Feel the ribs expand outward and the chest open as you breath in. As you exhale, feel the ribs contract inward. Repeat five times.

Benefit: Relaxes the mind and body and strengthens the lungs.

Complete Breathing

Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position on the floor or lie flat on your back in the Corpse pose. Place one hand on the abdomen and the other on the rib cage to check your breathing. Inhale slowly through the nose, feel the abdomen expand first, then the rib cage, and finally feel the air filling the upper chest. Your ab­domen will automatically be drawn in as the ribs move out and chest expands. Slowly exhale, emptying the lungs from top to bottom. Keep body without jerks.Try to make inhalation and exhalation uniform. Do not hold your breath in-between. Inhalation is done from the bottom up and exhalation from the top down. Repeat five times.

Benefit: This is the technique you can use most often to combat the tensions and stress in your life. You can use it anywhere, anytime to calm your mind and body. Use this technique to center yourself before your meditation and before asana practice to make them even more effective.

Those who wish to learn Pranayama should approach an authentic teacher. All these an­cient practices are having deeper significance and meaning than we can imagine. Proper practice of Pranayama with Yoga asanas can give you wonderful results but at the same time if done wrongly it can make long lasting adverse effects in your body. Pranayama comes as the fourth stage in the Ashtanga Yoga, where the previous ones require a complete control of body and mind. In Pranayama one is dealing with the basic energy of the self and to master that one have miles and miles to go.


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