For a common man, pranayama is nothing but a breathing technique which helps in stress relief and relaxation. But for people who know the benefits of pranayama, it is a science of inhalation and exhalation that brings the involuntary action under human control. The word pranayama is derived from two words – Prana and Ayama. According to practitioners of Yoga, prana is the universal energy or life force which is omnipresent. It is also considered to be cosmic energy that connects all the elements of the universe together. Ayama is the technique of guiding, stimulating and giving rhythm to this energy force within our body. Though the benefits of pranayama are limitless, I try to compile here a list of 8 benefits you can get by regularly doing pranayama.
8. Increases life span:
It has observed that the life span of an animal is proportional to the rate of their breathing. Tortoise which is known to live for more than 200 years breathes at the rate of 3-4 per minute. Whale which breathes 6-7 times every minute has an average life span of nearly 100 years. In comparison, animals like rabbit or mice which have faster respiratory rate have quite shorter lifespan. Practicing pranayama helps an individual breathe regularly at a systematic pace, thus increasing his/her lifespan.
7. Increased absorption of Oxygen:
We do not use the whole of our lungs when breathing normally. Instead of proper deep breaths, we are accustomed to taking rapid shallow breaths to meet our body’s requirement of oxygen. With regular practice of pranayama, more and more of the lungs are used, which leads to more pure oxygen entering our blood stream, improving overall good health. Constant practitioners of pranayama are known to utilize nearly 80% of their lungs for breathing.
6. Control of emotions:
You must have noticed that your respiration is directly linked to your emotions. The more disturbances you have in your emotional stability, the rapid will be your breathing. In fact rapid breathing gives cues to change of emotion in a person. Thus it is believed that by controlling our breathing, we can have control of our anger, restlessness and other negative emotions. Deep and regulated breathing often helps us to rein and guide our wild emotions to a great extent.
5. Gain control over unnecessary thoughts:
Often we fail to control our fearful and negative thoughts ruins our peace of mind. Pranayama helps in gaining control over not just the physical body but also over wandering unnecessary thoughts. Negative, worrisome and fearful thoughts can make a person nervous and stressed. It can interfere with our lives in more ways than we actually realize. Regular pranayama helps us to focus our thoughts. Even in case we have a problem, we can analyze and solve it instead of allowing it play havoc with our minds.
4. Reduces risk of hypertension:
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition in which the arteries have steadily elevated blood pressure than normally required for the healthy functioning of heart. Hypertension can be a silent killer dwelling in our body, which can be tamed with lifestyle changes and practicing of pranayama regularly. The meditative posture allows the body to relax and be free of stress and tensions. The calm mind also contributes a lot to bringing down hypertension. There have been cases of chronic patients of hypertension, who have kept their blood pressure under control by merely following some life styles changes and doing yoga regularly. In addition it helps in controlling other psychosomatic diseases like diabetes, insomnia, depression and many more.
3. Improve concentration and memory:
Regular practice of yoga and pranayama will help you in improving your concentration, recent and remote memory, besides strengthening your will power. If you are wondering how deep can breathe technique improves concentration and memory, than you must remember that pranayama increases oxygen supply to the body, which includes the brain. It relieves distress, calming the mind to function optimally. The deep breaths will ensure that every cell in the brain has enough oxygen. You will the effects of pranayama immediately, as you feel a deep sense of peace and rejuvenation in your mind immediately after doing it.
2. Physical fitness:
Yes it is true! Pranayama improves your physical fitness making your body lean, strong and healthy, especially if you practice other asanas of yoga. It balances your digestive system and appetite. The face will have a glow with enough supply of oxygen to the skin tissue. Those who are having problem with their vocal chords can benefit a lot from pranayama. People who practice pranayama tend to become more cheerful and happy. It increases the vigor and vitality of a person to a great extent.
1. General well being:
Pranayama is known to purify about 72,000 nerves in our body, in addition to strengthening five pranas and balancing the energy flow in all areas of body evenly. Intellectual development is accelerated and great improvement is seen in cognitive functioning. Medical practitioners recommend pranayama to reduce signs of oxidative stress. It helps in development sound judgment, steady mind and keen sense of perception. Last but not the least; pranayama helps you to travel on the path of soul searching and enlightenment.