As the body cannot exist without a heart as Yoga cannot be without Pranayama, which is its fourth stage.
Pranayama is the regulation of exhaling and inhaling using retention.
The word Pranayama consists of prana and ayama. ‘Prana’ is a self-moving force, which presents in each particle of a living being permeating all levels of the Universe.
‘Prana’ can be considered as the energy that supplies every creation in the Universe, giving it vitality. ‘Ayama’ means extension, expansion, spreading, length, breadth, regulation, curbing, controlling. When this self-moving force extends and expands and is controlled, the Pranayama has carried out.
Pranayama is a rich heritage which left for us by the ancient yogis. Through the pranayama practice we learn how to use energy properly. It let us to have a high level of the body health, including respiratory, nervous, circulatory, digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems.
During of Pranayama practice the incoming air is cleaned and moistened by the nasal mucosa and it flows into the lungs, where the Prana had been absorbed and distributed to the circulatory system. This saturated-with-prana blood is called an “element, full of pearls” or “pearl of blood” (ratna Purità dhatu).
Every time we exhale absorbing the life energy, we provide perfect health to ourselves, harmony of spirit and clarity of mind, which guaranty the long and happy life. That is why Pranayama is a great science and art.
Mastering the art of breathing (pranayama) helps to dissipate misconceptions, which come from ignorance, desires and illusions, clouding the mind. Thanks to pranayama, the inner light of wisdom inflames and shines in its entirety.
• apanasati pranayama;
• bhastrika pranayama;
• nadi shodhana pranayama;
• surya bhedana pranayama;
• chandra bhedana pranayama;
• ujjayi pranayama;
• other less common types of pranayama.
Practicing pranayama you need to remember that we learn to regulate the life force (prana) by breathing. We could use it right and get a positive effect, and we could harm ourselves by the incorrect practice.
To practice pranayama effectively and safely you should know accident prevention:
1. You need to calm down, slow the breath down and free your mind before training.
2. Pranayama poses. The asana, which selected for pranayama practice, should be comfortable to sit in it long enough without pose changes. The best asanas for pranayama practice are Siddhasana and Padmasana.
3. The spine should be upright, allowing free flow of energy in the body.
4. The absence of strain during the regulation of the inspiration, expiration and retention. If you feel discomfort, it is better to reduce the time interval of every phase.
5. Control the heart rhythm attentively, preventing the halting, feeling the strain
6. Perform Pranayama after hatha yoga asanas practice, when the body is relaxed and ready.
7. Do not eat 1.5 hours before pranayama at least (or even better before 2-3 hours)
8. After Pranayama it’s better to practice shavasana (relaxing pose on the back).
Follow these simple recommendations you’ll protect yourself from unpleasant side effects and will gain all the regular pranayama practice positive aspects.