Introduction to Pranayama
Pranayama is a very important aspect of yoga. In his book Yogasutras, Patanjali has mentioned 8 limbs of yoga, and Pranayama is one of them. There is a misunderstanding that Pranayama means breath control exercise, but it is something much deeper. "Prana" is the vital energy force that is responsible for the manifestation of life in the universe.
Prana is not mere breath, as understood by many. It manifests in the body in 5 basic forms that are known as prana Vayu, Apana vayu, Samana vayu, vyana vayu, and Udana Vayu. Most of the psychological problems are created due to the imbalance of prana. If one gains control over these 5 vayus, he will be able to glide through life.
When these 5 vayus become balanced, a person reaches the state where he is involved in the worldly activities, but not entangled. That is, he remains calm amidst all situations, as if unaffected by the surroundings. Pranayama is the process to take charge of your prana. It is a very deep process and generally, it is transmitted by a master to the disciple.
These pranayamas are mainly inclined towards spirituality. However, there are some basic pranayamas that are available to everyone. If you do them regularly, you will notice a significant shift in your mental health. If you suffer from anxiety and depression, you must try Pranayama. It has the potential to make a phenomenal difference. So, here are some pranayamas you can practice
1) Nadi Shodhan or Anulom Vilom
Prana flows in our body through various energy channels known as Nadis. If there are blockages in nadis, then it can have severe effects on the flow of prana. This Pranayama is particularly good for opening up the blockages and ensuring a smooth flow of prana throughout our body.
Method: This is very simple. Sit crossed-legged with your spine comfortable and erect. First, exhale completely. Then, block your right nostril using the thumb and inhale slowly and fully. Then place your middle finger on the left nostril and repeat the same process. Try to do this for at least 3-4 minutes.
2) Bhramari pranayama
This one is particularly good if someone is going through stress, anxiety, or depression. It will relax your mind and will make you peaceful. This Pranayama is very simple too.
Method: sit cross-legged with spine comfortably erect. Then place your thumbs in your ear, index finger on the temple, and rest three-finger covering the eyes. Inhale slowly using both nostrils. Then exhale while making a bee-like humming sound. You can do it for 4-5 minutes.
3) Ujjayi Pranayama
This is yet another helpful Pranayam to fight with anxiety and other mental health-related issues. This Pranayama is helpful in reducing snoring during sleep.
Method: sit cross-legged with your spine comfortably erect. Keep breathing normally. Then bend
down the neck so as to block the free flow of energy. Then inhale while making a slight hissing house through your throat. Then cover your right nostril with the right thumb and exhale through the left nostril. This Pranayama too should be done for 4-5 minutes.
There are many more methods of pranayama. However, the pranayamas mentioned here are basic and easy to do. They mostly focus on dealing with anxiety, depression, and other mental health-related issues. Other popular pranayamas such as Kapal Bhati or bhastrika are intense in nature, hence requiring proper instructor and discipline.
Pranayamas should be taken seriously When you do it, you should commit to it. It has the power to transform lives if done properly. Try not to eat at least 2 hours before the practice. Also do it sincerely, and without making any changes. It will help you immensely with any kind of psychological suffering and will make you more balanced and peaceful. We hope that this article helped you get started with Pranayam. Now it is your turn to implement this in your life and make a difference.
Learn More About Pranayama
Light on Pranayama by B.K.S. Iyengar
We have created a pranayama playlist of pranayama videos on youtube to help you learn more about the practice.
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