The Importance of Pranayama in Yogic Practices
“Tatah Kshiyate Prakasha Avaranam”- Patanjali
“Breathing practices bring true understanding and knowledge into life by destroying all the impurities of mind.” – Patanjali
Breathing is the very first and very last act of life. The act of breathing is so simple, so obvious that we normally take it for granted; but breathing holds the very fabric of life and is the key to our health and wellness. Hence yogic breathing practices, commonly known as pranayama, are essential for the wellbeing of the body, mind, and heart.
Yogis say that breathing is the connecting force of body, mind, and spirit.
From very ancient times, Yogis have well understood the benefits and importance of breathing practices. From a yogic perspective, one of the most important benefits of pranayama, aside from our health, is the expansion of consciousness.
Our breath, what Yoga calls prana or the vital force of life, is a vehicle that moves us into subtle layers of our energy body. With the help of this vital force, we come into contact with our core self establish our self in our true nature. Hence, yogic breathing practices are designed to clear the blockage of energy channels in the body and support this movement of prana.
Why Practice Pranayama
The breathing pattern of most people is very shallow; we use a very small portion of about 1/11th of our lung capacity! This low capacity breathing pattern deprives our body from proper oxygen for heath and well being. In Yoga, the human life span is also considered in terms of breathing: yoga says the faster and more shallow the breath, the shorter our life. The slower and deeper our breath, the longer our life. Hence pranayama practices are designed to increase the duration of the breath. As Yogi Swami Shivananda puts it, “A yogi measures the span of life by the number of breaths not by the number of years.”
Here are some popular and easy pranayama practices you can try today: