Pranayama is the practice of intentionally breathing. It is a way to consciously control the breath for a specific purpose. For example, if you are feeling overheated, you can do a Pranayama with a cooling effect. Similarly, if you are cold, you can do a warming Pranayama.
A Pranayama practice or exercise helps to balance the flow of breath, energy, oxygen, and prana that moves into and out of the nostrils and to equalize the activity of the two hemispheres of the brain. Why do a Pranayama practice? Because there are so many benefits to it! Read on, and please consult a qualified practitioner about which form of Pranayama is best suited to you and your goals around health and wellness.
Calms an Agitated Mind
A few minutes of focused pranayama is helpful in calming an over-active and agitated mind. It is a wonderful way to balance excessive Vata dosha in the mind.
For those times when it is difficult to fall asleep, practice pranayama to bring about a “rest and relax” state, helping you to slow your heart rate and fall asleep more easily.
Great Preparation for Meditation
Pranayama can be practiced for a few minutes before beginning a meditation session to focus the mind.
A few rounds of pranayama is a quick pick-me-up if you are feeling tired or stressed. It provides your body with a much-needed dose of energy by bringing prana (life-force energy, aka Oxygen) into your circulatory system and circulating it to all of your cells.
Improves Brain Function
When your mind is dull, concentration and mental clarity are poor. Pranayama brings prana and oxygen into your body and distributes both to the brain at the same time for improved bilateral brain function. Five minutes of pranayama is a great way to improve cognitive performance.
Encourages a Calmer Emotional State
A few rounds of pranayama done at a time of emotional distress and upset lessens the intensity of the emotional state and helps facilitate a calmer mental state.
Facilitates Weight Loss
Studies are now showing what Ayurveda has been teaching for centuries: a regular pranayama practice is an essential component of helping to lose weight. Read this article to learn more.
Soothes your Nervous System
Engaging in pranayama triggers the parasympathetic nervous system’s relaxing influence.
Cleanses your Lungs
A daily five-minute practice, morning and night, of pranayama is a great way to remove stale air and impurities from your lungs and to utilize the entire capacity of your lungs. Seventy percent of the body’s waste products are eliminated via our lungs.