Pranayama - Yogic breathing: balance & control
Breath is life. Breath is the external manifestation of Prana. Prana is the sum total of all latent forces which are hidden in men and which lie everywhere around us. Prana is related to mind; through mind to the will; through will to the individual soul, and through this to the Supreme Being. Breath directed by thought under the control of the will is vitalising, regenerated force which can be utilised consciously for self-development, for healing many incurable diseases and for many other useful purposes. Yogic breathing or pranayama is the control of the breath. Yogic breathing or pranayama implies the rhythmical breathing exercises by which motions of the lungs, currents of the nerves, and functions of the mind are regulated. A man who takes to Pranayama in right earnest must observe purity in thought, word, and deed. Breathing takes place as a result of the vibration of nerve currents in the lungs. The nerves get their energy from the Prana. By regulating breathing, the palpitation of the heart and the movements of the lungs can be regulated and this makes the nerve currents work normally. The Yogic breathing or Pranayama can be dealt with under three heads.
- Pranayama as a physical and mental exercise
- Pranayama as a purifier of body, Nadis and Mind
- Pranayama as a healer of diseases
The Yogic breathing is a scientific mental and physical exercise. In this exercise the diaphragm and abdominal muscles get good exercise by controlled movements and by their alternate contraction and relaxation respectively. The heart, lungs, and digestive organs like stomach, liver and the nervous and endocrine system like the brain and spinal cord. Spinal nerves get the massages and the rejuvenating exercise. It helps to normalise the circulation of blood. The process of Yogic breathing involves Pūraka (inhaling) and Kumbhaka (retension) and Rechaka (exhaling). One who practices Yogic breathing correctly and regularly enjoys good appetite, vitality, glowing face, sparkling eyes, sharp memory and concentration of mind. Regular systematic practice of Yogic breathing removes many diseases and ailments and bring purity of the body and nerves. It also purifies blood and increases its supply and circulation to the different parts of the body. The Yogic breathing can act as curative and preventive for various personality disorders. In order to attain maximum result in improving health and increasing energy one must cultivate the habit of breathing slowly and deeply. The Yogic breathing of Pranayama gives vitality, clarity of consciousness and peace of mind.