Pranayama aims at bringing the involuntary functions of the respiratory mechanism within human control. The term Pranayama has been constituted by two words: Prana + Ayama. Prana is the vital force which pervades the whole cosmos. Prana is more subtle than air and can be defined as the energy essence that is within everything in the universe. Prana is the principle of development and sustenance both of the nervous and cellular tissues of the body and the mind.
In the process of breathing when the Prana air is inhaled, definite action takes place. One is related to the ingestion of oxygen into the alveoli and the other to the ingestion of the nervous energy into the brain system.
Ayama means to control or to give a rhythm or a definite flow. In this sense Pranayama may be defined as a process and technique through which vital energy can be stimulated and increased: and this brings about perfect control over the flow of Prana within the body.
He who practices Pranayama will have a good appetite, cheerfulness, handsome figure, good strength, courage, and enthusiasm, a high standard of health, vigour and vitality and good concentration of mind. Pranayama is quite suitable for the Westerners also. A Yogi measures the span of his life not by the number of years but by the number of his breaths. You can take in a certain amount of energy or Prana from the atmospheric air along with each breath. Vital capacity is the capacity shown by the largest quantity of air a man can inhale after the deepest possible exhalation. A man takes fifteen breaths in a minute. The total number of breaths comes to 21,600 times per day.
Other benefits are as follows:-
- It makes life meaningful and social.
- It keeps the man balanced in all the conditions and situations.
- It helps in understanding the real nature of man and its relationships with the community.
- It manages psycho physical diseases.
- It put chain on the senses.
- It makes the body healthy.
- It helps in controlling the modalities of mind.
- It gives opportunities to soul to flourish.
- Intellectual development is accelerated.
- Will power becomes strong through its practice.
- It develops feelings of national and international well-being.