Prana means life, breath, respiration, vitality or energy. Ayama means length, expansion, stretching or restraint. Pranayama thus connotes expansion, restraint and stretching of breath. In practice of pranayama inhalation, exhalation and holding of breath represent stimulation, calmness and stillness respectively.
After initiation to asana and coordination of breath with the body posture, one can move ahead with pranayama.
Pranayama in yoga practice:
1. Vitalizing: Kapalbhati
2. Cooling: Sheetali
3. Balancing: Nadi Shodhana
4. Psychic: Ujjayi
5. Tranquillizing: Bhramari
Effect of pranayama:
In pranayama lungs are inflated to the maximum capacity and air pressure is increased in the lungs. This further leads to better oxygenation of the body which augments adequate release of chemicals in brain and endocrine glands. Heart beat also stabilizes because of breathing exercises mediated through autonomic nervous system.
Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda, M.B.B.S., M.D.