All living beings possess common basic life core and that is breathing. Breath is the most common indication of life force that defines a living being. Yoga found remarkable importance of the art of deep breathing in the holistic healing of body and mind. Pranayama is practiced by many yogis to cultivate physical, intellectual and spiritual well-being.
Yoga gurus from diverse backgrounds all across India had each established and developed their own “art of deep breathing” techniques, which they commonly call Pranayama. Pranayama comes from two coined words “prana” meaning breath or life force and “ayama” meaning expansion or lengthen. Pranayama translates as “expansion of breath” or prolonging life span and/or lengthening life force in basic English language.
But before anybody progress into practicing the art of deep breathing, the following basics must be taken into consideration.
Basic Pranayama Requisites:
- Time – the most ideal time to do Pranayama exercises is the early hours of the morning when the air is at its purest. At the break of dawn 1-2 hours before the sunlight breaks the sky. This is also the time when the mind and body is at its most renewed state. This is also the time when everything inside the bowels are already digested, most preferable to have clean bowels before starting Pranayama exercises.
After the sun has set for the day is another ideal time too, when the air has its highest oxygen level the same level as with the time before sunrise.
- Place – a clean, orderly, well ventilated room where one can move freely will definitely do as a place to practice Pranayama exercises. Be sure there’s enough space where a yoga mat can be placed and arms and legs will not knock down anything during the exercises. A room away from distracting noise is another essential qualification of an ideal place for Pranayama exercises too. Fan or air-conditioning is a no, no to avoid chills, that’s why “a well-ventilated room” is required.Outdoors; lawns or gardens will be ideal places too. Make sure the weather is right one for staying outdoors. Right weather is not too cold or too hot and no strong wind is blowing that will blow away anything light placed down.
- Take note not to eat 3-4 hours before. Vegan diets followed by Yogis are the most ideal diets to follow when practicing Pranayama, the foods are easy to digest, and it will be easier to clear the stomach before doing Pranayama. 30 minutes is the allowed time between last intake of water or a much better option, lime juice and the start of any deep breathing exercises.
- Loose fitting clothes will allow keeping the Pranayama postures easier and more comfortable to maintain during the course of the exercises. There are some Yoga postures recommended for Pranayama exercises. But for beginners it’s alright to sit on a chair, relaxed and comfortable but with backbone straight and head is kept in line with body not hanging forward or lolling backward. Be sure to have slept well the night before when doing Pranayama in the morning and not too tired the whole day before choosing to do it in the evening.
These are the basic principles behind Pranayama, and a lot of Pranayama routines can be found if one is interested. Be guided and choose the most suited to your quest for the best holistic healing or rejuvenating exercise. Anyhow, an answer can always be found if only one looked for it.