Today I will pen down regarding this matter and try to elaborate a simple yet remarkably effective practice to prepare our body and mind for the post-lockdown hustle bustle- PRANAYAMA! We are almost at the last phase of the lockdown, any day from now, the barriers will be withdrawn and people will start living a life like before- moving to and fro using public transportation facility and becoming part of social gatherings. But the fear of corona will be there with us. Though it is rational to be worried, but time and tide wait for none!
So, the best we can do in this critical situation is to prepare ourselves both externally and internally. There are many ways to assure overall good health and improve our immunity – and yoga especially Pranayama is one of the most well-known one. Different studies for decades have shown the beneficial effects of practicing right kind of pranayama to maintain a good health.
Pranayama and its benefits
Let us first know more about pranayama. It is a synchronized breathing exercise, also a form of yoga, was originated in India over 5000 years ago. The purpose of this exercise is to control and regulate breathing through special techniques by clearing our physical, as well as, mental blockages, if any and assure that the breath can flow naturally and freely.
I would like to mention how practicing this yogic breathing technique has proven to be beneficial for good health:
- Prolonged and systematic practice of pranayama helps to maintain ideal body weight.
- As it purifies your blood with plenty of oxygenated air into your system, it improves the skin.
- Pranayama practice can significantly improve the digestive system.
- It helps to bring back the balances in the both of nostrils by synchronized breathing; thus, sinusitis gets improved by regular practices of pranayama.
- Pranayama is beneficial to maintain good cardio-vascular health by improving blood circulation and blood pressure.
- It helps to build body’s defense mechanism by enhancing the capacity of immune system.
- Practicing pranayama improves brain functioning by calming it; thus, focus and concentration significantly increase.
- Sleeping pattern can be restored with the help of pranayama.
Now, Coming to the crux- at this point we need to assure that our lungs capacity is well maintained as you know that the target organ of respiratory diseases like Covid-19, is primarily our lungs. So, practicing pranayama to ensure good lungs health is the primary motto.
Types of Pranayama
I would like to mention about a few techniques which serve the purpose:
(There will be links attached with each pranayama to understand the correct techniques to avoid any adversities, suggesting you click on those links to learn properly)
1.Anuloma Biloma (Alternative Nostrils Breathing):
In this pranayama, the inhalation and exhalation are performed through alternative nostrils, also it is called “Nadhi Sodhana. This technique is immensely popular for its effectiveness to release stress, calm the mind, regulate the blood pressure, enhance concentration level by supplying good amount of oxygen into the lungs to name a few. Practicing regularly , one can get rid of several life-style diseases and be able to attain a good health.
Sitali pranayama, as the name suggests, is a technique to cool the body ;that might have positive response to nervous system and endocrine glands. This pranayama is also beneficial to calm mind and reduce stress level. It is advisable to consider one’s physical condition, like -low blood pressure, before starting to practice this pranayama, as that can have adverse effects on blood pressure.
Watch the video to know about the detailed technique (Video Courtesy: YouTube)
3. Surya Bhedana & Chandra Bhedana:
In yogic lore, the right nostril signifies sun, whereas, the left nostril is associated with moon. In Surya Bhedana, all the inhalation is performed by the right nostrils and exhalation through the left one; in Chandra Bhedana,inhalation is performed through the left nostrils and exhalation through the right. By practicing this pranayama, one can attain the balance between vital energy, outward-focused heat generation (signifies the characteristics of the sun) and mental calmness, better concentration, and sleep (signifies the characteristics of the moon). Whereas, in Surya Bhedana, lungs absorb most of the energy through breathing, in Chandra Bhedana, it cools the system.
4.Bhramari (Bee Breathing):
This is said to be the most effective pranayama to restore the agitated mind to its normal state. In this breathing exercise , the humming sound while exhaling has a natural calming effect, which helps to calm your mind instantly by releasing any stress, frustration, or anxiety.
There are many more pranayama techniques, the mentioned techniques are the only tip of the iceberg. More you explore this topic; you will get to know the depth of this.
Before concluding, I would like to emphasize my readers to become more aware of this subject- I’m attaching a few journal articles to get deeper understanding about pranayama and its benefits . As I have mentioned earlier, it is strongly advisable (specially people with pre-existing health conditions) to consult and seek opinion from an expert before starting to practice pranayama. Nowadays, several platforms are available where you can get audio and video guided classes, as well as, personal consultation, with minimum charges: you can take reference from any of those platforms to start pranayama practice.
Always remember, Health is Wealth!
PS: Please refer the links to get more scientific insights: