What is Pranayama and the benefits

Pranayama is the fourth limb of the eight limbs of yoga, pranayama in Sanskrit words means:

Prana = life force; Ayama = to extend, draw out or control.

Breathing is a very normal part of life and we often forget to pay attention to it. The body naturally holds the breath whenever it feels physically or emotionally challenged.

Pranayama has taught me the correct way to breathe, which is slowly and with deep breaths. Breathing this way brings more oxygen into the body and activates the reduction of stress and slows the heart rate. So with better breathing it can help to either calm or excite the entire nervous system.

The practice of breathing exercises can help improve our wellbeing:  Inhale, exhale and hold the breath in specific sequence in yoga pranayama is very useful with regular practice, and help the physical and meditation part.

Pranayama involves different breathing examples;

1. Nadishodhana (Alternate nostril breathing). Sitting in cross legged position comfortably, then using the right hand, one close the right side of the nose while inhaling deeply with the left nostril ,and repeat the right nostril too. Practicing this technique deeply for 10-15 time will help purifying the energy of the body and bring balance to the mind, body and soul of the human body and help in relieving stresses and anxiety.

2. Ujjayi pranayama.
Breathing through the mouth while sitting in cross legged position, after closing the mouth, breathing should be done through the nose constricting the throat. This should be done for 10-15 times.  It can give great relaxation and also help in throat issues and help reduce anxiety.

3. Kapalabhati pranayama.
Exhale from the lunge and inhaling is done. The exhalation should be suck the belly in realising the air. The same way when inhaling the belly go back the same position, usually kapalabhati done for warm up.This cycle of inhalation and exhalation should be done for few minute.this type of pranayama benefitical in strengthening and abdominal muscle.also help increasing focus,reducing anxiety and burning calories.

The benefits of pranayama are;

1. Decreases stress
2. Improves sleep quality
3. Increases mindfulness
4.Reduces high blood pressure
5.Improves lung function
6.Reduces cravings, such as cigarettes