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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pranayama - Powerful Breathing Exercise

By Pradeep Mahajan

Prana in Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) is the universal principle of energy. It is all pervading and vital for life. It is found in all forms of life, in human beings, in animals & also in plant life.

Prana shines in our eyes. It is through prana that our ears hear, the eyes see, the nose smells & the brain functions. It is prana that does digestion, excretion and secretion.

Prana is spent by thinking, moving, talking, writing etc. A healthy man has abundance of prana or nerve-energy or vitality. The prana is supplied by food, water, air, solar energy etc. The supply of prana is taken up by the nervous system. The prana is absorbed by breathing. The excess of prana is stored in the brain and nerve centres.

Pranayama is a control of Prana and the vital forces of body. It is a regulation of breath. The aim of Pranayama is the control of breath.

Pranayama though it concerns with the breath, gives good exercise for the various internal organs and the whole body. Pranayama bestows good health and a steady mind.

How to do Pranayama?

Sit in a chair with chest, neck and head in one vertical line. Do not bend your body either forwards or backwards. You can sit in Padmasan or Siddhasan also. You must experience joy & pleasure in doing the same. You should not feel any undue strain. Always inhale & exhale slowly.

Whenever you feel uneasy, depressed or dejected practice pranayama. It is a sure way to feel refreshed.

1) Equal Breathing Pranayama:

Stand erect in a relaxed comfortable position, with feet apart. This practice can be done in a sitting position also. Inhale slowly and continuously in a relaxed manner to a count that is comfortable. (You can count silently in mind 1001, 1002 & 1003 etc. One can initially begin counting 1001 & 1002. Later, after practice one can go upto 1003 or more).

As soon as the inhalation is complete start exhalation in the same manner, keeping the same count as above i.e. equalize inhalation & exhalation.

Concentrate on the gentle uninterrupted long flow of the breath. Do this practice for 10 rounds.

2) Alternate Nostril Pranayama:

Sit in a comfortable position. Exhale fully. Close right nostril with your thumb and inhale slowly through your left nostril. Close left nostril with index finger and exhale through right nostril. Inhale through right nostril. Close the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. Continue this pattern for 10 rounds. For the next round start with the opposite nostril. (I.e. inhale through right nostril).
Benefits:

Appetite is improved. Energy level improves. Concentration improves. Mind becomes one pointed.

It is important to avoid stress in performing pranayama.

(Disclaimer: Consult your doctor before practising pranayama, if you are suffering from any heart ailment /high blood pressure or nervous disorders).