Breath is one of the most powerful elements in our bodies and for over five millennia, the East have been utilizing the force of breath to attain healing and even higher states of consciousness. Practicing yoga poses in different styles and gaining benefits from those, is just one part of the yogic science, more like a beginning. The complete immersion of yoga is only possible when conducted in sync with the Pranayama practices.
In Sanskrit, Pranayama means ‘breath work or the regulation of prana (the breath) which is the source of life’. It comprises the use of breathing techniques to perform different types of inhalations and exhalations, even breath retention (the kumbhaka style). Pranayama is an important subject of study and practice during the 200 hours yoga teacher training course online and offline both. And the journey of pranayama continues for a yogi till the end of time.
Pranayama is conducted in different styles depending upon the schedule and the requirement of the practicing yogi. Some are meant to offer emotional and spiritual benefits, while some are meant to recharge the entire nervous system. But yes, just like yoga is a way of life, doing Types of Pranayama is also an important part of a regular yoga routine.
Here are core reasons that demonstrate why we should do Pranayama everyday.
For Purification of Energy Channels
Practicing Pranayama regularly can purify more than 80,000 nerves in our body resulting in overall wellbeing. This is one of the reasons why medical practitioners of western medicine recommend the use of Pranayama and Yoga therapy for the overall health of the body and mind.
It is Not Just Another Meditation Practice
Many of us believe that Pranayama is a type of meditation practice. However, in yoga, Pranayama covers more than meditation, it affects the body’s internal organs in a positive manner by facilitating a healthy flow of oxygen through the body. Regular Pranayama also balances digestive health and renders a beautiful glow to the skin.
Improves Mental Concentration & Relieves Stress
An everyday practice of Pranayama helps increase mental strength, builds concentration and increases memory focus. It is also evident in helping the body find relief from stress. As Pranayama helps increase a healthy flow of oxygen through blood, it brings ease to the nerve endings present in the mind, in turn helping the mind release stress on its own
Relieves High Blood Pressure Symptoms
Pranayama is just as beneficial for managing, in many cases, completely eliminating the symptoms of high blood pressure. It helps gain control over the sudden rush of blood by slowing down the sudden release of hormones that stop the body to relax entirely. It also helps manage diabetes, and depression.
Pranayama is also known to increase the life span of the practicing yogi. The important thing is to practice Pranayama in a systematic process.
For Body Weight Management
A Paranayama gains control over the body, it affects any negative feeling you might have for food, it starts to rebalance the entire body and mind.
Works on Enhancing the Parasympathetic Nervous System
Pranayama is helpful in cultivating patience and that is vivid in all roles you play in life. It helps calm down the fight or flight response in the body.
Helps with Releasing Chronic Stress
A regular practice of Pranayama is also helpful in relieving any chronic or pent-up stress you might be feeling. Through one of its techniques such as Ujjayi, you will find that any persisting symptoms of stress and anxiety wash away.
Can Help With Managing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Yoga combined with Pranayama is also helpful in managing the symptoms of PTSD.
Aids in Improving the Sleep Quality
A regular practice of Pranayama just for a few minutes before calling it a night, is highly beneficial in improving the quality of sleep. You can even find relief from insomnia.
Different Types of Traditional Pranayama Techniques:
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
Alternate breathing through the left and right nose is known as Nadi Shodhana.
As the Indic name suggests, Ujjayi Pranayama is also known as the Victorious Breath. In this pranayama, you slowly bring the back of the throat to produce the sound of the ocean. It is an excellent pranayama to calm the body and mind.
Kapalbhati pranayama (Skull shining breath)
Also known as the ‘bellows breathing’, this pranayama is intensive on the torso. As you inhale and as you exhale, the lower belly constricts and expands towards the spine. People with heart condition, epilepsy, pregnancy, glucome, or have a history of ill health should not practice this pranayama.
Bhramari pranayama (Humming bee breath)
This Pranayama technique follows the sound of a bee. This is done by using the finger to block the ears. As you exhale, make a humming sound and be mindful of the vibrations that it carries. People with hypertension, pregnancy, epilepsy etc should avoid practicing it.
Final note: It’s better to practice pranayama on an empty stomach. For added prana (vital energy) bonus points try practicing outdoors to get even more fresh air into your beautiful lungs. You can start off your Pranayama practices with a breathing yoga course online and find the best online pranayama course. Later, you can enroll with a yoga school for a complete yoga teacher training program.