Pranayama is the fourth limb of the spiritual Ashtanga yoga practice. Pranayama contain two words pran and ayam, “pran” means breath or life force or Energy and “ayama” means to extend or draw out . Thus, relaxes the body.
Stages of Pranayama
• Puraka (inhalation)
• Rechaka (exhalation)
• Kumbhaka (pause between puraka and rechaka)
• Abhyantara kumbhaka
• Bahya Kumbhaka
Precautions and Instruction for Pranayama
- Best time for pranayama is at morning before breakfast, when bowels and bladder is empty.
- Second most conductive time is early evening, around sunset. But practitioner should consume solid food 3.5 hours and liquid 1 hour before practicing. If practitioner is starving and want to practice, any fruit or juice will be fine for nourishment.
- Place for pranayama should be in fresh air, quiet, clean and away from disturbances. It should not do in direct sunlight, cold wind and insect.
Always breath by nose unless specified. If there is any trouble in breathing by nose, go for jalneti.
- There are no age limits for the practice of pranayama, it is fully depending on ability of practitioner.
- During pranayama, eyes should be closed to control the mind and body.
- Do not drink water, during practice time.
- Initially practice should be done slowly, with all precautions. Initially start from 3-5 mins and then increased gradually with patience day by day. Don’t overstrain.
- Never practice under the influence of alcohol or any sedative type of drugs.
- If practitioner feel tired during practice, then stop, take some rest, with long normal breaths or perform shavasana for 10-15 minutes, then resume.
- Pranayama should not be practiced when the lungs are congested.
- Pranayama should not be practiced on bare floor but keep mat or carpet below.
- Those who can’t sit on ground, can perform pranayama by sitting on chair because pranayama is related to the breath.
- Practitioner Should Wear loose comfortable, clean yoga clothing.
- Practitioner should not ware heavy ornaments by that practice should be smooth comfortable and satisfying.
- Patients of chronic diseases, blood pressure, heart patients, pregnant women should strictly practice pranayama in guidance of experienced yoga teacher.
- To get complete benefits of pranayama, practitioner should take milk, fresh fruits and vegetables (satwik aahar) in meal.
- Important thing is that while doing the Pranayama always be connected to all the positive energies of the universe and smile should be on face.
Contraindication of Pranayama
- Low blood pressure
- Psychological condition anxiety, depression or suicidal feelings.
- Menstrual period
- Heart condition with recent history of heart attack.
Benefits of Pranayama
- Pranayama gives benefits for both mind and body.
- Pranayama improve circulation, respiration, nervous, digestion, endocrine system.
- It helps to relive from asthma, heart disease, obesity and many other chronic diseases. Thus, pranayama act as a diseases destructor.
- Pranayama helps for lungs expansion and improves its efficiency.
- Pranayama calms the mind, helps to decrease stress, anxiety, dullness, lethargy and tension.
- Pranayama increased energy levels, concentration and stability of mind.
- Regular practice of pranayama control ageing, can extend life.
- Brings harmony between the body, mind, and spirit. Make them strong.
- It helps to expands aura, purifies the shatchakra and to awake kundalini shakti.