Pranayama – Introduction, Steps and Benefits
Introduction to Pranayama
Pranayama is one of the most talked-about subjects of yogic science. Something as basic as breathing can give a healthy turn to your life. Thousands of years ago, yoga originated in India, but today the whole world is embracing it to seize the health benefits it delivers. Yoga is a natural remedy and pranayama plays an important part in it. Pranayama is one of the most effective methods known to improve your health, and the best part is, it even has scientifically proven positive effects in improving your immune system and your innate disease management system. But before we dive into what you have come for, let’s make it more interesting by seeing what it is and how does it work.
3 Steps of Pranayama
Pranayama can be divided into three components. It includes Puraka (inhalation), Kumbhaka (retention), and Recaka (exhalation). It is a simple breathing, but only you have to pay a lot more attention to the process. Start with slow and deep inhalation, this will improve the amount of oxygen your body intakes. Next, your body will retain the inhaled oxygen and activates the internal system to acquire it. And finally, exhale the carbon-di-oxide.
Benefits of Pranayama Yoga
This simple process helps you improve the quality of oxygen your body uses to perform well. Here are some health benefits of it:
1. Cardiovascular system
Pranayama helps you increase the blood circulation and ability of blood to store oxygen. This way, your cardiovascular function is not just improving its efficiency but is also sharing the goodness of increased oxygen in blood with various parts.
2. Chide Away Hypertension
In a paper published in NIH (Effect of Pranayama on Stress and Cardiovascular Autonomic Function, 2011) interesting results were drawn in an experimentative study of 27 males and 32 females. The study followed 2 months of 1 hour per day practice of pranayama, 5 days per week, and stress questionnaire. It was found out that the parasympathetic output to the heart increased and the LF/ HF ratio dropped down significantly after 2 months.
Pranayama allows your body to relax and frees you from the stress and tension which slowly and steadily brings down hypertension.
3. Improves Lung Function
Breathing allows your body to acquire oxygen to function and remove the carbon-di-oxide from your body. This is one of the most important benefits of pranayama, as it not just allows more oxygen into your body, but practicing it will get your lung function properly as the quality of air improves. If you have Asthma, give pranayama a shot and you will start witnessing positive health signs.
4. Treats Depression
Anxiety and depression have become a common problem in people. Our life has become stressful and honestly, we are only adding up to damages by pursuing a non-healthy lifestyle. Pranayama can be your first step to improve your mental strength. Practicing pranayama can help you fight depression and anxiety.
5. Weight Loss
If you have been working out to reduce weight, pranayama can help you improve results. Since it improves your overall internal organ functioning, and also the efficiency of using oxygen, it adds to a better reduction in body weight.
Our body makes free radicals all the time in our body, but if we don’t remove it, it accumulates. Among many methods of Yoga, Pranayama is one of those practices that will help you remove toxins from your body.
7. Improves your Immune System
Immunity is important for us to fight diseases in our body. A lot of people have lower levels of immunity. But we must not forget, white blood cells are present in our blood that qualify to attack the foreign bodies that cause us to get sick. Once the quality of breathing improves, our blood quality improves and so, does our immunity system.
8. Cures Digestive Problems
With a weaker digestive system, your body is not able to process the food well, and thus, lesser nutrients are retained from it. There are a lot of people that complain about alleviating digestive problems. Also, bloating. To avoid that from happening to you, or to improve your digestive system, practice pranayama daily.
9. Fight Sinusitis
Sinusitis is a common problem in people, and it is painful to live with it. But did you know you can treat it and avoid it from getting worse just, by the way, your breath? Pranayama can help you fight sinusitis, start with basic pranayama and proceed to advanced level of it known as Bhastrika. It is one of the best options available for treating and preventing it. Also, for people who are already suffering from sinusitis, pranayama will help in keeping your nasal passage clear for improved breathing and you can say goodbye to a stuffy nose.
10. Improves Mental Concentration
The benefit of pranayama for the brain is tremendous. The brain is the no.1 contender when it comes to using the most of the oxygen you take all day. An increased amount of oxygen in the blood can help you increase your concentration. Plus, pranayama is meditative and thus leaves you with sharper, and more focused brain functioning.
11. Improved Skin Health
Our skin is the window by which you can make out whether you are following a healthy lifestyle or not. For anything that goes inside your body, your skin gives you major signs. The dullness in the skin, the acne breakout, wrinkles, these and other signs it is giving you are all alarms that something has gone wrong inside. But since pranayama is improving almost all major body systems, you will start noticing younger and healthier skin.