What Is Pranayama




Pranayama is popularly understood as a variety of breathing exercises. However, there is more to it. Apart from filling the lungs with fresh oxygen, the purpose of Pranayama is to use the effective air circulation in the physical body to influence the flow of Prana or energy in the Pranamaya Kosha or the energy Sheathe enwrapping our body.

Before a child is born, it gets its entire oxygen supply from the mother. After birth, the doctor, nurse, parents, all wait anxiously for the baby to start breathing. If there is a slight delay, there is a panic. The nurse holds the baby upside down, the doctor slaps the baby’s back. Then when a shrill cry is heard, all tension melts away – the baby is breathing! From that moment onwards the breathing process remains involuntary. However, what we fail to understand is the difference between a voluntary beneficial way of breathing and the automatic breathing for survival. In general, humans breathe badly. Shallow, brisk, involuntary breaths. Thus we develop improper breathing habits, using only a small part of the lung capacity. This causes shallow breathing and deprives the body of sufficient oxygen and energy or prana, essential for good health and leads on to lack of resistance to disease, making us easy prey to extreme stress and chronic ailments.

An essential prerequisite for a calm and contented state of mind is a consciously controlled rhythmic deep and slow respiration. Untrained, irregular breathing disrupts the rhythm of the brain and causes physical, emotional and mental blocks. Through a deliberately controlled breathing practice or Pranayama, an immense amount of energy, trapped in the dark neurotic thought patterns, can be released for use in creative, rewarding and joyful activities.
In simple words, Pranayama consists of breathing in, breathing out, inward breath holding and outward breath holding. Literally speaking ‘Pran’ means energy or life force that exists in all things and the definition of ‘Ayama’ is, extension or expansion. Hence true Pranayama is the unique technique or proven, age-old tools, to activate, circulate and strengthen the energy system, which then permeates into other dimensions like vibration and resonation. The undeniable consequences of serious Pranayama techniques are rapidly getting acceptance of modern science and medical faculties.





https://www.fitnessofbodysoulandmind.com/what-is-yoga/Yoga-meditation breathing is based on natural breathing, consisting of the rhythmic inward and outward flow of the breath through the nose. Consciously observe this flow of cool air reaching throat, chest, and lungs. Bring full awareness of the expansion and subsiding of the ribcage, rising and falling of the diaphragm. Abdominal breathing is the most natural and efficient way to breathe. However, often under extreme stress, poor posture, and to a certain extent, lack of guidance from guardians, this procedure is flouted. Irregular breathing throws into disarray the regular rhythms of the brain, causing physical, emotional and mental blocks. In the long run, afflicted individuals show signs of inner conflict and personality disorder, leading to a chaotic lifestyle and diseases. When the correct form of breathing is restored, healing and repairs begin and one starts to experience an improved state of physical and mental well-being. Thoracic breathing uses the expansion of the rib cage, to make more room for extra air in the middle lobes of the lungs. Yoga meditation uses all these methods to optimize inhalation and exhalation.

There are various Pranayama techniques. Each technique concentrates on a specific area of the human body and enriches the entire body mind and soul.
It is believed that there is an intimate connection between the breathing process and the flow of energy or prana along the nadis (energy channels) and chakras or energy grids. Prana, the life energy manifests in the physical platform as movement and action and on the mental platform as the conscious, subconscious and unconscious thought process. Through committed Pranayama practice, the performer attempts to fathom the cosmic nature and partake the supreme wisdom to conquer afflictions and petty limitations. The basic requirements for success with yoga-meditation are sincere determination, an ethical and well-structured livelihood in which unselfish thoughts and controlled breathing play an important role.
Breath awareness is the starting point of Pranayama practices. We must understand how we are breathing and the breathing pattern generally. Try to understand whether your breath is fast and shallow. Which part of the body is moving most? Notice if your breathing is quiet or little bit noisy. Try to feel the air temperature. In normal circumstances, the inhaled air feels cooler than the exhaled air. Feel the difference. With full concentration, your breath should become smoother and deeper. At this stage be aware of your breath only, how air is entering through the nostrils, then traveling down, along with the windpipe, into your lungs. When exhaling, be conscious of the toxins and carbon dioxide escaping from your body. There is no set length of time for Pranayama practices, do them as long as you enjoy without getting bored.

