Pranayama is the conscious and deliberate control and regulation of the breath (Prana means breath, ayam means to control, to regulate). With each breath we absorb not only oxygen, but also Prana. Prana is cosmic energy, the power in the Universe that creates, preserves and changes. It is the basic element of life and consciousness. Prana is also found in food, therefore it is very important to have a healthy and wholesome diet.
The conscious guidance of Prana in the body gives rise to an increase in vitality, physical detoxification and improved immunity, as well as the attainment of inner peace, relaxation and mental clarity.
Pranayama is powerful breathing technique that ensures healthy body and calm mind. Regular practice of various types of pranayama improves breathing pattern, purifies blood, boosts resistance power and gives physical strength. It is the perfect control of the life-currents through control of breath, and is the process by which we understand the secret of prana and manipulate it.
Pranayama has three components: the external breath, the internal breath and the steady state in between the two. When the breath is expired, it is rechaka, the first kind of pranayama. When the breath is drawn in, it is the second, termed pooraka. When the breath is suspended, it is the third kind, called kumbhaka, or retention of breath. In the practice of pranayama, rechaka, pooraka and kumbhaka, are controlled and regulated by space, time and number.
Kumbhaka increases the life-span of an individual. It augments the inner spiritual force, vigour and vitality. If you retain the breath for one minute, this one minute is added to your span of life. By taking the breath to the brahmarandhra, the fontanelle at the top of the head (said to be the connecting point between the spirit and the body) and keeping it there, the yogi can defeat the lord of death, Yama, and conquer death.
- Holistic Sutra Posted for Ayurved Sutra by Soulpark with Shruti M