Fourth of the Eight Limbs of Yoga – Pranayama

Pranayama is the fourth of the Eight Limbs of  Yoga, which is a practice of breath control in yoga, to purify the nadis (energy channel) and bring the energy to the unused or needed areas. The term is derived from the Sanskrit word, prana means the life force of energy and ayama means expansion.

Principal of pranayama:

• Puraka (inhalation)

• Rechakra (exhalation)

• Kumbhaka (retention)

• Antara Kumbhaka (internal retention)

• Bahya Kumbahka (external retention)

 

 

What’s the benefit of the Pranayama?

Pranayama is the conscious awareness of breath. Everyone knows how to breath even a newborn baby, but when you bring the awareness to the breath, it can brings us a lot of benefit to our body, mental and spiritual.

 

 

1. Increase the lungs capacity

In the pranayama practices, we send the fresh oxygen deeply to the lungs and it can increase the capacity of the lungs. Example, when we are reaching a mountain with high altitudes, we will find it is difficult to breath. A regulate breathing will be helpful in the high altitudes.

 

2. Improve cardiovascular health

The increase in blood circulation and oxygen capacity in the blood improve the cardiovascular health.

 

3. Improve immunity system and digestion

Stress and anxiety may cause the poor immune system and digestive diseases. Pranayama brings more oxygen to the body, helps the mind calm down and provide relief from the anxiety to boost the immune system and reduce those diseases issues.

 

4. Helps in weight loss

During the deeply breathing in pranayama practices, the more oxygen is brought into our body can let the metabolism more actively to burn a higher of calories.

 

5. Good for skin health

A beautiful glowing & radiant skin is every woman’s dream. Stress can make your skin appear dull, tired and worn out. When the stress level reduces and the internal purification systems are working well through Pranayama, you will have a natural glow to the skin by flushing out toxins from the body.

 

7. Heat/cool down the body

You can try to practice Ujjaji Pranayama and Kapalabhathi Pranayama to energize and warm up the body especially during the winter.

Cooling Pranayama has a cooling effect that brings down the body’s inner fire or Pitta Dosha. Sitali Pranayama or Shitkari Pranayama are the good practices to remove the excess heat from your body.

 

8. Concentrate the mind

Sutra 2.53 Dharanasu cha yogyata manasah

Dharanasu – for concentration

cha – and

yogyata – ability, fitness

manasah – mental, spiritual

Through the practice of the pranayama, after the veil is removed, the mind becomes capable to concentrate, which is important in the sixth to eighth of the Eight Limbs of Yoga – dharana, dhyana and samadhi.

 

9. Reduce the negative mind, stress, depression, insomnia and calm down

The most common mental health troubles of the modern people in the city are the depression, sleep disturbances, negative mind and anxiety. Pranayama in addition to meditation play a big role to reduce the mental problems.

 

10. Awaken kundalini

Pranayama is one of the methods to awaken the Kundalini. Kundalini identifies the arising of an energy and consciousness which has been coiled at the base of the spine since birth, and is the source of the life force. The other forms to awaken Kundalini are mantra, kriya, deep relaxation and meditation.

 

11. Connects the body with the mind

If we can control our breathing, we can control our mind. Pranayama helps us to control the mind and increase awareness oneself without distraction from the thoughts that constantly bombard our minds.

 

There are some easy Pranayama practices can be performed by the beginners.

⇒ Ujjayi Pranayama

⇒ Sitali Pranayama

⇒ Kapalabhati Pranayama

⇒ Nadi Shodhan Pranayama

 

Let us try and feel what’s the different before and after the practices!