Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
The cleansing breath
Pranayama is a compound word which constitutes of the two words Prana and Ayama. Where prana stands for vital energy, Ayama for extension. Pranayama means to extend the vital energy. The practice of Pranayama can be taken up safely and profitably only as a part of the full yogic discipline and when adequately prepared of other accessories of yoga such as Yama – Niyama and Asana. The yogic practitioner must understand its rationale and limit to which one can go with safety in the manipulation of breathing for the sake of promoting physical and mental health.
- Deep breathing has nothing to do with Pranayama and may be practiced as an exercise for promoting health to any reasonable extent. Its beneficial effects depend chiefly upon the increased intake of oxygen and a somewhat greater influx of prana into the body. As it does not affect the Pranic currents in the body its practice is not attended by any risks.
Breathing alternately through the two nostrils begins at once to affect the Pranic currents to a certain extent and tends to remove the congestion from the channels in which Prana flows normally. When we breathe normally the pranic currents follow their natural course. When we breathe alternately through the two nostrils their normal flow is disturbed in some way. The effect may be likened to the flow of water in a pipe. When the water is flowing in one direction placidly, slit and other things may be deposited at the bottom and are not to any marked extent by the water. But try to force to the water in the opposite directions alternately and you at once disturb the deposit and if the process is continued long enough the pipe gets cleaned ultimately. This is how breathing alternately through the two nostrils may be supposed to clean the pranic channels or to ‘purify the Nadis ‘. This purification of the nadis is a preparatory practice and all those who intended to practice pranyama. The practice of pranayama helps to maintain perfect health and results in tranquility