Saturday, 23 August 2008


Pranayam, refers to a number of associated age-old traditional techniques through which one can regulate and make his/her breathing normal, systematic and rhythmic. It fills the individual with life-force and maintains the homeostasis of the body. In Hindu Yoga scriptures, the inhaled air is considered as the Prana or life force that sustains any living being.
Inhalation and exhalation of the pure air, if done in the right manner, can increase the vital forces of our body and free us from most of the sufferings arising out of consciously or unconsciously induced imbalances that ultimately manifests as diseases in us. These are the Vikaras (aberrations) which can be effectively contained by means of proper and right food (Ahara), living and lifestyle (Vihara), and thought (Vichara). Simultaneously, the Vicaras are to be corrected to have the desired results.
Pranayam is soothing and beneficial to all though there are certain restrictions that should be taken into account, as well. When one practices Pranayam regularly his/her life-forces are adequately reinforced and the individual experiences calmness, tranquility and enters an exalted state of well-being. It conserves and increases the inner strength and stamina by optimizing the immune system. Due to correct breathing of pure air, the intake of oxygen reaches its optimum level and the inner impurities are expelled adequately as per the actual constitutional requirements of the individual. Thus, it helps the body to remain healthy and robust. The creative faculty increases manifold that aids the practitioners of Pranayam to cope with the environment in an intelligent manner. Almost all the cells of our body remain completely recharged and therefore, the individual is less likely to contact any psycho-somatic diseases. Through Pranayam, the existing diseases can also be contained and the healing time, shortened to a great extent. It has been observed that the ageing process of the body can be considerably slowed down with a corresponding increase in the lifespan of the individual. Since Pranayam positively improves the functioning of the vital organs, the regeneration processes are quickly set in, in an integrated manner, thereby accelerating the pace of healing. It further acts as a natural rejuvenator of the body and mind as well as the spiritual aspects of an individual gets nourished. Pranayam connects and reconnects the individual to the environment at several levels, starting from the self itself. Therefore, the innate and manifest conflicts are resolved or minimized which paves ways for growth and development of the persona.
There are several well-defined time tested Pranayam techniques that can be very easily perfected through enjoyable and joyous practice sessions of short duration. Anyone desirous of balancing his/her body, mind and wants to experience expansive bliss and happiness to share it with others or enter the planes of spiritualism (ascetic or non-ascetic) can find it useful.
It is also believed that the Chakras or the principal energy centers of the body and mind can also be energized through the right practice of Pranayam techniques. The Yogis harness the energy of Kundalini by lifting it upward through the path of the spinal cord, to a rare state of Samadhi.
As with everything else, Pranayam should also be done properly to get its full benefits. Though, most of the techniques are very easy to learn and practice, the beginners should first gain knowledge of the techniques from an enlightened Yoga teacher who in principle ‘gives’ it to the seekers without commercial considerations. All the instructions given by the teacher should be followed in right earnest and must not be taken lightly. For the starter, it is better to practice the recommended Pranayam in group situation because the combined vibration would benefit all the participants that may not be available to them if they do it alone, at least in the beginning stage. Doing Pranayam also purifies the atmosphere and increases its effects, even at homes.
An individual who is practicing Pranayam has also to the adjustment to his lifestyle that is compatible and not in conflict with himself/herself or with the very noble spirit of the exercise by following certain prescribed principles of living. However, this has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s religious domain but chiefly concerns his/her thoughts, habits and preferences of life and living. Most importantly, it dwells on his ‘being’. One’s inner voices are as important as the external imperatives and prerogatives or priorities or principles. If someone decides to improve, heal himself/herself, develop or evolve; than he/she can take to Pranayam and gain immensely. But, it has to be remembered that certainly, Pranayam is neither miracle nor magic but a natural way that completely agrees with the cardinal principles of nature itself (and of course therefore, that of the higher power and will of God—whatever may be his/her name and shape). It prepares one to scale higher and higher in his/her sojourn of eternal quest. In order to accrue the positive benefits of Pranayam, one needs to have patience, perseverance, resolve and faith—in himself/herself and in the higher consciousness.