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What Is Pranayama Yoga?

Fitday Editor
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As a key part of most yoga practices, Pranayama yoga is something that it is helpful for beginners to understand. Getting this part of yoga right is likely to help out in developing a good overall routine for ongoing yoga work.

What Is Pranayama Yoga?

Pranayama yoga is also called "breathing yoga" because it is based on the principle of controlling the breath. The name Pranayama yoga, according to linguistic sources, comes from the words "prana" (life force) and "yama" (control).

Pranayama yoga is often a part of other yoga practices. It is a component of various styles or disciplines of yoga. Along with other critical items like "asana" (postures), Pranayama is a central part of how yoga helps participants to get in tune with their bodies.

Stages of Pranayama Yoga

According to some practitioners, Pranayama yoga has four essential stages. The first one, sometimes called arambha, is where the user first experiences an interest in controlling their breath. They can then move onto an advanced stage called ghata, where inner processes are at work in helping to control the breath. The next stage, called parichay, is where a kind of "enlightenment" or knowledge occurs. After this, some who have studied the ancient yoga arts indicate a fourth level, which opens up or unlocks more of the human potential for reaching a kind of higher mental plane. This fourth stage of Pranayama yoga is very open to interpretation, and trainers may or may not include it in a group yoga session or other activity.

Why Do Pranayama Yoga?

Other than its central function in most common types of yoga, there are specific reasons to practice Pranayama in your fitness routine.

Our breathing can be extremely important in our body's responses to challenges. The stress of a hectic daily routine, combined with air hazards and other breathing challenges, can lead to conditions in many individuals where a shallow range of breath or rhythm of breathing can limit the natural operation of the lungs.

With proper attention to breathing, the body can better take in oxygen and get rid of toxins. Good breathing practices can also help with circulation and other aspects of the body.

Along with these physical benefits of Pranayama yoga, there's also a huge psychological component. Deep breathing has been shown to be effective in alleviating stress. In fact, many who are practicing yoga for the first time are doing so as part of a "fitness prescription" from a medical professional or other personal health expert. Getting into it with your breathing process can be a big step towards better holistic health for the future.

Look for elements of Pranayama yoga in any public handbook or training manual, or as part of an instructed group or individual class session. Knowing about how Pranayama yoga contributes to the greater practice of meditation can help individuals craft their own effective routines for combating stress, elevating their mindset and improving their quality of life.

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