Pranic Breath: Energy of Vitality
“For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on the earth.” ~Sanskrit proverb
According to the Indian scriptures like the Vedas, Upanishads, Yoga-Vasishtha and others, the basis of all existing types of energy that support the universe in its manifested spiritual state is the life-giving “vibrating force” known as Prana. At the cosmic level, this divine power is homogeneous, not differentiated and is the carrier of the Universal Mind or the Universal Spirit. Here on the earth, among humans, this energy is manifested in pranic breathing.
Prana is the source of human energy and its consciousness. Being in the air, water and food, it controls the heart activity and the process of inspiration. To reach and experience it, a person should practice specific breathing exercises that called pranic breathing techniques. These techniques can activate energy in different centers of the body, promoting health and wellness.
Why pranic breathing is beneficial
Apart from prana, there are seven more energy flows in the human body. In order to understand the subtle functions of these life-giving streams and penetrate into the secrets of the energetic basis of man and their psyche, the yogis of antiquity developed a special system of respiratory methods called pranayama breathing.
Pranayama is the science of controlling the flow of pranic energy by regulating the respiratory process that consists of inhalation, exhalation, and delayed breathing. It may seem to be just deep breathing exercises, but for yogis, the process is specific and scientific and works like this: when breathing in, prana is sent along the spine to its base to activate apana. With an exhalation, apana is pulled up into the central part of the abdominal cavity. And, finally, when breathing is delayed, prana and apana mix and stop in the umbilical area.
Pranayama breathing causes “warming up” of the psychic energy that motivates the kundalini, the main psycho-energetic force of a person, to get out of its latent state and start its way up the spine through the chakras, activating them and revealing the psycho-spiritual potential of the person hidden inside. The awakening marks a fundamentally new stage in human development, opening real prospects for a full human transformation.
How to exercise pranic breathing
Pranayama breathing is helpful when you need to pull yourself together, relax, relieve stress after a hard day, regain balance or even when you want to fight food cravings. Pranic, or deep, breathing uses all the power of the lungs, thus providing the body with more energy that we can share with others and spend on meditation. Heart meditation uses deep breathing to pass prana through the heart chakra and hands. Here are the steps you should follow to learn the secret of prana breath.
- Pranayama breathing is also called a diaphragmatic breathing, that is the type of deep breathing when air goes through your lungs filling them fully with air and goes down to your abdomen. If you have never practiced a deep breath before, it will take some time to learn how to do that.
- Sit down in a seated yoga position on the floor, grass or mat. You can do it in a room or outdoors, preferably alone and in a place that has lots of fresh air. Choose the time of the day convenient to you. It can be in the morning before work or in the evening. The main idea is that you should not be in a hurry.
- Hold your spine straight and hold your head straight as if you are trying to reach up. Relax and don’t be distracted by annoying thoughts. Let it be your time of meditation.
- Place your hand or both hands on your lower abdomen just below the navel. This will help you control your pranic breathing.
- Inhale through the nose to the lower part of your stomach. You should feel how your hands extend forward with each deep breath when the diaphragm pushes the organs in the abdomen. When the bottom of your stomach is filled with air, continue to inhale, filling the upper part of the chest with air. Inhale to a count of 7.
- Pause for 3 seconds when the upper part of the chest is filled with air.
- Exhale slowly from the chest, through the nose till your lungs are empty. Exhale for a count of 7.
- Pause for 3 seconds, keeping the lungs empty before starting a new cycle of breathing exercises.
- Be sure to repeat this cycle. Spend a minimum of 3 minutes on diaphragmatic breathing coupled with meditation.
Benefits of pranayama breathing
There is a belief among the medical community that deep breathing causes positive effects on the human mind as well as on the body. Researchers claim that most of these advantageous effects are reached thanks to the stress-reducing property of deep breathing. To understand what all the benefits of pranayama breathing are, let’s look at them in more detail.
It improves health
Studies have shown that pranayama breathing really helps with heart disease, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, and also with mental disorders. A lot of people suffer from a metabolic disorder, which often leads to diabetes or obesity. But with the help of pranayama breathing a person can again become healthy. Deep breathing exercises work as the best medicine for all problems associated with the digestive system, such as constipation, bloating, heartburn, and indigestion. This is an effective remedy for diseases of the respiratory system, such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and tuberculosis.
It changes the human mindset
Thanks to the practice of diaphragmatic breathing, the worldview of a person changes. A person discovers inner undisclosed sources of energy, begins to know themselves better and realizes that the senses are an instrument that can be controlled. With daily practices, there grows an ability to break out of the bondage of one’s uncontrolled feelings.
It helps to cope with everyday stress
Pranayama breathing is the simplest way to cope with stress, insecurity, anger, despair, a sense of contradiction, laziness, insomnia and other psychological problems. Combined with meditation, it helps to restore self-control and inner peace of mind.
Breath is crucial for living. It starts from the very second we enter this life and stops only when we leave. In between that time, we perform millions of breaths. So, let at least a fraction of the breaths you take be mindful and beneficial for both your mind and body.