Pranayama - Yoga Breathing
Breathing exercise which is also known as Pranayama is one of the five basic principles of yoga. This exercise has been a vital factor in the yoga practice since Yogis realized the importance of adequate oxygen supply to the body. Thus they have developed various breathing techniques which help vitalize breathing and control one breath. This science of breathe control consist of a series of exercises intended to ensure proper breathing so as to bring more oxygen to the blood and to the brain. Similarly it is used to control prana which is also known as the vital life energy.
One major importance of breathing in yoga is that it is said to enhance and empower the inner being and it is much important during a Hatha practice. This is perceived as becoming victorious or gaining mastery. It is learnt by constricting the back of the throat making an audible breathe that is often compared to the sound of the ocean. Ensure the breath flows through the nostrils while the lips remain gently closed. In practices like Vinyasa yoga, pranayama is much emphasized to link the movement with the breath.
Similarly breathing exercise in yoga is important for they improve the concentration while doing the physical exercises. Becoming absorbed in Ujjayi (breathing exercise) allows the practitioner to gain attention and retain a pose for longer periods of time.
To add onto that, breathing instills endurance and perseverance that will enhance a flowing practice by maintaining meditative quality which maintains the rhythm of the class.
Breathing will also aid in ensuring maximum concentration. This is by diminishing any forms of distractions allowing the practitioner to maintain self awareness and help them to remain grounded in the practice without losing focus or getting carried away.
Another major importance of Ujjayi breath is that it helps in regulating the body’s temperature and heating system of the body. It acts as a massage for the internal organs as the breath passes through the lungs and throat thus generating heat in the internal body. This makes the core to become warm from inside which provides more strength making the body ready for the asana. Similarly this heat is said to make the inner body organs safe for stretching while cleansing any accumulating toxins.
It has also been proved that a focused ujjayi breath can successfully release tension and relieve tight areas of the body. A stressed mind cannot effectively coordinate the body’s movements, thus it is advisable to breathe properly until the brain is released off its tension then engage in physical practice when the brain has regained maximum attention.
Similarly well practiced breathing will diminish pain from the head. It reliefs sinus pressure, decrease in phlegm and strengthen the nervous and digestive systems.
Appropriate breathing when tackled with a physical practice will also enable one to maintain calm when faced with a real life challenge. Thus breathing practice assists one to gain hold of his temper, relax and clear your mind which controls your body and mind effectively no matter how tense the situation may be.
Similarly proper breathing will increase the sense of integrity and wholeness of the body. This will be achieved by connecting the body and spirit which are essential for the entire body health. Breathing will assist us in enlivening the tissues with sensation. This provides vitality and renewed power to the body even in cases where one is worn out.
Finally, if you listen to your breath it can be your teacher; controlling you in a myriad of ways. There is a major connection between the breath and the mind and when the breath is properly control it can be used to discern where the mind can’t.