Pranayama means the regulation of the breath through certain techniques and exercises practised in Yoga. Breathing is one thing all of us do and it is only natural for us not to pay any particular attention to this process, which we never usually do right as well, our entire lives! We breathe in and out about 20,000 times each day and if done right, it can improve one’s mental and physical well-being.
Oxygen for Optimum performance
For a moment, let us imagine the human body as a functional unit. As like any other functional unit or machine, the body also requires an input to fuel its output. When it comes to the human body, the primary inputs are food and air and it is most important that these ‘intakes’ are done right for the best possible functioning of our body. Just like a car’s engine which requires the right amount of air supplied for optimum performance, a human body also needs the right quantity of oxygen, for the optimum performance.
Why is it important?
The blood supplies oxygen to every body cell. Being supplied with enough oxygen replenishes our brain, vital organs and every cell in the body. If one isn’t breathing right, the blood wouldn’t have the required supply of oxygen to meet the body’s demand. If the body cells are deprived of Oxygen, it could potentially result in a lot of problems, the skin suffers, muscles tire faster and the carbon dioxide levels in the blood are also affected, just to mention a few of those. In truth, every living cell of the body suffers in its own way due to the poor oxygen supply.
Ayurveda, deep breathing and detox
The Ayurveda urges one to develop the habit of deep breathing. The right breathing is what is named as Pranayama. It is a respiratory exercise and an exemplary technique to improve one’s physical health and augment mental health and is useful for health maintenance and disease management. Pranayama has got high regards as a supportive therapy in treating respiratory diseases, hypertension, insomnia, general fatigue, psychological imbalances like anxiety, stress etc. Also, Pranayama strengthens the nervous system. The Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita describes in detail about the importance of “Prana” in health and ailments.
A better mind-body balance
The development of this habit ensures longevity and also brings on the ideal mind-body balance. Getting the right amount of oxygen also facilitates detox, as the oxygen helps flush out the toxins produced in the body. Slow, deep breaths that go to the pit or bottom of your stomach, extend the lungs beyond the rib cage thereby filling the larger portions of the lungs making more oxygen available to the body.
To alter one’s current breathing mechanism for the better, initially one would have to forcefully take longer breaths, but soon, it would happen naturally, without us even noticing! Most of us would have already noticed deep breathing, while watching someone in a deep sleep. That is the way to go. A great life is only a good breath away. Start now!