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Pranayamas

Pranayamas

Pranayama is the conscious and deliberate control and regulation of the breath (Prana means breath, ayam means to control, to regulate). With each breath we absorb not only oxygen, but also Prana. Prana is cosmic energy, the power in the Universe that creates, preserves and changes. It is the basic element of life and consciousness. Prana is also found in food, therefore it is very important to have a healthy and wholesome vegetarian diet.

The conscious guidance of Prana in the body gives rise to an increase in vitality, physical detoxification and improved immunity, as well as the attainment of inner peace, relaxation and mental clarity.

In mythology it is said that the length of a person's life is predetermined by the number of breaths. The Yogi tries to “conserve time” and lengthen life by slowing down the breath  [1].

Effects of Pranayamas

Physical Effects

  • Preservation of the body’s health

  • Purification of the blood

  • Improvement in the absorption of oxygen

  • Strengthening the lungs and heart

  • Regulation of blood pressure

  • Regulation of the nervous system

  • Supporting the healing process and healing therapies

  • Increasing resistance to infection

Mental Effects

  • Elimination of stress, nervousness and depression

  • Quietening of thoughts and emotions

  • Inner balance

  • Release of energy blockages

Spiritual Effects

  • Deepening of meditation

  • Awakening and purification of the Chakras (energy centres)

  • Expansion of consciousness


[1]  

One exception is the technique of Bhastrika Pranayama (Level 5). In this Pranayama one does breathe more rapidly during the practice, however, after that the breathing becomes slower and deeper.