Pranayama, also known as the “yogic breathing practises,” date back thousands of years and are intended to channel and control prana, the universal life force energy. It’s a crucial part of the yoga tradition, and it’s often included into the practise of asana (physical postures).
The Sanskrit term for the practise of controlling one’s breath is known as pranayama, and its components, prana and yama, have several meanings depending on context. Prana is channelled via the breath, and pranayama refers to practises that aim to increase the capacity for this crucial life force energy.
These methods require you to breathe through your nostrils in predetermined sequences of intake, breath retention, and exhalation.
Ujjayi breathing (victorious breath), Bhastrika pranayama (bellows breath), Bhramari pranayama (bee breath), and Nadi shodhan pranayama are all examples of typical pranayama methods (alternate nostril breathing).
The Science of Breathwork: Pranayama
For optimal breathing and prana (life force) flow, pranayama exercises may be used to remove mental, emotional, and physical obstructions.
Pranayama is said to have been practised by the first yogis in India, around the sixth and fifth century BCE. The Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika are among the earliest yoga writings that have references to pranayama.
After the Yamas, the Niyamas, and the Asanas, Pranayama is the fourth limb in Patanjali’s eight-limbed method of yoga.
“When we do pranayama, the veil of ignorance that hides the inner light is progressively peeled away from the mind,” says a spiritual teacher. As stated in (Yoga Sutra 2.52),
Four distinct phases may be identified in pranayama practise.
The deliberate pause after taking a breath
Taking a moment to pause mindfully after letting out a breath
The moment of reflection occurs between the two physical acts of breathing in and out. The attentive pause, also known as breath retention, may be an advanced technique; thus, one should seek advice before beginning practise.
Holding your breath strengthens your body and mind by requiring you to be completely motionless. The goal is not to test your breathing capacity! When holding your breath, it should be even and unforced.
What do scientific studies reveal about the advantages of pranayama?
Forced exhalation through bellows
Pranayama is a kind of controlled breathing that has many positive effects on health. These have been the subject of a lot of study and documentation, as one Healthline article attests. The following are some other findings from the study:
The number one benefit is that it reduces tension.
A research conducted on healthy young individuals found that pranayama helped them feel less stressed. According to the findings, pranayama reduces stress by calming the neurological system.
Anxiety levels were lower among test-takers who had done pranayama, according to another research from 2013. The researchers concluded that the higher oxygen use during pranayama was responsible for this impact. The brain, along with the rest of your important organs, need oxygen in order to function properly.
Enhances the standard of one’s sleep
Clinical research has revealed that 5 minutes of practise of the breathing method Bhramari Pranayama (humming bee breath) may have a significant impact on the pace at which the body breathes and heart beats. You may find that this eases your mind and body into a more restful slumber.
Some studies from 2019 have shown that pranayama may also assist those with sleep apnea have a better night’s rest. The advantages of pranayama for sleep quality were further supported by the study’s findings that its practise reduced snoring and daytime tiredness.
The third benefit is improved mental efficiency.
Working memory, cognitive flexibility, reasoning ability, auditory memory, and sensory-motor performance were all shown to be enhanced after 12 weeks of slow or rapid pranayama, according to a different research from 2013.
The researchers attribute these advantages to pranayama’s stress-reducing properties. Enhanced oxygen consumption, which provides brain cells with more energy, is also likely at play here.
Strengthens the ability to pay attention
The bulk of us don’t even have to think about our breathing. It’s something we do without much conscious thinking. You must pay attention to your breathing and how it feels during pranayama. Simply focusing a little bit of attention on the breath might help bring one’s thoughts back to the here and now, away from the past or the future.
Students who practised pranayama had greater levels of awareness than those who did not, according to a research done in 2017. The same kids also shown improved ability to control their emotions. This was linked to pranayama’s meditative qualities, which help you focus your attention.
Scientists noted that pranayama reduces carbon dioxide and increases oxygen, both of which are essential for brain function. If this helps one concentrate and focus more, it might be a step toward developing mindfulness.
Boosts lung capacity; 5.
Pranayama, which involves slow, powerful breathing, is a sort of breathing exercise that may help strengthen your lungs.
A 2019 research found that regular pranayama practice—even if just for an hour per day—could have a substantial impact on lung function if practised for a full six weeks. The results of pulmonary tests showed that the practise improved many measures of lung function.
The study’s authors conclude that pranayama may be an effective strategy for strengthening the lungs in the treatment of a variety of lung disorders, including asthma, allergic bronchitis, pneumonia, and TB.
Lowers blood pressure, benefit No. 6
If your blood pressure is consistently over the healthy range, your doctor may diagnose you with high blood pressure, often known as hypertension. It raises the odds of developing diseases including heart disease and stroke.
It is well established that stress contributes significantly to the development of hypertension. Pranayama’s calming effects may help reduce the likelihood of this happening.
Anti-hypertensive medication was given to people with moderate hypertension for a period of 6 weeks in a research conducted in 2014. One half of the group also underwent pranayama instruction for a period of 6 weeks. The latter group’s blood pressure dropped more significantly towards the conclusion of the research.
In order to relax your nervous system, just focusing on your breathing may have a profound effect. It’s possible that this may lessen your body’s stress reaction and thus lower your blood pressure.
Intense desire and subsequent disengagement
7- Decreases the urge to smoke
Pranayama (yogic breathing) has been shown to reduce cravings, which is helpful for persons attempting to kick the habit of smoking.
A 2012 research found that as little as 10 minutes of yogic breathing reduced cigarette cravings temporarily.
Reducing the discomfort of quitting smoking was one of the goals of a recent research that revealed yoga breathing practises with an emphasis on mindfulness helped.
Eighth, it boosts happiness and resistance to illness.
More than a hundred studies have proven that Breath Meditation, a potent pranayama-based practise, offers enormous benefits for the mind and body. Here, mystery and rationality collide.
Three-hundred-and-three percent increase in the number of immunological cells
Stress hormone levels dropped by 56%.
lessened post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms
Increased happiness by 21%
Improved capacity for slow-wave sleep
Reduction of Anxiety to a Substantial Degree
In this no-cost online session, a real person will lead you through some simple breathing exercises called pranayama and a brief meditation. The SKY Breath Meditation programme, which serves as our cornerstone, will also be discussed. Simply book your free consultation by clicking the picture below.
No oxygen means death! Become familiar with your breathing, and you will become familiar with your life. If you want to have more fun in life, undertake a daily pranayama practise.