Breath is the most vital process of our everyday life. It influences the cells of the body, the brain, muscles, and the glands. From simple yet wise observation of animals, such as elephants and tortoises, who have a long lifespan, the ancient yogis realized the importance of deep, slow and steady breathing in prolonging longevity. Recent scientific studies have established that breathing through different nostrils have different effects on the human body. Right nostril breathing stimulates sympathetic nervous system (fight or escape response) positioned at the left hemisphere of the brain. Left nostril breathing, on the other hand, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, whose typical response is relaxation and concerns right hemisphere of the brain.

In yoga language, there are three primary energy or air channels, Ida, Pingala, and Susumna. Ida channel is affiliated to the moon, which is cooling, restorative and feminine in nature and is connected to the left nostril. The right nostril, on the other hand, services the Pingala channel and is associated with the sun, being warming, energizing and masculine. Nadi Sodhana or Alternative Nostril breathing balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the Autonomic Nervous System. When Pranayama processes clear the blockages and breathing is comfortably balanced between the two nostrils, Susumna Nadi or the middle channel gets activated, awakening the serpent power, whose upward journey begins with inexpressible sensation, pleasure, and satisfaction.
One must not forget that Pranayama practices are not an end in itself. Proper Pranayama and meditation should lead on to liberation of the soul and the achievement of ultimate knowledge and wisdom.



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WEIGHT LOSS BEGINNING WITH WHAT YOU DRINK

Drinking water to lose weight should be the first word in weight loss journey. In fact, most people don’t know that when they feel hungry, they may actually be dehydrated and they are really thirsty, not hungry. Water is remarkable as well. Over 66% of your body weight is nothing but water. This is also why water plays an important role in weight control.

TIP #1 :

Drink plenty of water. It is recommended that you drink 8 glasses per day, but that may take you some time to work up to. Your body needs a whole lot of water. Water doesn’t just flush all the toxins out of your body, but it makes you feel better and healthier. When you drink a lot of water you just begin to feel fit and this is the motivation you need drinking water to lose weight.

The best thing about water is you can drink as much as you want because it has no calories at all. When you’re drinking water to lose weight, you eat less as well because you won’t feel as though you are starving to death. Remember, if you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water first and you’ll realize you were probably just dehydrated and not hungry at all.
The whole 8 glasses a day rule is really something you should strive for. The best way to do this and to measure your water intake is to buy a jug from the drug.store or grocery store that is designed to hold exactly 8 glasses of water. These are great weight loss tools because you can fill them up, freeze them and as it melts throughout the day you have fresh and cold water. Or, if you don’t mind your water room temperature you can drink it that way as well. All that matters is that you’re getting in the water your body needs.

TIP #2:

Start off your day with a fresh, clean glass of water. As soon as you get up in the morning, drink one down. Drinking water to lose weight is also beneficial for detoxification. This will help your body to get going because it won’t be fighting through dehydration. Also, after you drink a glass of water you won’t need to eat such a large breakfast. A glass of water wakes up all the digestive juices in your body and gets it well lubricated. You can always have your morning coffee or tea, but be sure to have a glass of water afterward. Caffeine dehydrates you and you want to ward off dehydration.

TIP #3:

Drink a glass of water before you sit down to eat. Water will naturally make you feel fuller so you don’t have to eat as much food.

TIP #4:

Have a glass of water while you eat as well. Take a drink after each bite and you will feel full more quickly so you can leave the table feeling satisfied without feeling bloated. Drinking water while you eat will also help your food to settle more quickly, which also helps you to feel full faster.

TIP #5:

Do your best to stay away from soda. All sodas are sweetened with lots of sugar. The more you can cut out of your diet the better. Also, diet soda is still soda. It may not have as much sugar, but it has other chemicals and components that are not good for your body either. If you drink a soda, counteract it with a glass of water. Remember, caffeine dehydrates you as well. Decaffeinated sodas still have caffeine in small amounts as well and just as much sugar, so they are not much healthier either.

TIP #6:

Fruit juice isn’t as healthy as most people think either. Juice actually has a lot of sugar in it as well. If you are craving a glass of juice, drink fresh fruit juice instead of juice that has artificial flavors and coloring. It is even better if you can make your own fruit juice. Just be sure not to add too much sugar which adds to the calories. Instead of drinking fruit juice, eat whole fruit so that your body should get needed fiber as well as vitamins.

