Pranayama – What is it and How does it work?

We all know that Pranayama is a breathing practice and it has various benefits like increase energy, decrease stress, improve mental clarity and improve physical health. It is also identified as the fastest way to make you calm down.

But how does it work? We need to understand what prana is first.

Prana is the universal life force, which is the energy that distinguishes the living from the dead. It is the energy (chi) that going through our body via the energy channels (Nadis) and stored in our energy centers (chakras). Hence, prana is very important to the living body.

Surprisingly, there are different sources to get prana.

  1. Food – We can increase the prana intake from the Vegetables and fresh food. As mentioned earlier, prana only exists in the livings. Therefore, there is less or nearly no prana from the stale food and meat.
  2. Sleep – We always feel tired before sleeping and more energetic after waking up. Sleeping help us to increase the prana in our bodies.
  3. State of mind – When you feel tired you normally has no energy to do anything, but you are more energetic when you are in a good, bright or positive state of mind
  4. Breath – It is the most direct and instant source for us to get prana.

Breathing is the most direct and instant way to increase the prana in our bodies, but it is not just breath control. It is more about how we focusing on the breath, regulating the breath to increase the prana.

Since ancient times, Yogis already knew the power of prana and have been constantly developing breathing techniques to increase and maintain the prana, which is Pranayama.

Yogis believe there is a link between our emotions and breath. For every emotion, there’s a particular rhythm in the breath. For example, when you are calm and relaxed your breath is nice and easy and long but when you are angry, your breath is normally short and shallow. Because we cannot control our emotions directly, what we are doing through pranayama is we are controlling our breath and that is going to control our emotions.

So what are the benefits of pranayama?

  1. Calm mind
  2. Reduces worries and anxiety
  3. Improves focus and attention
  4. Boosts immune system
  5. Energizes body and mind
  6. Slow down the aging process

These are the general benefits of pranayamas, and there are other specific benefits we can get through practicing specific pranayams. Some examples are:

  1. Bhramri: Calms mind down
  2. Kapal Bhati: Detoxifying body and clearing energy channels
  3. Bhastrika: Instance Energy
  4. Nadi Shodan: Instance Focus
  5. Anulom Vilom: Instance Focus

Most importantly, it helps to delay the aging process!!