What is Pranayama?

Pranayama is more than just "breath practice," as many people believe. With the systematic regulation of the breath, it is a collection of strategies for stimulating, expanding, and balancing life force capacity. Smaller methods, such as witnessing the breath, to more advanced movements that require time and repetition to learn are all examples of these techniques. These exercises may be performed while standing, lying down, or in specific positions.

The Sanskrit words prana and ayama are combined to form the term pranayama. Prana, like I (chi) in Buddhism, refers to the animating life force spirit within all things. Your system is energized, and you are physically healthy, when prana is abundant. In relation to the action of prana, ayama is a verb that means "to stretch" or "to expand." Pranayama literally means "extension of life force capacity," and it will help you feel more vital, clear-headed, and energized.

Many religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and, of course, yoga, include pranayama in their health activities. Pranayama is the fourth “limb” of raja yoga, and it was identified by the sage Patanjali in the oga S tras prior to 400 CE as an accompaniment to yoga asanas (postures) and a prelude to deep states of meditation. Many yoga courses offered in the West today omit or misinterpret pranayama, even though it has been a part of classical yoga for centuries. The results of pranayama can be intensified, and your practice of postures can be deepened when paired intelligently with certain yoga postures and flows.

Prana is described as the vital life force energy that animates and moves you. It is vitality at its heart. When the body's prana levels are down, you can feel sluggish, trapped, or even sick. There are five key movements of prana in your body, called ay s, or "wind," that control your overall system, including digestion, circulation, and elimination, according to the he atha oga Pradipika, a 15th-century Sanskrit manual on hatha yoga by Svatmarama. When you don't have enough prana in your body, these motions may be absent. You will raise the amount of prana in your body and guide the energy movements that need more pranic help by practicing pranayama.

The Five Vayus of Prana

1. Udana Vayu – Energy flux upward and outward. This vayu is responsible for excitement, creativity, development, and ascension. Dana pushes prana upward toward the neck and face as it approaches the body. Dana ay is influenced by pranayama by monitoring the inhalation side of the breath and any breath holding during inhalation.

2. Prana Vayu (also known as "Pran" Vayu): The inward and upward flow of energy. This vayu is energizing and vitalizing, and it regulates the absorption of prana into the body, as well as inhalation, feeding, drinking, visual impressions, and mental perceptions. Prana ay regulates the flow of prana as it approaches the body from the chest and ascends. Prana vayu is influenced by regulating the inhalation side of the breath and its capacity in the body through pranayama.

3. Samana Vayu – The inward-spiraling, assimilating energy flow. The assimilation of food, oxygen, and all interactions into the system is governed by this vayu. Samana spirals prana inward as it approaches the body, coalescing around the navel core. Samana ay is influenced by pranayama, which involves matching the lengths and capacities of both inhalation and exhalation.

4. Apana Vayu – Energy flux downward and outward. Exhalation, energetic grounding, breastfeeding, and the avoidance of harmful mental and psychological memories are all governed by this vayu. Apana ay assists in letting go by moving prana downward toward the genital organs and out of the body. Controlling the exhalation side of the breath with pranayama affects apana vayu.

5. Vyana Vayu – The flow of energy that expands and circulates. This vayu is in control of nutrient distribution in the blood and body fluids, as well as feelings and ideas, as well as engagement with the outside world. The yana ay spirals outward from the middle of the body, absorbing prana into the body and the universe. By regulating the power of both inhalation and exhalation, pranayama affects vyana vayu.

Energetic Effects of Brahmana, Langhana, and Sama Vritti

Brahmana, langhana, and sama ritti are three energetic outcomes of yoga that can be affected by meditation, asana (yoga postures), and pranayama.

1. Brahmana (Expansion) – Expanded capacity, vitality creation, and extroverted energy. You can transfer static energy and activate the nervous system with brahmana pranayama. Brahmana is induced by faster and more vigorous breathing patterns, full breaths in the chest and ribs, and an emphasis on the inhalation. When you're feeling lethargic, foggy, exhausted, or stressed, try brahmana activities early in the day or when you're feeling lethargic, foggy, drained, or depressed.

2. Langhana (Reduction) – The calming, grounding, and introverted energy effect. You can relax the nervous system and reduce excess frenetic activity by practicing langhana pranayama. Langhana can be stimulated by slower breathing patterns, breathing in the belly, and focusing on the exhalation. During the evening while you prepare for sleep, when having insomnia or overstimulation, following major trauma, or when feeling general restlessness in your body and mind are all times when you might do a langhana exercise.

3. Sama Vritti (Balance) – The energetic influence of balance. To get the system into equilibrium, Sama vritti pranayama balances all brahmana and langhana results. A sama vritti effect is achieved by balancing the duration and capacity of the body on both inhalation and exhalation, as well as some breath keeping. If you're not sure what kind of enthusiastic practice you need, sama vritti practices are a great place to start.

Pranayama is designed to be used in conjunction with other forms of wellbeing and health services, such as traditional medicine, rather than as a replacement. The information provided here is not intended to diagnose or treat any health-related issues. Always seek medical advice from the doctor if you have any medical concerns.