Pranayama is a combination word derived from two Sanskrit words, Prana and Yama, which together mean ‘controlling the life.’ Yoga Pranayama involves regulating the breathing cycle with different breathing patterns. People practice Pranayama to maintain a healthy respiratory cycle and to attain mental calm. (READ our blog on the benefits of Pranayama)
Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of Yoga, or the Ashtanga, that focuses on the importance of regulated breathing. (READ about the Ashtanga).
People commonly resort to Yoga and Pranayama to ensure good health and well-being. But did you know Pranayama also assists to attain your spiritual goals with great ease? Let us study Pranayama and spirituality individually to know their deeper connection.
What Is Yoga Pranayama?
Everyone who has attended a Yoga class has most likely practiced simple breathing exercises. Breathing is an involuntary action that comes naturally to all living beings. We breathe all the time without being aware of the act or its effects on us.
Yoga Pranayama teaches us to be aware of and focus entirely on our breathing cycle. Conscious breathing can be controlled easily, which is essential for a healthy mind, spirit, and body. Yoga experts recommend practicing breathing techniques at a fixed time every day for the best results.
On the physical level, Pranayama improves lung functions and curbs respiratory infections and chronic lung disorders that affect the breathing cycle. Tuberculosis, chronic obstructive lung disorders, emphysema, and chronic allergic bronchitis are common disorders that respond positively to Pranayama. Yoga breathing techniques also develop a solid and healthy mind more resistant to psychological disturbances.
One of the lesser-explored aspects of Pranayama is its positive effect on one’s spiritual growth. Our ability to introspect, be aware of our true selves, and develop a sense of what is good and bad for us reflects our spiritual growth.
This blog explores the different ways in which Pranayama assists spiritual growth.
Spiritual Growth: The Me Connection
“Knowing Others Is Wisdom. Knowing Yourself Is Enlightenment”
People have often misconstrued the concept of spirituality and are blissfully ignorant of its importance in their daily lives. A calm and serene person dressed in pastel shades, sitting in deep meditation is not the complete definition of spirituality. Yes, spirituality is closely associated with meditation and helps to attain a state of mental calm. But there is a lot more to spiritual growth than serenity and happiness. Spiritual growth is as vital to human development as psychological and physical growth. (CLICK HERE to know more)
Spiritual growth happens when we learn to reflect upon our behavior and find who we indeed are. We must look within and seek our true selves to nurture our spiritual health. (CLICK HERE to read how Yoga allows you to grow spiritually) We must embark on a path of spiritual growth to discover the true purpose of our lives and what we desire to achieve. When one begins to understand the true essence of spiritual growth, one can distinguish between life’s temporary and permanent joys. Our spiritual health significantly influences our mental development and helps to shape an ideology that suits our personal goals. When you grow spiritually, you are more aware of yourself, your true purpose, and your true connection with your surroundings.
Pranayama techniques are well-suited to enhance one’s spiritual growth and establish a deeper connection with oneself. Let us move to the next section of the blog to find out how!
Principles Of Pranayama
You must know some rules and principles of Pranayama to understand its positive effects on one’s spiritual growth. Pranayama techniques include variations of shallow and deep breathing, fast and slow breathing, and rapid and controlled breathing. Below are some Pranayama rules that apply to all breathing techniques.
- Begin Pranayama by clearing your mind of worrisome thoughts and negative emotions.
- Choose to practice Pranayama in an environment that is adequately lit, well-ventilated, and devoid of disturbances.
- Seat yourselves comfortably in a position you can retain for a long time during your Pranayama session.
- Always close your eyes lightly to allow better focus during Pranayama.
- Imagine absorbing positivity and energy with every breath you take and releasing all your stress with every exhalation while practicing Pranayama.
- Choose an arbitrary point and re-center your focus on that point whenever you feel distracted during Pranayama.
Those who seek spiritual growth must tread a difficult path and overcome many obstacles. Pranayama aims to restore a sense of calm and stability to one’s mind and body, which are imperative for spiritual growth.
Pranayama For Spiritual Growth
- Improved Focus
Your Yoga instructor will focus entirely on your breathing when practicing Pranayama. Regular practice of Pranayama will enhance your power of concentration. Your spiritual growth relies heavily on your ability to focus on a particular person, object, or thought process for a long time.
People who wish to attain higher spiritual well-being often resort to meditation. A sharp mental focus always helps in effective meditation and gaining more spiritual knowledge. When you are blessed with superior mental concentration, you will find it easier to introspect and connect with yourself.
- Channelizing Your Emotions
Spiritual growth involves identifying and converting your weaknesses into your strength. People on their spiritual journey can confront their emotions and feelings without suppressing them. Pranayama techniques allow you to relate to each of your emotions and channel them toward something constructive and helpful. You will often find that simple breathing techniques are beneficial for your physical and mental health and significantly impact your spiritual well-being.
- Open Chakras
The seven major Chakras regulate the uninterrupted flow of the vital life force, Prana, through every human body cell. (CLICK HERE to read our blog on chakras).
Pranayama opens and aligns the third-eye chakra, which plays a pivotal role in developing a keen sense of intuition. Being intuitive allows us to establish a deeper connection with our subconscious self, which paves the way toward spiritual growth.
- Internal Cleansing
Pranayama cleanses one’s mental, spiritual, and physical health. The simple act of breathing cleanses the lungs and respiratory tubes of any mucus debris accumulated within. Pranayama effectively reduces stress, negativity, and unhealthy emotions, enabling mental cleansing. A healthy mind and body that have undergone thorough detoxification are vital to focus on your spiritual well-being.
- Calmness And Serenity
Mental calm and physical relaxation are crucial to your spiritual growth. You will not connect with your true self if you are restless or agitated. Pranayama allows you to clear your mind and reduces your physical stress. You can easily relax and focus more on your spiritual well-being if you practice Pranayama regularly.
Regular practice of Pranayama is one of the most excellent ways to discover who you are and what you seek. Nurture your mind and body with a healthy dose of Pranayama to attain your spiritual goals, and become the person you were always meant to be.