Do you know that breathing is an important part of yogic practices? Yes! The way you breathe has a vast impact on your mood for the entire day. However, there is a specific technique for proper breathing in yoga known as Pranayama that improves your mental and physical health. Want to know more about this magical technique? Read on.
The word Pranayama is a Sanskrit word divided into two parts. In the first part, Prana means life energy whereas, in the second part, Yama means control. In yoga, Pranayama includes purposefully inhaling, exhaling, and holding your breath for a specific sequence. You do Pranayama along with yoga asanas and other meditative techniques. However, there is a lot more you should know about Pranayama.
Pranayama – A Brief Intro
Just like yoga, Pranayama is the ancient technique of controlling your breath. You control the timing, duration, and frequency of every breath during the yoga practice.
Remember, the end goal of Pranayama is to help you form a solid mind-body connection. It supplies your body with fresh oxygen and frees it of toxins and other harmful substances. You should enroll in yoga instructor training to learn everything about this magical yogic technique.
However, do you know the numerous benefits that Pranayama offers? Yoga experts have come up with five such perks.
Benefits Of Yoga Pranayama
The yogic breathing technique of Pranayama benefits you in many ways like;
1. Minimizes Stress
Numerous studies point towards how Pranayama minimizes stress levels in young adults. Moreover, this breathing technique calms down your nervous system, which improves your body’s stress response. Enroll in certified yoga instructor training to learn everything about this powerful yogic technique.
2. Increases Mindfulness
For many, the act of breathing is automatic. This means most of us to do it without giving any thought to it at all. During the practice of Pranayama, you have to be aware of your breathing and how it feels. With time, Pranayama helps you focus on the present moment instead of the past or future.
3. Improves Lung Function
As an effective yoga breathing exercise, Pranayama is a slow and forceful technique that strengthens your lungs. A study showed that 6 weeks of Pranayama practice for an hour a day has a significant impact on lung function. You should join Yoga Instructor Certification to know more about Pranayama and its effect on your lungs.
4. Helps Fight Cravings
Do you know that Pranayama also helps you fight addictions? Yes! This yogic technique decreases cravings like that of smoking and alcohol consumption. Moreover, the mindfulness you develop with daily Pranayama helps you make healthy choices when it comes to what you eat and drink.
5. Improves Sleep Quality
Pranayama helps you beat stress, which is the number one reason behind sleepless nights. There is a specific pranayama technique known as Bhramari Pranayama which is effective when it comes to enjoying a deep sleep. Signing up for a yoga instructor certification would give you access to knowledge about this yogic sleeping technique.
Despite all these benefits, some question –
Why Is Pranayama So Important?
Pranayama is an essential component of yogic practices which impacts the overall functioning of your body and mind. If you practice Pranayama daily, it is quite beneficial for the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and endocrine systems.
Moreover, practicing Pranayama gives your lungs more oxygen which impacts the functioning of your heart. Apart from this, Pranayama clears your kidneys and improves the functions of the nervous system. In the long run, the daily practice of Pranayama under a certified yoga instructor affects the autonomic nervous system.
This breathing technique controls your heart rate, respiratory system, digestive system, blood pressure, and glandular secretions.
Unfortunately, many yoga practitioners confuse Pranayama with normal breathing. That is not right. Yoga experts have come up with complete information on what makes the former different from the latter.
Yoga Pranayama Vs Breathing
The first thing you should understand is that Pranayama is not just a simple breathing process. It is much more than the normal exhale and inhale. Pranayama is controlled breathing which includes prolonged inhales, breath retention, and prolonged exhalation. On the other hand, breathing includes inhalation and exhalation.
You practice Pranayama by sitting in the Padmasana position whereas there is no such requirement with breathing. In other words, breathing provides you physical benefits while Pranayama offers mental, physical, and spiritual benefits. You should enroll in a yoga instructor certification to know more about Pranayama.
For you to practice this powerful yogic breathing technique, there are some basics you should be aware of.
Best Time To Practice
Yoga experts recommend you should do Pranayama first thing in the morning. You can also practice this yogic breathing after meals, but there should be a difference of five hours. Five hours is what it takes for the body to digest the food and relax your stomach.
However, if you suffer from a chronic health problem, doing Pranayama twice a day in the morning and evening would benefit you a lot. Keep in mind that after the practice you should not consume anything for at least 20 minutes. The only exception is a little bit of water.
Best Place For Pranayama Practice
For Pranayama to work its magic, concentration is of utmost importance. You should have a peaceful and calm mindset. With time, your level of concentration improves which helps you sit for longer hours.
The best place for you to practice this yogic breathing technique is to sit in an open space such as a riverbank or garden with lush greenery. Make sure the environment is full of natural oxygen. Also, do this exercise during the early morning hours. Learning Pranayama under the watchful eye of a yoga instructor would help you understand the best way to practice this breathing technique.
However, there are some precautions you should keep in mind when doing Pranayama. Yoga experts have come up with a list of safety tips to help you practice this breathing technique with ease.
Safety Tips For Pranayama
- Consume a high-calorie vegetarian diet consisting of fresh fruits, milk, and vegetables for Pranayama to work.
- As a beginner, do Pranayama with a little patience and under the guidance of an experienced yoga instructor.
- Feeling tired during the practice? Stop right away. Take some rest for a few minutes with long and normal breaths.
- If you suffer from blood pressure, any chronic condition, or are pregnant; then do Pranayama under the guidance of skilled yoga teachers.
Pranayama is a basic yogic technique that improves your mental and physical health. You should enroll in a yoga instructor certification program to learn everything about this magical breathing technique.
Read More:- Yoga Alliance Certification