Why do We Practice Pranayama?
1 Feb 2020 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
Yoga breathing, or the word ‘Pranayama” the process of breath control, is the science of Prana (vital energy) which is referred as source of all life in all living beings in this universe. Prana + Aayama = Pranayama; Prana stands for Life force and Aayama stands for extension. It consists of a series of breathing exercises especially intended to meet the body’s needs and keep it in vibrant health.
Other than for increasing vital reserves in the body, Pranayamas are mainly practiced for stilling the mind and thought process – as the prana and thoughts are no different. According to Yogic ethics, we can control the thoughts by the breath, and breathing is a tool to harmonize the body, mind and consciousness. It works as therapy, healing, and meditation.
Merits of Pranayama Practice
1. To purify the Nadis
Pranyama purifies the body cells, nadis (energy channels). Purity gives energy, strentgh, and health. Pure body and mind keeps peace and calm.
2. To Remain Stressless
The autonomic nervous system is composed of two parts: the parasympathetic and the sympathetic system. You can think of the parasympathetic system as what causes us to relax while the sympathetic system is what engages our “fight or flight” responses.
In today’s society, we generally have a problem with over stimulating the sympathetic system which puts us in stress. Stress is known to lead to a host of diseases and body pains, some of which even life are threatening. While stimulation of the sympathetic system at the proper time can save our lives from harmful situations, overstimulation can lead to incredibly harmful effects on our health and creats disorders.
It is known that regular practice of pranayama exercises increases parasympathetic tone, and decreases sympathetic activity.
Pranayama relaxes you — which is far more beneficial than just a feel-good vibe. For most of us, we don’t stimulate our parasympathetic systems nearly enough. Consistent practice restructures your autonomic nervous system so that you are engaging your parasympathetic system in equilibrium with your sympathetic system.
3. Cleanses Tissue/ cells
We have approximately 70% of fluid in our body — known as “interstitial fluid”— moving freely around our vessels, organs, and cells. Pranayama increases the velocity of these fluids moving through the tissues of our body which creates an alternating “saturating and wringing” effect. This cleanses our tissue while increasing the number of nutrients absorbed and furthering the cleansing process of the lymphatic system.
3. Cleanses Vitals
Pranayama cleanses out our lungs, in that it empties the bottom area of our lungs completely. Gravity tends to pull material to the bottom of nearly all things, where it can build up to cause harmful effects. The same can happen to your lungs when the bottom area is not being emptied and “cleansed” so to speak. Pranayama causes the build-up material to be released from this bottom area of our vitals e.g. brain, lungs, heart, liver and kidneys filling it with fresh nutrients and pranas to enhance the functions of your vitals overall.
4. A Glowing Complexion
When you practice pranayama, your breathing becomes far more effective. This gives your body an extra pump of oxygen which leaves your skin with a naturally bright, healthy glow. It makes smartness of body and sharpness of mind.
5. Weight Loss and Gain quality of health
The fast-paced lifestyle where little time is given to think about the implications of our eating habits and our bodies state of true hunger is masked by boredom or stress. Controlling stress will reduce stress-eating, and slowing down to become self-aware and thoughtful will encourage your mind to consider what foods are best for the body, and plan ahead to avoid fast-food stops. Several pranayama techniques have been shown to actually burn the accumulation of fat from the abdominal area, lower blood pressure, increase the function of the thyroid gland, and increase metabolism. Pranayama helps to gain good quality of health, optimum health, and makes silence.