Pranayama means the expansion of energy. It is one of the eight limbs of yoga. Breath is vital energy we can not live without breathing but few of us know how to breath well.
There are several methods of pranayama with specific benefits but regardless of technique used, the process of pranayama brings profound wellbeing to the mind, body and soul.
“Prana is the driving force of all the functions of the body”,
The roots of all disease and mental imbalance can be traced to abnormalities and deficiencies in the body’s energy flow. pranayama is a powerful tool to heal illness and correct mental imbalances – the control of breathing is the most direct method to affect life force.
Pranayama can be divided into four sections
Inhalation. – Puraka
Breath retention. – Kumbhak
Hypoxia holding air out of the lungs – Bharya kumbhak
Exhalation. – Recak
Physically, inhalation and exhalation develops muscle, massages the abdominal organs and exercises the lungs. Strengthens the diaphragm and increases pulmonary function and regulates the autonomic nervous system.
Our normal depth of breathing only exchanges around 20% of the lung’s capacity per cycle. Holding lungs filled with oxygen enables the more efficient transfer of oxygen into the bloodstream, bringing the positive effects that oxygen enriched blood has on so many aspects of health.
Holding the breath on exhalation deprives the body of oxygen. Studies have found that when the brain is deprived momentarily of oxygen, new neural pathways are opened in the brain to compensate for the shortage. The result is improved memory retention and neural response.
The Benefits of Pranayama are: –
Weight loss. Skin health
Cardiovascular health Lung, nasal and sinus health
Digestive health Detoxification
Immune system function Concentration
Memory loss Stress reduction
Sleep disorders Orientation of the mind (determination, focus)
Brain Disorders Anxiety, Depression
The Science: Facts and figures. Further reading……
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4842467/ The effects of breathing with mainly inspiration or expiration on pulmonary function and chest expansion