Pranayama is control of Breath". "Prana" is Breath or vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life force, and "ayama" means control. So Pranayama is "Control of Breath
Pranayama comes from the following words:
- Prana - "life force" or "life energy"
- Yama - "discipline" or "control"
- Ayama - "expansion", "non-restraint", or "extension"
We breathe in or inhale oxygen into our body in a form of energy to charge our different body parts. Then we exhale carbon dioxide and toxic wastes from our body. Through the practice of Pranayama, the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide is attained. Absorbing prana through breath control links our body, mind, and spirit.
- Pranayama teaches us the proper way to breathe. We became used to breathing from our chest, using only a fraction of the lungs, not knowing that this unhealthy and unnatural way of inhaling may lead to several complications. With yoga breathing, we increase the capacity of our lungs, bringing more oxygen supply to the body to function well. We learn how to breathe slowly and deeply - the right way.
- Pranayama reduces the toxins and body wastes from within our body. It prevents one from acquiring diseases.
- Pranayama helps in one's digestion. With the proper way of breathing, one's metabolism and health condition will start to improve.
- Pranayama develops our concentration and focus. It fights away stress and relaxes the body. Controlling one's breathing also results to serenity and peace of mind.
- Pranayama offers a better self-control. Through concentration, one can better handle temper and reactions. Mind can function clearly, avoiding arguments and wrong decisions. Moreover, self-control also involves control over one's physical body.
- Pranayama leads to spiritual journey through a relaxed body and mind.
The Pranayama Exercises