Breath Into Life With The Power of Pranayama Yoga
Deep dive inside the ocean called life.
Prana = Life energy or the cosmic energy, Ayama = control or method
The immensity of life:
Life is vast & mysterious, like an ocean, unfathomably large and deep. In fact, most of us are not able to comprehend it yet and so far unable to use it to our advantage. There are two ways essentially, to experience this ocean called life, you can either stand on the shore watching the beauty, which is still fantastic, or you can deep dive inside It and get involved & thrilled.
Most of the time, our experiences of the sea is from the outside, we love to be at the beach. who doesn’t like it??
Imagine yourself on the beach now, what is the first thing you see?
An unobstructed view of a vast horizon, endless it seems. So, pleasant to your eyes, Isn’t it?
What do you see next?
Those mighty blue waves, with small stripes of white in between, roaring & rushing, and hugging each other as they swirl ahead splashing themselves onto the lap of the mother shore.
The experience is enthralling and magnetic.
But, just think for a while, if it would be so engrossing and interesting, from the outside, then what happens if we go inside it? What exists underneath those roaring and rushing waves?
Would you know if you don’t take a plunge into it? If you do not immerse yourself in it?
This is exactly what is happening with life now. We are experiencing the beauty, here and there, in bits and pieces, from the outside, it is still amazing.
But, I bet you,
once you have got the taste of that enormous beauty down there, the beach life would look unexciting. You would just want to go back again and again, inside the deep sea.
This is same with life too if you turn inward, go deep within and explore the endless possibilities that life can offer, you will realize that the real beauty lies within , the answer to all your problem is hidden there. The outside world is just a manifestation of how you are from inside.
One important thing:
We must understand, is that we are all connected with the source, the divine source, GOD or universe, whichever way you name it, these connections are hidden deep within, which is unseen & immeasurable, but can be felt by using our perception. The life energy or cosmic energy is flowing continuously through these connections.
Stronger these connections are, better the quality of your life is. More life energy means more power to you. More success, more happiness, more joy and contentment and more magnetism to you.
You become a magnet that attracts only positive into life, cause the divine is guiding you now, protecting you, it is serving you with inexhaustible energy.
This is the key to an amazing life. Get closer to the source, open all the channels, many of which have been blocked, due to the sedentary way of living, or due to anxiety, dejection or demotivation.
What is life energy?
It’s the cosmic energy, which created everything, call it GOD, Divine, whatever you want to. It’s omnipresent, everywhere, right now as you are reading this, you are surrounded by it, you are inhaling it every time through your breath, you are submerged into it.
It’s the energy of creation, unfathomable, beyond any measure or definition, beyond normal perception & logic. The so-called logical mind fails here because logic is limited, it’s based on the information you have gathered from various sources, or what you have been told, or learned.
It can be felt, it can be experienced. It can be sensed through subtle senses.
We human beings are gifted with many amazing qualities, but unfortunately, the so-called modern education, which is heavily inclined to sharpen only the logical aspect of the mind, has completely ruined our abilities of extrasensory perception.
In ancient eastern philosophies, especially in Hinduism, there is a detailed explanation of several aspects of our mind. Every aspect of the mind has a different role to play, which can be used to uncover the secrets of life. The Sages or The Rishis of that time invented many amazing techniques for the same purpose.
Meditation, Yoga, etc were the outcomes of the same pursuit, the pursuit of understanding the very cosmic source, that our life is entangled with. The source of unlimited positivity and bliss, if touched can become transformational.
So, what is Pranayama?
Pranayama is a method through which you can control or manipulate life energy, by altering your breathing pattern in certain ways. Pranayama is considered as one of the most important limbs of Yoga out of 8 limbs of the yoga system.
Before we learn more on Pranayamas, let us get acquainted with a few important terms.
There is no equivalent word for Prana in English, but to make it simple we can call this vital energy or life force or the cosmic energy. It’s all-pervading, present in-universe in every part. The same thing is referred to as ‘Chi’ in Chinese.
There are 5 different types of Prana, these are known as Vayu. Vayu means air. Prana is associated with Vayu or Air elements. [More on-air element in the next section of this page]
Now, as I said there are 5 major Pranas. [There are 10 in total, but will discuss only 5 major ones.]
- Prana Vayu
- Apana Vayu
- Udana Vayu
- Vyana Vayu
- Samana Vayu
Every Vayu has different functions as per Ayurveda, say for an example Apana is responsible for the elementary system, it resides between the gut and the hip. If you want to know more, click here.
Nadis are channels through which the energy or prana flows. These are not to be confused with nerves, which are part of the physical body. They are subtle energy channels, cannot be seen through our eyes.
Pranayama is the method by which you can take charge of the Prana or the cosmic energies. Once you take charge of your Prana, you certainly feel empowered, confident and assured.
Before we proceed further, let me inform you that Pranayama is a huge subject, which requires lots of dedication, understanding and expert guidance. Here I will talk about only two, which are fairly easy but extremely beneficial and regular practice can have large benefits.
So, in brief, this page is for people who probably heard of Pranayama Yoga but knows very little or someone who is seeing it for the first time.
Now, there are many different ways to understand the importance of Pranayama:
In simple, Pranayama is breathing exercises that help to clear the energy obstacles in our body thus ensuring the free flow of prana or the life energy. If the prana flows unhindered, through nadis and energy centers(Chakras) then that person’s aura will be bright. His state of mind will be positive and enthusiastic.
But due to poor lifestyle, bad eating and miserable thoughts, our energy centers start getting blocked partially or even completely. Tensions, uncertainty, insecurities, and restlessness are the first few signs which show up in your mind, and then slowly they start getting manifested on your physical body in the shape of various diseases.
