Importance Of Pranayama And Breath?
Our life starts with the inhalation of breath and ends with the exhalation of breath. We may say, life appears in between incoming and outgoing breaths. Our life depends on a constant flow of oxygen being delivered to each cell in our body. Thus, every role of our body, our every action, and even our thoughts and emotions are associated with our breath.
All our emotional, physical, and also mental stress have a corresponding pattern of breathing compared with it. Moreover, the elemental rhythm of our heartbeat is personally connected with the rest of our bodies.
But what does breath have to allow that has such a massive impact on our body, our life, and our existence? The answer is ‘Prana’- the earthly life force. As the level of Prana in the body increases, we bubble with joy. This explains why concentrating on the breath is important. As a result, pranayama performs a pivotal role in all aspects of yoga.
Scientific Benefits Of Pranayama
There are many advantages of practicing pranayama. As stated earlier, having a proper flow of prana in the Nadis and Chakras enhances the overall bodily and mental capacities.
Naturally, these advantages don’t come from magic. Therefore there has been numerous scientific and medical research on yoga, pranayama, and its benefits on health. Here are some of the scientific examples of how Pranayama operates.
How Does Pranayama Relieve Stress
Our body has an autonomic nervous system with parasympathetic and sympathetic flow. This system is mostly behind our control and its main function is to help our body return to the external stimulus so we can adapt to the environment where we are nowadays.
Here the sympathetic system is responsible for coping with anxiety, or in simple words, it serves our body for fight, flight, and fight conditions. On the other hand, the parasympathetic system benefits to bring everything to normal and make us calm.
When we are shown to have chronic stress, irregular sleeping pattern, and a monotonous lifestyle, our sympathetic system activates quickly. This activation events in an increased breathing rate, hypertension, chronic anxiety, cardiac problems, and critical case depression.
Therefore, understanding long and deep breathing helps to excite the parasympathetic outflow through the vagus nerve (The neuro transmitted being acetylcholine). The acetyl-choline, in turn, serves as a depressant and relaxant which reduces the heart rate, relaxes the sphincter of the bowel and bladder, improves salivation and relief of gastric juices for digestion, and most importantly, soothes the brain.
Moreover, acetylcholine plays a significant role in attention, motivation, arousal, and memory. Maybe this is the cause why you can not remember what you study when you are giving an exam following stress.
Pranayama and Stem Cells
Stem Cells are the cells that are already in the body from the embryonic period of life and which can replicate to give the same model as the parent cell. These cells can be very powerful in the time of growth and also replace dead and damaged cells.
However, there are situations in which the set cells cannot proliferate which directly affects the well-being of the body. It has been accurately proven that Pranayama plays a very significant role in the division of stem cells in the body.
Moreover, Pranayama also has been thought of as a technique that can create new stem cells, however, while offering pranayama the flow of prana is the Sushumna Nadi due to which stem cell generation improves rapidly. It is also believed that regulated breathing techniques are responsible for the stimulation of cells in the hypothalamus region which reduces the aging process and enhances the formation of stem cells.
Pranayama Helps With Anti-Aging
It is no wonder that one will age slowly after explaining the fact about stem cells and how Pranayama aids in replacing dead/damaged cells. However, here aging is not being considered physical aging, Like getting wrinkles and weak bones, but it is being applied to as the aging of the brain.
As we age, outbrain tissue moves into the demyelination process and many neurons die. Unfortunately, neurons cannot begin once they have become revitalized. Therefore, we end up having very bad thoughts as we grow old. So, can pranayama help to fix this problem? Yes, it can!
- Firstly this technique serves to increase stem cell growth
- Secondly, the statement acetylcholine improves the nerve connection as it helps in memory.
- Thirdly, the flow of blood and oxygenation is so good after Pranayama that no cell in the brain will undergo anaerobic respiration which in turn lowers the neuron death and production of free radicals.
Pranayama is a simple technique with countless benefits. For those trying to pursue a spiritual path, pranayama is The stepping stone. Regular practice of pranayama for a long time also serves to feel perception beyond the physical body. The perception of chakra, the flow of prana, the details of Pacha Tattva, and the proper use of hand mudra all help to achieve a certain level of spiritual well-being.