TIP #7:

Go easy on the tea and coffee. They are pretty much harmless if you don’t add a lot of cream and sugar to them. It is the cream and sugar that becomes fattening. Think of it this way, when you have a cup of coffee or tea with cream and two cubes of sugar, you are essentially eating a piece of chocolate cake every time. Now think of how many pieces of cake you are eating when you have a Venti Starbucks Latte – yikes.

TIP #8:

If you must have your tea and coffee, try to drink it black. Black tea or coffee actually has health benefits to it as long as you counteract the caffeine in your body with a nice big glass of water. Caffeine is also not good for you because it affects functions in your body, like your metabolism.
Another type of tea that you can drink freely is green tea. Green tea has been used as a medicine in China for over 4,000 years. It aids the digestive system and can help ease an overly full stomach and it has been linked to a reduction in cancer risk.

TIP #9:

If you can say no to alcohol, then that is best. Alcohol beverages are not exactly good for you, although a glass of red wine does have heart benefits, most are just fattening. Beer is especially fattening. Cocktails are fattening depending on what they are made of. For instance, whiskey and Coke. The whiskey may not be fattening, but the Coke definitely is. Plus, after a few drinks, most people get the munchies and when you’re feeling a little inebriated and hungry you won’t be able to make rational decisions regarding your diet and it’s usually late at night, just before you pass out from a night of drinking, that you overeat. The overall combination is just not a good one.

TIP #10:

If you must have alcohol, try dry wine. Dry wine is better than your sweet wines because sweet wines have more sugar! Dry wines have sugar, but most of it has been fermented away into alcohol and from a weight gaining perspective, dry is better.

TIP #11:

Another word on coffee, that is not necessarily bad, but more interesting than anything. Some people have reported that when they drank black coffee before exercising, they lost more weight. There’s no scientific proof to back this, but nutritionists believe it may be caused by the body being forced to depend on fat for fuel. Hey, it’s worth trying if you can stand black coffee. Just remember to drink plenty of water during your exercise!

TIP #12:

When you are drinking water to lose weight, try to avoid drinking excessive amounts of coffee, as it desensitizes your body to the natural fat burning effects that caffeine has. One or two cups (if the day’s really slow to get started) max.

water for weight loss
Is there a link between drinking water and weight loss? Yes and one that has been scientifically proven. Water for weight loss should consume with or after food helps to bulk out our food, sending messages to the brain to say that we are full so we will eat less. Water also helps in aiding the absorption of vitamins and minerals in our food. For example, fat needs water in order to be broken down and used by the body. Water also helps to flush out the waste material in our bodies and thus helps keep us in optimum health.
So how much should you be drinking and when? Amount of drinking water for weight loss is at least 2 liters of water a day, more on hot days. You should spread your consumption throughout the day. There is no need to drink bottled water as in most areas tap water is perfectly safe. If you do prefer the bottled variety, steer clear of the flavored ones. These products contain sweeteners which do not help with weight loss and may be carcinogenic.
If you do not drink sufficient water, you will feel lethargic, tired and confused. Your body may misinterpret your feelings of thirst as hunger and thus you can overeat. In fact by the time you feel thirsty your body is already starting to dehydrate hence why should drink regularly. You may find that initially, you have to go to the bathroom more often but your body will soon adapt to the increased volume.
Drinking water on its own won’t win your weight loss battle. You need to make changes in other areas as well including your diet and the level of exercise you undertake. You should aim to be doing at least twenty minutes of exercise per day. Walking 10,000 steps per day is one good way to get those calories shifted.
Any form of exercise is good for you so try to do something you enjoy. Get a group of friends together to play tennis or golf. Mixing socializing with exercise is a great way to increase your physical activity. Small things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, standing instead of sitting down and getting off the bus/subway at the stop before yours also helps.
There is no point in drinking loads of water and taking exercise if you are still eating fast food every day. You need to retrain your palate and make your diet healthier. Do it gradually. Replace your favorite bad food with something healthy. Swap your chicken nuggets for a salad. Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption while decreasing the number of cakes, candy and bad fats you eat. Not only will you lose weight but your skin will love you too.
Drinking water for weight loss will also help to give you glowing skin and you will soon become the envy of your friends when you show off your new slimmer figure at the next social occasion.