When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.
The word ‘Pranayama’ is derived from two words - ‘Prana,’ which means life force or breath, and ‘ayama,’ which means control. Thus, Pranayama is control of the breath. In the Yogic Philosophy, it is believed that we are all born with a fixed number of breaths. Thus, a function of pranayama is conserving this vital life force. The breath is regarded as a messenger of all that is going on within. Thus, control of the breath is regarded as control over oneself. And with awareness and self-control comes liberation. The breath is regarded as a messenger. The quality of your breath can tell you a lot about your health, both physical as well as psychological. The breath is also often the first to get affected when one is going through turmoil. The gasps and sighs, and all other functions of breath tell us something important about our inner state. There are many kinds of meditation. Some examples of the techniques involved in meditation are - reflection, mindfulness, concentration and chanting. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. Meditation requires discipline and dedication. It is also important to honour the state of mind of is in, and choose a meditation that is best suited.
Below are some commonly practiced Pranayama techniques - Kapalbhati - This is an energising breathing technique, great for mental clarity, building focus and concentration and cleansing of toxins. Bhastrika - Bhastrika reduces excess fats, cleanses toxins, regulates the nervous system and purifies blood. Anulom Vilom - Anulom Vilom is a balancing breath. It stimulates the thyroid gland, and is great for the respiratory and circulatory systems. It also eases anxiety. Sheetali and Sitkari are cooling breaths. Brahmari - Great for the throat Chakra, this breathing technique strengthens the vocal cords and clears up voice. It also reduces stress and has a calming effect.
Pranayama leads to immense psychological calm. There are many physical benefits to the practice of pranayama as well. Some of the benefits of Pranayama are -
1. Reduction of anxiety, stress, depression
2. Improved respiration
3. Improved circulation
4. High energy
5. Improved functioning of all bodily systems
6. Cleansing of toxins
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