Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pranayam - For Health


In the present era of I- revolution Pranayam is not a new word. Pranayam has two words with in itself- Pran and Ayama. Pran means life and Ayam means to regularize, to control. So simply it means how to regularize life. Breathing is the grossest process of a living being. The first and foremost sign of life is, breathing. This is the reason why Prana is related to breathing, few people tell you, a partial truth. Prana is a type of Vata in Ayurveda. The most vital type of any Dosha is Prana Vata. This Vata is told to be seated in the lungs and holds on breathing, ingestion and other relevant activities. This is Prana and its regulation is Pranayam!

Why Pranayama is so important:

Let’s look at this simple example you were asked to lift a weight heavier than you. You were known that you couldn’t lift; suddenly you took a deep breath and locked the inspired air with in the lungs and you were full of power. Or when ever there is an emotional disturbance like anger, sorrow, grief or the happiness it is the breathing rhythm which gets imbalanced first of all.

Due to ignorance, we misuse and overuse this vital energy, which is associated with the lungs. If we become conscious to it there will be a pool of immense power available to us. Things will be surely different for us. Considering this feature of breathing seriously, Yogis from India worked hard on this subject and developed certain techniques to regularize the breathing pattern so that one can be comfortable with pool of energy and enjoy health at its fullest. On deeper level it proves to be a route towards spiritual enlightment because it unites us with the outer pool of cosmic energy.

Steps of Pranayama:

All the Pranayama techniques are performed in three steps namely:
Kumbhaka,
Pooraka and
Rechaka.

More or less all these three steps are there in each and every Pranayama technique. The only difference is the way these are performed and relative dominancy of one step over the others.

Due to ignorance, we misuse and overuse this vital energy, which is associated with the lungs. If we become conscious to it there will be a pool of immense power available to us. Things will be surely different for us. Considering this feature of breathing seriously, Yogis from India worked hard on this subject and developed certain techniques to regularize the breathing pattern so that one can be comfortable with pool of energy and enjoy health at its fullest. On deeper level it proves to be a route towards spiritual enlightment because it unites us with the outer pool of cosmic energy.

Kumbhaka: Kumbhaka means a water pot or a pitcher. A pitcher can be filled with water or emptied so is our breathing cage. This is the time period in between full inhalation and start of exhalation (Antha Kumbhaka); and full exhalation to start of inhalation (Bahya Kumbhaka). In this sense it is the resting phase of Pranayam as far as the breathing is considered and this gives it greatest importance for the regularization of breathing and senses. This period should be prolonged slowly and steadily.

Pooraka: Pooraka means to fill. So it is the stage of filling of breathing box with vital air. During this session inhalation should be as slow and deep as possible to get its maximum benefits.

Rechaka: Rechaka means to expel out i.e. the exhalation of air from the lungs. During this session one should be extra conscious as the body tries to get rid of trapped air as soon as possible and inhale the fresh air. But for best results it should also be as slow as possible.
While doing all these steps, one should be conscious to not go too fast. Do the way most comfortable to the body.

Health benefits of Pranayama:
In Pranayama the lung capacity goes on increasing so the oxygenation of blood. So now all the organs are receiving adequate supply of oxygen. This is the reason Pranayam is said to be rejuvenator for the whole body.
Oxidants produced as a result of continuous working of different body parts got expelled properly so the all organs feel afresh.
As regulation of breaths calms the wandering brain so it is of great use psychological disturbances.
It can be used as tool for spiritual enlightment.

Precautions:
One should wear very light clothing while performing Pranayama to ease breathing.
There is no hard and fast about the Aasana in which it should be performed. Do in the Aasana which is most comfortable to you. If sitting is not so much comfortable you may lie down.
The best timing for Pranayam is early morning before sun rise and after sun set. But there is nothing wrong in doing other times.
Try to control your breath when your head is boiling. It will relieve you from anger.


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