If I want to draw an analogy, Prana will be like electricity. Only if it flows uninterrupted through the wires, your gadgets at home will work fine. Lights at home will fluctuate or there will be darkness inside your house if there is a poor supply of electricity, either due to disconnected wire or probably some portion of the electrical system is not functioning completely.
Would the above situation be ideal?
Then why would you let your body-mind to be the same?
Importance of breath and 5 great elements:
Breath is the single most important and powerful factor in our lives, we cease to exist without it. This is the first and last activity of our life. We breathe even in our sleep.
So, it’s the air, one of the most important elements in the Pancha Bhoota concept in Vedic science. Pancha bhoota means five elements, which are Akash(Space), Vayu (Air), Agni (Fire), Jal (Water) and Prithvi (Earth).
It is the air element, which is associated with Prana, So, prana can be controlled and modified through breathing.
Breathe the great storyteller:
Our breath is a great storyteller. Your way of breathing can reveal if you are anxious or calm, sad or happy, worried or relaxed, etc . Every moment our mental state determines the pattern of our breathing, and it happens unconsciously most of the time, without we being aware of this fact.
But, if we are aware, controlling the breath becomes easy. We can manipulate and produce more positive results for ourselves.
How old is this yogic breathing system?
No one really knows. But, there are mentions of yoga, meditations in the Indus valley civilizations as per the findings from different archeological studies. Modern archeological studies have proved the civilization to be at least 8000 [Might be much older than this] years old, and Hinduism as the oldest philosophical concept or traditions which are still existing.
How many different types of Pranayamas are there??
There are many different Pranayama’s just like different yoga poses, many of them obviously lost due to various reasons. But, there are still many which are widely followed.
Few important of them are,
- Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean Breath)
- dirga pranayama (3-part breath)
- Kapalbhati (Skull Shining Breath)
For this post, I will keep it at only 2 as I said earlier.
Please note, the purpose of this website is not to bring any spiritual revolution in your life. The purpose is to reduce negative thoughts, remove any unnecessary distraction, and keep you super focused on your goal. The idea here is to practice anything that raises the energy level and the positive feelings so that the Law of Attraction gets accelerated for you.
A strong positive aura will attract only positive things in life.
This is the main objective of this website. How to manifest what you want?
If you want to go deeper, then I strongly recommend you to learn from an expert yoga teacher. Do not try any advanced breathing techniques by yourself.
Benefits of Pranayama:
- Pranayama offers amazing benefits for overall health and powers your immunity. Find here a scholarly article on Pranayama, on how this can help you to cure hypertension, insomnia, phobias and post-traumatic disorders. Scientific studies also have shown how it can be beneficial in conditions like IBS, Asthma, bipolar disorders, chronic fatigue, neck and back pain, cancer, diabetes, etc.
- Pranayama can detoxify our brain and body.
- It unifies our mind and body, improves memory and enhances one’s perception about life.
- Pranayama induces ourselves with an endless amount of energy, increases life force.
- Pranayama improves the functioning of autonomic functions which includes respiration, cardiac activities. The autonomic system consists of sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for fight or flight responses, like in the situation of real danger, your breathing becomes faster and then the Parasympathetic system helps you to calm down after the danger has passed.
So, an important point to note is that breath is the one thing that is affected by the Parasympathetic system. So, the process can be reversed, you can deliberately breathe in to keep yourself calm all the time.
- Pranayama helps reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and restlessness and creates calm and serene feelings thereby improves the quality of sleep. Better sleep and less distraction help creating a focused and well thinking mind.
- Pranayama can induce the theta like state which is associated with meditation. So, these yogic breathing exercises can create perfect conditions for deep meditations.
Impact of ineffective breathing:
Ineffective breathing is a common problem in the modern world. To aggravate the situations further, we have long periods of sitting, that too in poor postures. Shallow breathing or chest breathing is what we do most of the time, the air mostly enters our upper chest, very little to lower chest, which causes lack of air supply to the blood vessels, in turn, stresses the nervous system.
Let’s start Pranayama now,
Here are the 2 Pranayama yoga for beginners (I have been doing only these two for some time now):
Bhastrika Pranayama (The Bellows Breath):
- It refreshes your body and mind.
- Improves blood circulation, beneficial for lungs and heart.
- The digestive function gets stimulated, improving metabolism.
- Fat breakdown gets faster. It also awakens the solar plexus.
In ancient times, yogis called it “The yoga breathing of fire”.
Steps of Bhastrika Pranayama:
Sit on the Padmasana (Lotus Pose) with an eye closed. Take a deep breath in (inhale), fill the lungs with air, as much as possible, but comfortably. Now breathe out.
Time taken for inhalations and exhalations should be the same. An excellent tutorial here.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing Practices):
Nadi = Subtle channels of energy. Shodhana = Cleaning or Purifying.
So, in this method, you unblock the energy pathways and awaken the energy centers or chakras. Here is an excellent tutorial for the same.
Benefits of NadiShodhan:
- This cures any mental diseases like tension, anxiety, nervousness, feelings of inferiority, depression, etc.
- It improves breathing and creates an amazing amount of calmness around you.
- Cures any breathing-related diseases.
- Balances the energy system in our body & mind.
- It invigorates you with an endless amount of energy.
Yes, there are a few things you should keep in mind. If you have gone through any major surgery for heart, kidney, etc., please give at least 6 months of gap. If you have any ailment in any of your internal organs, then you must avoid it.
If you have a hernia, high blood pressure, or cough and cold, etc, then you should be very slow and careful while doing it. It’s always advisable to consult a good yoga teacher. Otherwise, if you are generally healthy, you can do at least the above-mentioned pranayamas.
Make sure you are calm and the environment is clean and distraction-free.
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