According to ‘Bhagavad-Gita As It Is’, Pranayama is translated to “trance induced by stopping all breathing”, also being made from the two separate Sanskrit words, prana and ayam. Macdonell gives the etymology as prana (prana), breath, + ayama and defines it as the suspension of breath. Pranayama is a Sanskrit compound and is define variously by different authors.
Pranayama is the fourth “limb” of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga mention in verse 2.29 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It is vital part of the yogic science can be called as the art of breathing for healthy living for the miraculous health benefits it proffers. According to the scholar-practitioner of yoga Theos Bernard, the ultimate aim of pranayama is the suspension of breathing, “causing the mind to swoon”. Swami Yogananda writes, “The real meaning of Pranayama, according to Patanjali, the founder of Yoga philosophy, is the gradual cessation of breathing, the discontinuance of inhalation and exhalation”.
The yoga scholar Andrea Jain states that pranayama was “marginal to the most widely cited sources” before the 20th century. And that the breathing practices were “dramatically” unlike the modern ones. She writes that while pranayama in modern yoga as exercise consists of synchronising the breath with movements (between asanas), in texts like the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, pranayama meant “complete cessation of breathing”.
Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress-related disorders. It quickly balances energy, stabilizes moods and allows you to experience mindfulness in a new way. This practice of Yoga helps in oxygenating your mind by building smooth paths in your head and by fixing the broken edges. The brain needs rest, self-care, and a healthy environment to function in a proper manner. This can be achieve with the power of yoga, and nourishing ingredients of pranayama.
Pranayama increases the blood circulation, oxygen capacity of the blood. Also helps improving the cardiovascular function of your body if practiced regularly. It is the best breathing technique to get your lungs functioning properly. And further very useful for people who have breathing problems or asthma. Pranayama is also an excellent method to remove all accumulated toxins from your body. Among the many methods in yoga for the detoxification of our body. Practicing Pranayama daily helps in alleviating digestive problems and also helps reduce bloating.
Although relatively safe, Hatha Yoga is not risk free. Beginners should avoid advanced moves and exercise within their capabilities. Functional limitations should be taken into consideration.