Understand Pranayama Better

Pranayama is the practice of controlling the breath in order to gain a stable and balanced inner self.  Read on to find out how this breathing technique can help attain a healthy mind and body.

Pranayama is a breathing excercise that helps to get rid of stress and finally achieve true bliss in ourlives.Regularpractice of Pranayama works on the mind, intellect and deeper state of awareness. This technique helps to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to monitor the activities of the body when in a state of rest.

It is a myth that during Pranayama we tend to take in more oxygen and thus increase the capacity of our lungs. What actually happens is that the quality of carbon dioxide increases during Pranayama. This is done through a double exhalation process. During this process, the internal organs of the body are seen to crave for more oxygen and that does not happen during Pranayama. Thus, this yoga technique is the doorway into the internal universe of the mind and body by withdrawing the senses inwards.

Initially, Pranayama may seem like a physical practice as it can result in aches and pains on the upper back and on the chest. This is especially while doing Bhastrika, an excellent breathing exercise in Pranayamathat can be practiced slowly or quickly according to convenience. This leads to the rapid expansion of the diaphragm, which starts to tap on the muscles of the body that remained idle for a long time. This may also lead toan initial dizziness because of the expansion and contraction in the diaphragm and the brain as well. This further leads to emptying of all the emotions playing in our mind and body like fear, anxiety, tension. Conversly, these tend to affect breathing and the diaphragm movement at a conscious and unconscious level.

Different emotions cause contraction of the diaphragm. So working with the diaphragm during a Pranayama session helps to release all built-in tensions in the body. This is the beginning of the practice of Pranayama, which prepares one for internal practices like meditation and samadhi.  Eventually, thesenses starts withdrawing from outside objects.

In NadiShodhana, the energy channels or Nadis are purified. Therby, opposing energies in our body are united. A first timer may experience anxiety and drowsiness while practising NadiShodhana.This usually happens when it is practised without full awareness, or a without a Satvik mind. If the mind is filled with impurities, there will be an obstruction in the flow of prana. When practised with full awareness, it helps to withdraw the senses and the practise becomes very pleasent. It thus helps to tap into one’s internal universe.

Pranayama is also a case of extreme Tapas.  Many times, deep emotions or sanskaras are brought to the surface during this practice.  When practicing Pranayama our fake selves are broken and we tend to dig deeper within ourselves. In this process, many things surfaces. Fears, anxieties and tension are specifically targeted in Pranayama due to the working with the diaphragm.  With time, love and  patience, these sensations become less intense and they are let free and loose. Once a friendly bond is developed with the sanskaras, they release and drift away.  So emotions are let loose and our thoughts are silenced. Both the positive as well as negative thoughts are silenced.  What will be left are feelings of bliss like love, compassion, freedom.

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