What Is Pranayama: Facts And Benefits Of Supreme Tapas
Pranayama is the practice of regulating the breath in order to gain the steadiness of the mind. Prana means life force, and Ayama represents extension or expansion. So through this practice, we are expanding this energy throughout our body. This deep practice works on our mind, intellect, and deeper states of awareness. During the practice of Pranayama, we work with our Para-sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for activities while the body is at rest and can help to neutralize the negative effects of “fight or flight” overactivity. We offer various Pranayama Teacher Training Courses depending on the practice and intensity of the program.
Facts And Effects Of Pranayama Practice On Body & Mind
Many people relate Pranayama to a breathing exercise or a physical practice to increase lung capacity. According to the Yoga Sutras, Pranayama should not be looked at as a physical exercise but as a psychological one. It may seem like we are increasing the amount of air in our lungs. Still, in reality, we are reducing the amount of oxygen we take into the lungs and increasing the quality of Carbon Dioxide. We do this through a specific breathing technique, inhaling for one count and exhaling in double time. During the practice, our internal organs crave more oxygen, and we are telling them no. I am practicing Pranayam. A signal is sent to the front part of the brain; this is where you decide and learn to control the breath, making it more steady and long. One example of Pranayama is Bhastrika. During the first part of this practice, there is a rapid inhalation and exhalation, resulting in expansion and contraction of the diaphragm. We may feel pain in the chest and upper back during this stage as we start waking up dormant muscles. This expansion and contraction of the semi-voluntary muscle have a very powerful effect on the brain.
So many external things influence the breath and then the mind on the conscious and unconscious levels. Fear, anxiety, and tension all-cause direct contraction of the diaphragm, breath, body, and then our mind. So when we sit up straight and expand the diaphragm, this will lead to expansion of the body and mind. When we begin to work with the diaphragm, then all this tension that is stored on an emotional level begins to empty. Releasing all that is not needed inside us and preparing us to withdraw the senses and turn all awareness inwards. Another example is Nadi Shodhana. Through this alternative nostril breathing practice, we seek to purify the Nadis and energy channels in the body. We bring these dueling energies (Left and Right sides of the body) into one, which is the purpose of Hatha Yoga, to go beyond this conflict and create balance. When first practicing Nadi Shodhan, there are two paths. One, it can create anxiousness or restlessness. Another, the practice can induce drowsiness, but when you learn to practice with full awareness and a Sattvic mind, the practice can help to withdraw the senses and turn awareness inwards. Our Pranayama Teacher Training in India is well designed for yoga practitioners who want to focus on the meditative aspect of breathing practices.
Supreme Tapas: The Fuel For Pranayama
Looking at Pranayama in totality, the practice is a case of supreme Tapas. Tapas has different meanings but can mean to heat, burn, or in this case, burn off all impurities that reside in us. Cleaning the slate and purging dormant emotions we have held on to for too long. Through this practice, deep emotions are lifted and brought to the surface. Through this, we begin to dilute these sanskaras and emotions and gently work with them. As discussed prior, the breath and emotions are linked. So when we make our breath steady and long and increase our awareness, we invite these stored emotions to the surface. Most of us live with a sort of fake coating. We turn to self-help books to heal, but most of the time, these books just pamper us or apply more makeup to an already dirty face.
Pranayama works differently; we are not reading about something external; we are doing this practice; it is natural and experienced now. Pranayama does not apply more makeup to a dirty face but wipes this makeup off our face and brings out our true being and beauty. Hatha Yoga Pradipika states, “When the Nadis are purified, there are external symptoms. Success is definite when the body becomes thin and glows.”
We must go through many layers to increase our awareness and confront the ego. We hold tension in our gross physical body, breath, and thoughts. If we dig enough and move through all these layers, we can reach a state of freedom. Pranayama is a powerful practice that allows us to dig into the ground and bring up all that is unnecessary. So when emotions eventually rise, we should not run away from them, hurt them, but instead just let them go. Allow them to come up, and set them free. Become friendly with this pain, increase awareness of ourselves, and let them go. We need to learn to empty all thoughts, whether they are positive or negative. When all thoughts are eventually emptied, we experience a point of silence. Retention of “Kumbhaka” should result in this silence. What will be left are feelings which transcend beyond; love, compassion, freedom, and bliss. If you are looking to drain off the negative thoughts or emotions and want to set your inner self free, Best Yoga School in Rishikesh can help you. With the correct methods of Pranayama practices, you can make your body and mind a better place for your soul.