Another of the most well known practises of yoga pranayama is truly the heart of yoga if not less. It might seem a very easy going and generally, still, it is one of the most in-depth procedures for any practitioner where the focus is of course on breathing. Breathing has two basic processes inhaling and exhaling but pranayama will help you understand that there are few more steps to breathing. The emptiness of breath before inhalation, the holding of breath once inhaled and the emptiness of breath once exhaled is the other procedures of breathing which one realises. The word pranayama is made up of two words namely PRANA + AYAM, the first word is again very deep but for now, you can understand it as breath and the second one is rather simple which means extension. Hence PRANAYAM means breath extension. The technique of pranayama aims at deepening and extending the whole breathing cycle. Hence your inhalation capacity and time is extended as is your exhalation time and capacity. Add to it the third most important breathing process holding the breath which also undergoes the same extension and increase in capacity.
This practice of pranayama involves your mind to the maximum while the body rather rests and stays in a relaxing and composed posture. The process of pranayama has been broken down into three sub-parts known as PURAK – KUMBHAK-RECHAK ( inhaling-holding-exhaling) all done with depth and in the most gentle manner. There is no undue effort or force while doing these procedures and whatever inhalation, exhalation and holding the body can do is done as per the respective capacities of the practitioner. Once the practitioner indulges in the practice of pranayama very soon their vital capacities and durations would be enhanced as the practice becomes more and more deep and soothing.
The whole focus of pranayama practice is on breath and there are at least 13 types of pranayama we find in practice. The most important pranayama practice is that of ANULOM-VILOM or NADI SHODHAN( purification of nervic channels) which means alternate nostril breathing. While practicing pranayama the key indicators are that no shiver, sweat or uneasiness must be felt while practicing it. Any of the above if appearing indicates failure of proper practice of pranayama and more preparation is needed before attempting it. Pranayam works on the most vital element residing within our body and can be said as the seat of our human potential.