Pranayama is a study of a breath control that aims to bring peace of mind and internal balance of a nervous system. Its literal meaning explains the entire essence, as prana is air, breath, life force and yama is a control, discipline. After connecting these two words we have pranayama which is a control of a breath and a control of a life force.
We breathe all the time without a break and usually we do not pay attention to this process; doing it subconsciously. However, if we want, we are able to control breath and consciously accelerate it or slow it down. Breath is a process bordering on our consciousness and subconscious, because breathing has an impact not only on our body but also on our mind.
Unfortunately, we very often forget about the breath, which results in shallower and uneven breathing; and as we breathe using just a tiny surface of the lung, we cause that the other one, the one we do not use for many years, is slowly decreasing and dying; which ultimately leads to dropp in efficiency, energy and vigor of our body.
Uneven and shallow breathing also affects our state of mind. Next time you feel stressed, upset, or you're just in a bad mood, stop for a moment, observe your breath and notice what is happening to it and then start to breathe evenly and deeply. You'll see that it helps and improves the condition of your mind. Now, imagine if we were constantly conscious about breathing regularly and deeply; if that breath would be steadily under control.. Controlling breath is what we call pranayama, though it is not purely physiological; it is also a tool used in yoga to calm the restless mind.
Pranayama is an art that has developed method of rhythmic and intense movement and expansion of the respiratory organs. It is a process consisting of a long, continuous and gentle stream of inhalation (puraka), exhalation (recaka) and retention (kumbhaka). Puraka stimulates the body; recaka get rids of the polluted air and toxins; kumbhaka distributes the energy throughout the entire body.
Disciplined and controlled breathing will help your mind stay focused and will allow it to achieve excellent health and longevity. Keep in mind that Pranayama is not habitual, automatic breathing necessary to keep the body alive. By using its precise techniques, our body experiences the abundant oxygen intake; that gives it a sense of a subtle chemical change within. The practice of asanas removes the obstacles inhibiting the free flow of prana, and the practice of pranayama regulates its flow throughout the body. It also regulates thoughts and desires making the mind balanced and the body strengthen. All that aims to built our willpower that makes as a masters of ourselves.
may the peace vibe your life