For yoga followers, pranayama is a very familiar term. However, in reality, not everyone really understands what pranayama is.
Pranayama is a breathing control and regulation technique that is very beneficial for physical and mental health. In yoga, pranayama can be combined with the performance of movements and meditation to bring many benefits to the body. However, the pranayama exercises themselves can also be very beneficial. Let’s see the sharing below with easyhealthylive.com to better understand what pranayama is.
What is Pranayama?
In yoga, pranayama is understood as a technique of controlling the breath, but this interpretation does not fully express the original meaning of the word pranayama. In Sanskrit, “prana” means life energy, and “yama” means control. So pranayama means a method that controls the energy of life so that people can go beyond their own limits and gain a stronger vitality.
Pranayama is also not deep breathing. Deep breathing strains the muscles of the face, causes the skull and scalp to stiffen, tightens the ribcage, and puts pressure on inhalation and exhalation. This makes it difficult for the fibers of the lungs and chest, which interferes with purification throughout the body. Meanwhile, when practicing pranayama, the brain cells and facial muscles stay in place and relax, the inhalation and exhalation take place smoothly. During inhalation, every molecule, every muscle fiber, every cell of the body is independently sensed by consciousness.
The goal of pranayama is to connect body and mind. Not only that, pranayama also works to increase oxygen to the body, and at the same time remove toxins. Pranayama will include various exercises such as:
- Alternate Breathing – Nadi Shodhana
- Ocean Breath or Victory Breath – Ujjayi
- Bhramari . – Bhramari
- Breathe – Liberika
You can do these breathing exercises in many ways. For example, you can practice or after doing yoga movements. Or you can also practice while meditating.
7 scientifically proven benefits of pranayama
According to scientific studies, pranayama can bring the following 7 health benefits:
1. Stress relief
The results of a 2013 study showed that pranayama can reduce stress levels in healthy adults. The reason for this result is speculated by the researchers to be that pranayama has a calming effect on the nervous system and increases oxygen intake during exercise. Oxygen is energy for vital organs, including the brain and nerves.
Practicing pranayama improves sleep quality
2. Improve sleep quality
The stress-reducing effects of pranayama can help you sleep more soundly and deeply. In clinical studies, the Bhramari pranayama technique has been shown to slow breathing and heart rate when practiced for 5 minutes. This helps calm your body down so you can fall asleep more easily.
A 2019 study also found that pranayama may help improve sleep quality in people with obstructive sleep apnea. In addition, research also shows that this technique can reduce feelings of daytime sleepiness.
3. Raise awareness of the breath
For many of us, breathing is a natural instinct of the body. We will breathe on our own without thinking much. Pranayama exercises will help you become aware of the breath and feel it. You will also focus more attention on the present, rather than the past or the future.
In a 2017 study, meditators who practiced pranayama had better emotional regulation than those who didn’t. This is because pranayama exercises can help remove carbon dioxide and increase oxygen levels to provide more energy to brain cells. This can contribute to improved and enhanced concentration.
4. Blood pressure regulation
High blood pressure can increase your risk of serious complications like heart disease and stroke.
Stress is a major cause of high blood pressure. Pranayama can regulate blood pressure by relaxing the body.
A 2014 study divided people with mild hypertension into 2 groups, one taking antihypertensive medication for 6 weeks, the other group taking the drug while doing pranayama for 6 weeks. Results after 6 weeks showed that the second group had a greater reduction in blood pressure. The reason for this result is explained by the author that focusing on the breath can calm the nervous system. This helps reduce the stress response and the risk of high blood pressure.
5. Improve lung function
Pranayama is an exercise that can strengthen the function of the lungs
Pranayama is an exercise that can strengthen the function of the lungs. A 2019 study confirmed that doing pranayama for 1 hour a day for 6 weeks can have a significant impact on lung function. Not only that, this technique also helps to treat many lung-related diseases such as:
- Allergic bronchitis
- Pneumonia and tuberculosis
6. Enhance brain function
In addition to being beneficial for the lungs, pranayama also enhances brain function. A 2013 study showed that doing pranayama for 12 weeks can improve memory, flexibility, and reasoning skills. In addition, research also shows that pranayama increases motor performance of the senses by providing more energy to brain cells.
7. Support smoking cessation
There is evidence that pranayama can reduce feelings of addiction in people who are quitting smoking. In a 2012 study, just 10 minutes of pranayama helped reduce cravings for cigarettes in the short term. Not only that, some studies also show that pranayama also helps reduce the negative effects related to smoking cessation.
Through the above sharing, you probably have the answer to the question of what pranayama is, right? Pranayama is an important part of yoga, and the exercise is often combined with performing movements and meditating during sessions. The benefits of pranayama have been proven through research. If you want to try pranayama but don’t know where to start, you can join a yoga class or download easyhealthylive.com and connect with our yoga teacher for detailed instructions on breathing exercises this.
7 Science-Backed Benefits of Pranayama https://www.healthline.com/health/pranayama-benefits Accessed: September 20, 2020
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.