Pranayama- A necessity
Everything you should know about the practice and benefits of pranayama
What is Pranayama?
Pranayama is a Sanskrit word, where Prana means the subtle energy or life force that sustains us and ayama means regulating or stretching. So pranayama refers to regulating or extending of the vital force that sustains and nourishes our body and mind and in more simple terms, it refers to controlling or regulating our breath. We know that as long as we breath we are alive and “no breath” means “no life”.
We will discuss here few pranayama techniques or breathing exercises that are simple to do but, believe me their benefits are immense and profound. They have the power to transform our physical health and our quality of living. As already said I will keep my article short and appealing.
Due to consistent efforts of Swami Ramdev, the popularity and awareness of Pranayama, its techniques and benefits has spread worldwide. These are efforts from my side to further spread the awareness of Pranayama and its benefits. I will try to keep things clear, brief and yet include all the necessary information.
Types of pranayama or breathing exercises
There are scores of pranayama exercises but here we will be dealing with those pranayama exercises or techniques that are completely safe to do, have immense health, mental and spiritual benefits. These pranayama exercises should be performed regularly every day.
1. Deep breathing.
2. Kapal bhati pranayam.
3. Bahaya pranayam.
4. Anulom vilom pranayam.
How to do Pranayama
1. First of all for doing pranayama sit in a comfortable position, make sure your back is straight. Your spine should be straight, you can use a yoga mat or use a clean cloth. If a patient is not able to sit on the floor, he can sit on a chair or even do pranayama while lying on the bed (This is for critical patients who cannot sit and not for people who want to lie down out of laziness ). So the point is that everyone should do pranayama, no disease should bar a person from doing pranayama.
2. Do the 6 rounds of Pranayama or breathing exercises followed by meditation, in the order and for a period of time as mentioned below. Please click on any Pranayama exercise above, to read the detailed instructions for doing it and the benefits.
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How much to do
For amazing results practice these 6 rounds of breathing exercises followed
by meditation, in the order and for a period of time as mentioned below. Be
regular and do pranayama daily, gym workouts and rigorous exercises needs
at least 2 days of rest in a week, but pranayama and meditation doesn’t.
Try to do Pranayama 7 days a week and 365 days a year (you can take rest for a day in a leap year which has 366 days). Remember big achievements needs consistent work and consistent work needs passion and determination. You can follow any of the following two orders
- Deep breathing : 2 to 5 minutes
- Kapal bhati pranayam : 3 to 10 minutes
- Anulom Vilom pranayam : 3 to 10 minutes
- Again Kapal bhati pranayam 3 to 10 minutes
- Bahaya pranayama : 3 to 5 minutes
- Again Anulom Vilom pranayam 3 to 10 minutes
- Meditation : 5 to 10 minutes.
- Deep breathing : 2 to 5 minutes.
- Kapal bhati pranayam : two rounds of 3 to 10 minutes each
- Bahaya pranayama : 3 to 5 times
- Anulom Vilom pranayam : two rounds of 3 to 10 minutes each
- Meditation : 5 to 10 minutes
For each Pranayama exercise above we have given two time limits. For instance you should do Deep breathing for 2 to 5 minutes, that is in beginning days you should do it for 2 mins and gradually increase it to 5 minutes. We have discussed in detail about each type of pranayama exercise, with detailed instructions on our website.
It is a good way to end the pranayama session or any workout by doing meditation at the end and thank God for his mercy on us. Meditation is an excellent cool down for our body.
Pranayama-Instructions to follow and benefits
1. It is advisable to do all pranayama exercises with closed eyes.
2. Wear smooth cloths while doing pranayama. Avoid wearing tight outfits.
3. Choose a clean place for doing pranayama where you have no disturbances.
4. If there is more pollution in your city, some kind of incense can be lit like purified butter to cleanse the environment at that place.
5. Breath only through the nose, remember that breathing through the nose cleanses the air before it reaches the lungs.
6. Like any other exercise, pranayama should be performed only 5 hours after taking the meal. The best time to do pranayama is early morning from 5:00 AM to 7:00 Am. However if you are unable to do in the morning then you can do pranayama in the evening, 5 hrs after your meals.
7. Pranayama should be done after brushing your teeth, evacuation of bowels and taking bath..
The benefits of pranayama are many and there will not be an exaggeration if I say that the benefits are countless. Pranayama is so powerful that it can increase our level of physical fitness, mental fitness and
spiritual fitness as well. However how much benefit you derive from doing pranayama depends on your dedication towards doing pranayama and how regularly you do it.
1. Many diseases get cured by pranayama and the diseases which are not cured, the symptoms of the disease can be alleviated to a large extent and the patient can experience good benefits.
2. The so known as incurable diseases like Blood pressure, Diabetes and Depression can actually be completely cured by Pranayama exercises. We know of people who were diabetic but have now been relieved of it and it’s medication.
3. Doing pranayama for a long period of time like over 6 months will naturally boosts and develops your immunity.
4. Face becomes glowing, bright and vibrant.
5. Mind becomes calm and tranquil and thus pranayama offers a great helping hand to dive deep in Meditation. Our understanding and acumen increases, lack of understanding is the main reason for disharmony in relations today.
6. Pranayama and Meditation can cure any kind of depression that is prevalent in the world today.
7. Pranayama increase our emotional control and over time transforms us into a more developed and peaceful person.
1. People who are sick, have swine flu, suffer from contagious diseases, have symptoms of Covid19 should avoid doing pranayama in the company of other people otherwise it can be dangerous. Not dangerous for the person doing pranayama but very dangerous for the people with whom he is doing pranayama because he can then become a super-spreader of the disease and infect other people around him. So such people should do pranayama in isolation where no one else is around him within a distance of at least 5 meters. These precautions become very crucial during outbreaks like that of Covid19 happening now, we all have certain responsibilities as a citizen of India.
2. Pregnant women should do Pranayama very slowly without any sound. Pregnant women should avoid doing Kapal Bhati pranayama and can do the remaining pranayama exercises mentioned above, extra slowly such that there is no breathing sound at all.
3. After a surgery, a person may require to avoid pranayama for a day to a week, depending upon the
severity of the surgery. Take advice of your doctor.