The act of breathing is an automatic mechanism of the human body. This is the most fundamental truth that we experience every second. Most people take it for granted and do it without really experiencing it. All form of meditation in Eastern culture stems from one concept - paying a profound attention to your breath.
Controlling the process of breathing consciously can lead to a number of benefits to the body and mind. For example, Athletes - The way they control their breathing enables them to increase the lung capacity, thus providing them with that extra boost of energy during intense physical effort.
The word Pranayama is made of two words - "Prana" and "Ayama". “Prana” means breath of life force, the vital energy of the body. “Ayama” means controlling the breath in such a way that benefits the body and mind.
"Pranayama" is the Yoga's art of controlling the breath, up to the point that you turn every breath into immense energy generating function within your body. It is the fourth limb of the eight limbs of Yoga.
Inhale. Let the oxygen flow in and occupy every inch of your chest. Relax. Exhale and release all your worries and stress.
Breathing consciously with intentional awareness is very different from just breathing. "Pranayama" techniques will teach you how to fully connect your thoughts with breathing in order to induce a sense of well-being and relief. There are several types of Pranayama, according to various types of breathing. Some examples are:
Pranayama is an excellent method to control the daily stress. For example, when you are stressed, the body reacts to danger by increasing the breathing ratio. The breathing becomes accelerated and shallow, one of the most common signs that you are anxious. The blood pressure increases and hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine are produced.
Pranayama can help you reverse the symptoms by means of deep breathing. The nervous system is activated when you breathe slowly, deeply and helps you slow down the heart rate, thus generating an instant calming effect. Diffusing emotional energy is another benefit of Pranayama.
Breathing exercises featured by the Pranayama require a keen understanding of the breathing process and should ideally be supervised (in case you are a beginner yogi). Pranayama practice will enable you effectively control the pranas, resulting in a perfect balance between mind and body.
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