What is Pranayama: Pranayama (Sanskrit: प्राणायाम-prāṇāyāma) is one of the perfect yoga and complete its own to maintain our physical and mentally fitness. Pranayama meaning in Sanskrit word is “extension of the prana-प्राण or breath” or, “extension of the life force”.
The word Pranayama is composed of two Sanskrit words:
- “Prana”: The breath, Life force, or vital energy in the body, particularly and
- “ayama”: The Control, To extend or draw out. (Not ‘restrain, or control’ as is often translated from ‘yam’ instead of ‘ayama’).
In detail Pranayama is full control of Breath. It is the complete process of control the rhythms of pranic energy with pranayama and achieves fit body and healthy mind.
The origin of the yogic discipline lies in ancient India (Bharat- भारत). It is in the culture of Hinduism (Indian people). In present days medical science accept the unknown benefits of Pranayama-yoga. Research has shown that the regular practicing of Pranayama yoga can relieve symptoms of asthma. Pranayama is also beneficial in treating stress related disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
Steps to Preparation for Pranayama:
In present day people have highly attracted towards Yog-asanas, similarly they have attracted towards Pranayama. It miraculous benefits about fit body and health mind one of the kinds of people attraction. The process of Pranayama is completely concerned about controlling the breathing process, the indicator of life. And therefore, if it is done wrongly then it may do harm to the person.
There have many kinds of scientific reasons behind Pranayama that have to know before begun Pranayama process. However, it is true that if one does Pranayama unscientifically, without complete understanding or proper guidance, one certainly suffers. But it never means that it is such a difficult process, that it cannot be done by a common man. On the contrary, if it is understood first and practiced under an expert’s guidance, one learns soon and experiences the wonderful and even unimaginable benefits of Pranayama. So before startup the process of Pranayama-yoga keeps in mind some of the points that are beneficial to take full benefits of Pranayama:
The actual means of Pranayama is to holding up of the process of exhaling and inhaling. And it is not possible to discuss or guide this serious aspect of Yogabhyasa in preliminary discussion. Therefore, as the preliminary exercises (Yama-Niyama) are discussed and which are to be done before the actual beginning of the Asanas: similarly, for Pranayama too, the preliminary exercises of breathing are designed and only this part is going to be discussed here.
Before examining the exercises of breathing it is necessary to fully understand the process of breathing. The breathing process chiefly involves two activities, viz.,
- Inhaling Process: It is the flow of air into an organism. It is a vital process for all human life.
- Exhaling Process: It is the flow of air out of an organism.
Of these the former is called “Puraka” and the latter “Rechaka”‘ in Yogashastra.
These two activities continue non-stop right from the birth to the death of a person. The state when these two activities are made to halt is given the name “Kumbhaka” in Yoga Studies. The halt after inhaling, i.e., Puraka is called “Abhyantara Kumbhaka” and after exhaling, i.e. rechaka. It is called “Bahya Kumbhaka”.
According to the speed of breathing, it is divided into three parts:
- Quiet Breathing: The smooth breathing that continues naturally without any effort.
- Deep Breathing: The protracted breathing which is caused by deliberate slowing down of the breathing.
- Fast Breathing: The quick breathing which is caused by deliberate increase in the speed of breathing.