is the regulation and prolongation of breath. Prana is equated
with breath, life force (vital energy), cosmic energy; etc. and Ayama
signifies length, abstinence and regulation. In Patanjli's words, after
obtaining the steadiness of Asana, controlling the act of respiration
is know as Pranayama. There are three main
functions of pranayama --- inhalation, exhaling, exhalation and retention.
If the breathing is regulated, the mind becomes steady, tranquil, and
Functions of Pranayama
Inhalation (purak) enlarges the chest
cavity. Fills the lungs with air, and moves the diaphragm downwards.
Retention (kumbhak) distributes the energy throughout the body to every
cell, muscle and nerve. Retention increases the level of corbon-dioxide
in the blood, increasing internal temperature. As a result, metabolism
is assisted and increased oxygen absorption tones up body tissue. Exhalation
(rechak) throws away all the toxins, impurities and poisons from the
blood due to contraction of the intercostal muscles and the diaphragm.
breathe on a ratio of 5:5:5, which means they should inhale for five
seconds, retain for five seconds, and exhale for five seconds.
With practice, they should eventually reach a ratio of 5:20:10; five
seconds for inhalation, twenty seconds for retention and ten seconds
for exhalation. While practicing Pranayama, a person can simultaneously
practice bandhas; after breathing in, let the chin drop ti touch the
throat cavity (jalandhar bandha) and pull the anus upwards (mool bandha).
Before breathing out, first relax the jalandhar bandha, then the mool
bandha and perform uddiyan bandha (contracting the abdominal muscles)
while exhaling completely.
Benefits of Pranayama
Requirements of Practicing