Monday, June 8, 2009

Pranayama : Fourth Limb of Yoga

In today's post as we discuss each Monday we are continuing our series of articles on "Ashatang Yoga"or 8 Limbs of yoga .After "Asana" the comes the "Pranayama " which I would try to explain it as simply as possible . Knowing the magnitude of the topic, we need to know that the current topic discussed is just a small post . Some times later we would try to bring this topic in some other post .Till then enjoy this read .

"Pranayama" means mindful deep breathing . To understand this properly we need to look at this word little closely. Derived from the language Sanskrit it is a combination of two words namely " Prana" and ayam " . "Prana" means breathe,respiration,life,vitality or some times its also refereed as the soul as opposed to body .The word " ayam" means expansion , length , or stretch.Together we can sum it up saying that Pranayama is the proper way of breathing slowly to one's full extent .

Yogis have classified each breathe of our into three parts . They are as follows :
a] Inhalation : To take a deep breathe inside the body through our nostrils, slowly letting the air to go in the lungs and and the abdomen and filling it to its maximum capacity .
b] Exhalation: To let the air pass out from our body starting the abdomen through our nostril .
c] Hold or " Kumbhak" : Its the time that we hold the air in our body in between the inhalation and exhalation .It can be
a pause of second or it can be extended to as long as possible .

This three together constitutes ones breathing ability . " Pranayama " is this combination of breathing were we try to extent each of this process as slowly as possible to full extent .So if you are inhaling for 5 sec , if seriously we focus our self we can see that we can increase this inhaling duration to 10 sec . Same is true for exhalation and kumbak part of our breathing .Now you can think that you can have as many permutation and combination of breathing work and this in general are
called as "Pranayama" . To derive another meaning of the word pranayam which means its
" The Science of Breathing "

So just check as you read this article when you breathe in and out . Suddenly for a moment or two you feel the difference .Your mind get completely focused on your breathing ,you feel lighter in just few breathes , you feel care free . Is that suppose to happen after doing deep breathing . The reason for being the fourth limb of yoga " Pranayama " is an excellent guide to control
one's mind . Our Mind is a wanderer , its really hard to focus on one thing , even while reading this article our mind is fluctuating ,should I continue , ohh I should eat now its time ... one after another thoughts are pounding in your mind . But as you deep breathe in and out and start practicing pranayama our thoughts stops for a while or so our mind suddenly is in focused on the breathing . The ability to keep our mind in control was known to yogis with the help of pranayama and thus its importance .
Practice of pranayama has to be under expert guidance only . Understand that breath is like the fire of our body .If we use it properly under supervision miracles can be achieved , if not self destruction could only be brought by it .

If you like this post please feel free to digg it , tweet it or even re- blog it with some credit .

Related Link :
1] " Yama " First Limb of yoga
2] " Niyama " Second Limb of Yoga
3] " Asana" Third limb of Yoga

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1 comments: on "Pranayama : Fourth Limb of Yoga"

Ching Ya said...

Thanks Sudeep for providing a mini Yoga course explanation about the breathing method. And I can see your email subscription form had been set up successfully. ^^ Keep up the good work.

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