Pranayama is a Sanskrit compound word derived from ‘Prana‘ which stands for ‘life force’ and ‘Ayama‘ which means ‘to lengthen or to work on it’. Prana, in yogic terms, means the force within the body that is vital for the functioning of the body as well as its vitality. Yogic texts describe Prana as a potent force that runs through various chakras and nadis in the body to keep the body healthy, energized and invigorated. It typically involves purak (to take the breath in), Kumbhak ( to retain it) and rechak ( to discharge it).
It is believed that when the Prana is not able to move freely in the body – due to blockages in chakras or nadis – a person begins to harbor sickness. The concept of prana and its effect on a person’s well-being has more to do with the mental state, mindfulness and the emotional health of a person.
Interestingly, just the way we breathe may affect the way we perceive things as well as our mental health. Therefore, pranayama is a simple practice of many breathing techniques and asanas that promote emotional, mental and physical well-being.
Breathing lies at the center of human existence, therefore it forms the core of any yogic Breathing facilitates oxygen supply to the brain as well as to rest of the body. According to your prakriti, pranayama can have varying effects on your state of mind as well as emotional health.
Why you should practice Pranayama.
You learn to breathe easy with the regular practice of Pranayama. Apart from rendering vitality to the body, it also enhances the quality of prana and makes you feel more uplifted, motivated, positive and happier. While you learn to breathe correctly, you’re setting things right internally, giving various bodily processes a thorough cleanse. For people suffering from anxiety disorders, depression and other mental-health issues it is highly recommended.
Certain pranayama techniques like Surya Bhedi (right-to-right nostril breathing – heat-generating/fire dominated technique) or Chandra Bhedi Pranayama (left-to-left breathing; cooling/water dominated technique) target specific issues and must be practiced only on being recommended. Anulom Vilom is alternate nostril breathing is another easy pranayama. Breathing retention is another type of pranayama that helps strengthen lung capacity. Inhale a deep breath and hold for as long as you can, this ensures greater oxygen supply and absorption