Pranayama in Yoga : Types & Their Effects
Pranayam is the foundation of life forces
Pranayam in Yoga is one of the most underrated treasures bestowed by almighty for the mankind but despite all hype about yoga it is still underrated and not many people are aware of the comprehensive benefits of Pranayam Yoga or Breathing Yoga. 'Prana' is supreme source of vitality and it is quite different from oxygen we breathe. In fact air we inhale also contain this vital element 'Prana and the 'Ayama' mean to give a definite flow. It means Pranayam is more a process through which supreme vital energy can be utilized more effectively in the body bringing a whole gamut of benefits with it. Pranayam Yoga can help you reduce the breathing rate and once you are skillful it can come down to one-third of what it used to earlier resulting in clarity of mind.
Scientific aspect of Pranayam or Breathing Yoga
Pranayam in fact comes naturally to us. We inhale and exhale through nose and the flow maintains continuity of life. The only difference is that in Pranayam we connect the process to mind. In addition to that the systematic regulation of the inhalation and exhalation have own benefits.
The result of this controlled inhalation and exhalation has positive effect on the mind and the body. The natural process of taking air in the breathing process is called breathing and Pranayam is called deep breathing.
Stages of Pranayam
Famous sage Shivanand writes, "The first important step is to master the Asana of posture or to control the body. The next exercise is Pranayam. Correct posture is indispensably requisite for the successful practice of Pranayam. An easy comfortable posture is Asana. That pose is the best which continues to be comfortable for the greatest length of time." This summarizes the whole concept beautifully.
Types of Pranayam
- BHASTRIKA PRANAYAM: Sit peacefully in the normal sukkhasana and take deep breathe so that your lungs are full of air. Don't release this air and hold this for quite some time and then release it. Repeat the process 10-15 times till you master this process.
- KAPAL BHATI PRANAYAM: In this process air is exhaled by pushing the stomach inside. Repeat this process of exhaling air and inhaling fresh air with least for 20 minutes. It has tremendous positive effect on indigestion, acidity and gas, obesity.
- BAHYA PRANAYAM: Air is exhaled to the maximum level and one should try to move stomach inside. Just wait for a few seconds and then again inhale fresh air. Repeat this process for many times. It cures many ailments related to abdomen and intestine.
- ANULOM VILOM PRANAYAM : Take deep breathe with one nostril open and the other closed using your fingers and release the air by another nostril which was earlier closed. Then reverse the process. Take deep breathe by the nostril which was earlier closed and exhale the air through other nostril. It has positive effect on Hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes related problems etc. It aligns chakras. It also relaxes the mind and reduces stress and fatigue.
- BHRAMRI PRANAYAM: In this type of Pranayam you should place your fingers in a way that three fingers cover eyes. While one finger exerts pressure on forehead. The thumb covers ears. After that take a deep breathe and exhale slowly with humming sound.
- UDGEET PRANAYAM: Just close your eyes inhale and exhale slowly chanting 'OHM' in low voice. This has miraculous effect on nervous system.
Benefits of Pranayam
Pranayam works wonderfully on the various organs in the body. It improves functioning and overall health. It is effectively the art of breath control.
One of the measure benefits of Pranayam is weight loss. In fact Pranayam stimulates metabolic process in the body and in that way your body burns more calories than earlier. However, the process can be slow and one should not expect miraculous result. Anulom Vilom, Kapalbhati and Bhastika if done in a right way can reduce your weight.
Yoga breathing also maintains right blood pressure level in the body. Kapalabhati works well in disease related to obesity and indigestion. Pranayam yoga enables you to focus more properly on your work. It is very similar to meditation. If done regularly your body starts utilizing oxygen more effectively and thus lung capacity increases. Pranayam has power to revitalize a fatigued body and helps you to control your mind better. It teaches you to properly utilize Prana tatwa. There is almost unlimited oxygen in the environment but we fail to use it properly. Pranayam helps you use the free oxygen in more effective way leading to more rejuvenated and invigorated life.
Controlling of Prana means controlling all the life forces in universe which is evident in various forms such as gravitational, electric, magnetic and other biological forces.
Caution: Pranayam should not be practised without proper guidence.