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“As long as there is breath in the body, there is life. When breath departs, so too does life. Therefore regulate the breath.”
Hatha Yoga Pradipika
The ancient yogis advocated the practice of Pranayama to unite the breath with the mind.
The breath and the mind are closely linked. The state of the mind is affected by the breath and in Pranayama the breath is used to change the mental state.
Pranayama both calms and strengthens the mind.
Different types of Pranayama induce different states of awareness.
Pranayama consists of three types of control:
“Breath is king of the mind”
Pranayama is the science of breath. Asanas purify the body and mind and have preventive and curative effects.Therefore Pranayama should only be practised once the body, nervous system and lungs have been strengthened by asana practice.You have to attain steadiness and stillness in asana before practicing rhythmic breathing techniques. Until the postures are perfected Pranayama should not be practiced.
Pranayama is not deep breathing. It is a conscious prolongation of inhalation, retention and exhalation. The practice of Pranayama develops a steady mind,strong will-power and sound judgement.
Disciplined breathing helps the mind to concentrate-
“When the breath is irregular, the mind wavers; when the breath is steady so is the mind. “
Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Pranayama helps to make the respiratory system function at its best. The respiratory system is the gateway to purifying the body, mind and intellect. the key to this is Pranayama. In Pranayamic breathing, the entire lungs are used to their fullest capacity. Better breathing means a better and healthier life.
Proper rhythmic breathing strengthens the respiratory system,soothes the nervous system and reduces craving, this will lead to the brain becoming quieter.
“As lions elephants and tigers are tamed very slowly and cautiously, so should Prana be brought under control very slowly in gradation measured according to to one’s capacity and physical limitations.Otherwise it will kill the practitioner.” Hatha Yoga Pradipika
It is essential to learn Pranayama under the guidance of an experienced teacher.