Y - Pranayama
After the practice of asanas, the body is relaxed and the mind is free from all disturbances, enabling it to concentrate.
According to Patanjali Yoga Sutras, "Regulation of breath or the control of prana is the stoppage of inhalation and exhalation, which follows after securing that steadiness of posture or seat, asana.
According to Sri Sankaracharya," Pranayama is the control of all life-forces by realizing naught but Brahman in all things as the mind, etc."
The Gita says," Others offer Prana (outgoing breath) in Apana (incoming breath) and Apana in Prana, restraining the passage of Prana and Apana, absorbed in Pranayama. Pranayama is a precious Yajna (sacrifice).”
Pranayama is the method of breath control. Proper breathing and awareness of the breath is very important. Swami Yogananda says, "Breath is the cord that ties the soul to the
body". Your breathing directly affects the mental states. Breathing exercises help to control bodily functions. A regular, deep breath enables one to feel calm and an irregular breath can make you feel anxious. Yoga Breathing helps to re- charge the cells in the body and re- energizes the brain cells; thus, the body is rejuvenated.
Easy Breathing Exercise
Sit cross-legged as in padmasana. Close the right nostril with the right thumb and inhale very, very slowly through the left nostril. Then with the little and ring fingers of the right hands close the left nostril. Retain breath as long as you can. Then exhale very slowly after removing the thumb. This stage constitutes one process.
Again, inhale through the right nostril, retain the breath and exhale through the left nostril. This ends the process. One can do 20 in the morning and 20 in the evening.
This breathing exercise cleanses the body of diseases.
It steadies the mind and helps in concentration.
It improves digestion.
It increases appetite.
Sit erect in a chair with spine, neck and head erect. Keep your eyes closed and rest your hands on the knees. Then exhale slowly, pulling your stomach inwards simultaneously. After full exhalation, hold for a second and then start to inhale slowly and deeply stretching the muscles of the abdomen.
Do not use any force or tension; breathing should be slow, deep, continuous and rhythmical. Again, after inhaling, hold for a second and exhale contracting the abdominal muscles. Repeat the process 10-15 times. Do not get up immediately on finishing this Pranayam.
It activates all the organs of the digestive system.
It cures acidity, indigestion, constipation and gas related problems.
It makes one cool, calm and free of tension.
Pranayama In Savasana
Take any comfortable position. Relax all the muscles and nerves. Inhale slowly through both the nostrils and retain the breath as long as you can with comfort. Then exhale slowly through both the nostrils.
Repeat the process 10 times in the morning and 10 times in the evening. One can mentally chant ‘Om’ during the practice.
It relieves one of mental tension.
It gives relief, comfort and ease.
It is suitable for old people.
Sit cross-legged and place the feet on the thighs. Now exhale with mouth closed. Exhale from the heart, throat, and the head.
Then, inhale with a hissing sound until it touches the heart. Inhale and exhale with force, repeatedly. This keeps prana in constant circulation in the body. Then, exhale through the right nostril. Repeat this process 15 times and relax
It has a calming influence on the mind.
It strengthens the lungs and improves the respiratory system.
Regular practice of yoga slows down the action of the sympathetic nervous system. This means the release of stress hormones is controlled. It improves the functioning of the parasympathetic
nervous system, which controls your ability to relax.
One must learn the art of relaxation. Relaxing all the muscles of the body from head to feet will bring rest to body and mind. Holding tension in any part of the body means dissipation of energy. So, one must practise relaxation.
Take a few deep breaths and lie flat on your back. Relax the muscles of the body. Roll from one side to another. One can relax each part of the body separately. In addition, one must have a mental picture of calmness and strength.