Pranayama refers to a group of breathing exercises in Yoga practice. ‘Prana’ is the Sanskrit word for energy, while ‘Ayam’ means to expand or to control. The goals of pranayama are to control, regulate and support normal physiology by healing the body from various illnesses. Pranayama alone is a powerful healing modality; however, its benefits are significantly compounded when combined with Ayurvedic practices and other healing methods. In clinical research, pranayama has demonstrated a wide range of healing benefits for both physical as well as mental health.
Research has demonstrated that it calms the nervous system via the control of certain stress mechanisms such as the hormone known as Cortisol. Clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of pranayama in conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, depression, anxiety, COPD, hypothyroidism, and numerous other conditions.
Several pranayama breathing techniques have been greatly emphasized in Yoga and have drawn special attention within the scientific community. Breath regulation includes modulation of the pace of breathing, slowing down or pacing the breath, manipulation of nostrils, chanting or humming sounds, retention of breath, etc. Each pranayama technique has its benefits, but it has to be properly taught and followed in very specific conditions. Apart from pranayama, the practice of yoga and meditation has been found to also revolutionize health and well-being.
Yoga is an ancient practice that is believed to bring balance to the body, mind, and spirit. It can enhance our well-being by improving our physical health with fitness and flexibility as well as our mental health by calming the mind and assisting with impulse control. Yoga therapy includes the use of asanas (physical poses), pranayama (breathing exercises), kriyas (cleansing procedures), and meditation to treat various illnesses. The path of Yoga is an extraordinary one; it is a path taken that allows us to overcome our biggest obstacle-The Mind. Whether you choose yoga to become healthier or to become spiritually elevated one thing is certain, in your journey you will gain peace and harmony.
Yoga is a tool for us to discover our true nature, it allows us to expand our consciousness and delve into the deeper levels of our subconscious minds. Through Yoga, the impossible can be made possible if we dedicate ourselves to it and put in the necessary preparation and training. Research has demonstrated the role of yoga and its therapeutic benefits in conditions such as Sinusitis, the common cold (9), IBS, and urinary incontinence. Other practices of yoga such as nasal irrigation with a neti pot have significant therapeutic benefits including treatment of sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, insensitivity to smell, etc.
While the practice of meditation originated in the ancient Vedic times of India and is described in the Vedic texts, the term “meditation” is now loosely used to refer to a large number of diverse techniques. These include contemplation, concentration, use of nature sounds such as the ocean, guided meditation, meditative movement exercises such as Yoga and tai chi, qigong, breathing exercises, and Mantra. These techniques work at different levels such as the senses, mind, intellect, and emotions. Some techniques are easy to learn and practice, while others are more difficult and can result in participants giving up the practice rather quickly.
According to Vedic science, the true purpose of meditation is to connect oneself to one’s deep inner Self. Meditation is an artform of developing into a state of restful awareness, where you begin to fall into that deeply relaxed state the stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol begin to decrease, and the happy hormones such as serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine begin to increase. It is a powerful tool to heal the body and mind. Healing truly starts when we are in a state of contentment and peace – meditation can bring you that. Meditation is a therapy that has demonstrated highly beneficial effects in conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder, mild-to-moderate depression, chronic insomnia, and more.