Guide to Meditation and Meanings
has many important benefits, and meditation and pranayama can help
us live longer, happier and more productive lives. It is important
to understand just what these terms mean, but first a few of the important
benefits of pranayama and meditation.
- Meditation and pranayama can help improve breathing and reduce
- Meditation and pranayama can help to lower blood pressure
- Meditation and pranayama can help the organs of the body, like
the lungs and the heart, work more efficiently
- Meditation and pranayama can help us gain control over the mind,
improve memory and concentration.
- Meditation and pranayama can calm our thoughts, relieve tension
and reduce feelings of frustration.
is Pranayama? It would be wrong to call pranayama a technique, since
the word technique tends to lessen the importance of this important
practice. Pranayama is derived from two words - prana and ayama. Prana
means "breath" and ayama means "dimension", thus
pranayama is a conscious way to breathe in order to achieve the desired
results. The breathing cycle of pranayama is divided into three steps:
(divided into anta-kumbhaka and bahya-kumbhaka)
part is the puraka step. During this step the inhalation is
slow enough for the practitioner to feel the air filling the lungs
and nourishing the body. During normal breathing we do not typically
experience this, since the breaths we take are shallow. During pranayama,
however, we consciously attempt to fill our lungs completely and deeply,
and we see our lungs expand to their maximum dimension. The inhalation
is peaceful and complete.
is the exhalation portion of the breathing exercise. The rechaka is
equally slow and deliberate, and the practitioner will feel his or
her lungs contracting.
or kumbhaka has two types - internal retention (antar-kumbhaka)
and external retention (bahya-kumbhaka). The first one is very important,
since it gives the alveoli plenty of time to exchange the oxygen the
inhalation has brought into the lungs, and plenty of time for the
lungs to take the carbon dioxide out of the lungs during the exhalation.
It is important to retain the breath in the lungs in order to give
them plenty of time to make this important exchange.
volume of air exchanged during a normal breathing cycle is between
200ml and 300ml. However, with careful and conscious breathing during
pranayama, it is possible to increase this volume of air up to as
much as 500ml for a healthy adult practitioner.
the typical pranayama session, the practitioner should chant the mantra
"Om" for 10 to 12 seconds while performing the breathing
exercises. The chant can be
volume of air handled per cycle of breathing is measured and is around
200 - 300 ml. But with the watchful and conscious pranayama, it is
found to increase up to 500 ml in healthy adults.
the practice of pranayama, the mantra "Om" should be chanted
for 10 to 12 seconds, while you inhale and exhale completely. This
time can be extended depending on the comfort level of the practitioner.
order to get a feel for the effectiveness of this technique, place
your palm flat on your diaphragm as you start chanting and move to
your mid chest and finally to the top of your lung.
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