Customs and traditions are abounding in any society. Each region or country has its own traditions which cherish and enhance the quality of people living there. Very often, we overlook and ignore these traditions as "Orthodox" and "Outdated". But they are the time-tested methods inherited from several generations.
Pranayama is one such life and soul saving method which has been carried down and practiced by Indians for several centuries. Pranayama is a Sanskrit word meaning "Suspending or controlling the Breath". It is a Yoga exercise. It's very simple and costs you nothing. You can practice it anywhere and anytime in the world.
The significance of this method as a life enhancer can be well understood as Pranayama is mentioned in BhagvadGita , the holy scripture of Hindus.
Breathing is a vital process that starts at the time of birth and stops at the death. It enables us to inhale the vital energy "oxygen" and exhale the waste product "carbon dioxide" from our body. Without oxygen, our life is a zero. Hence, this vital energy of oxygen is called Prana vayu (Sanskrit). A person can survive without oxygen for about 4 minutes only. So pranayama is the science related to the vital force supplying energy and controlling the body and mind.
Your mind consisting of thoughts and emotions is closely related to the breath. When the mind is calm and relaxed, your breathing is smooth and slow. If you are stressed, breathing is fast & shallow but mostly through chest. When you get angry, the breathing becomes fast and forceful. In this way, the mental and emotional states affect the breathing.
Further, in the process of breathing, our body uses the diaphragm that lies between thorax and abdomen regions. The diaphragmatic breathing is called vertical breathing and is considered a more efficient way to inhale air than inhaling while expanding the chest which is called horizontal breathing. In pranayama, the diaphragm is efficiently used to get more oxygen but with less efforts. Also, pranayama makes the functioning of the organs like heart, lungs, liver, spleen, pancreas, stomach very efficient due to the efficient movement of diaphragm.
So pranayama helps you in regular and systematic breathing which in turn removes all the ailments and also stops the aging process of the body. Moreover, it rejuvenates your mind through the meditation that accompanies alongside.
The major benefits of pranayama can be listed as under.
1) Control over the mind is made possible.
2) Concentration and Focus of mind is achieved
3) Clears the Respiratory system.
4) Keeps the sinus cavities clear and prevents sinusitis problem.
5) Stimulates hunger and freshness.
6) Rejuvenates the mind.
Pranayama may harm you if it is practiced wrongly .Only this fear dissuades many from taking to it. The second reason for its unpopularity is the absence of teachers who can teach it scientifically. But do not assume it is such a difficult process and cannot be done by ordinary people. You can easily learn and practice under proper guidance through a teacher or tutorial.
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