Prana - Ayama is made of two words. Prana, meaning the life force, vital energy, life energy, the breath. Yama means extension. Thus Pranayama means extension of life force.
The techniques of Pranayama provide the method to enhance the life force.
On a physical level it helps increasing the levels of oxygen into the lungs, increasing their capacities. On a mental level, it helps calming the mind, removing stress, sensation of fatigue and gives us higher state of awareness and energy.
A very important part of Pranayama is breath retention. Before we can increase our levels of breath retention, we focus on a inhalation and exhalation to strengthen the lungs and balance the nervous system. See method below.
The breath is the most vital process in the body which influences each and every cell and is linked with the performance of the brain.
Humans usually only use a small part of their lung capacity, about 1/3. The breathing is shallow. Pranayama helps increasing the breathing capacities, absorption of energy, enhanced dynamism, vitality and general wellbeing.
Alternate Nostril Breathing - Anulum Vilom:
Close your eyes and sit in a comfortable position, ideally cross legged and rest your hands on your knees. Keep your spine long.
Close the right nostril with the right thumb. Inhale slowly through the left nostril, inhale the oxygen as much as you can. Fill your lungs with air. Count how long it takes to fill in your lungs with oxygen.
Remove your thumb from your right nostril, place your ring finger against your left nostril and exhale through the right nostril. If possible, for the same amount of time that it took to fill in your lungs.
Inhale through the right nostril - hold - Exhale through the left.
Repeat this process for 5 minutes.
Reduces anxiety, stress
Improves the capacity of the lungs.
Improves your immune system
Suitable Pranayama for all
Anulom Vilom Pranayama is also known as Nadi Shodhana pranayama (alternate nostril breathing). Nadi Shodhana is the next level of Anulom Vilom. In Anulom Vilom Pranayama we inhale and exhale, but in Nadi Shodhana pranayama we hold (kumbhaka or retention) then exhale.