You’ll often see the words Pranayama Yoga written together and this gives people the idea that it’s a type of yoga. It’s actually a technique rather than a style and is a part of yoga, rather than a type of yoga itself.
It actually means to take control of one’s breathing in order to correctly to control the body’s energy. When the breathing function is out of whack, it follows that everything else within the body follows suit.
Uneven breathing during times of stress or strenuous exercise can lead to the organs in the body not getting enough oxygen. The lungs were meant to fill deeply with oxygen and to exhale, releasing carbon dioxide. Not knowing how to breathe properly can cause an imbalance in releasing that carbon dioxide.
The correct breathing patterns can help the body to properly function and it’s one of the reasons why it’s an important part of training in yoga postures. If you’ve ever been angry, you might have heard the phrase, “Take a deep breath and count to ten.”
Many people assume that the counting to ten is what helps to calm the mind and to let go of the anger but it’s the deep breathing that controls the emotions and helps to focus on behavior. It makes a person think before acting and to make better decisions over out of control actions done in anger.
In Pranayama Yoga, breathing is the core of the yoga, it is the self discipline that will help take you from doing the asanas to experiencing the asanas. Proper posture during the yoga allows the lungs to fill to capacity and lets the body receive the oxygen it needs. Having correct breathing function benefits every one of the organs and promotes a vigor to help sustain energy.
There are different stages of breathing in yoga and each one is necessary for the various asanas to progress to the next one. Each stage works together in function as a cycle. Inhale. Exhale.
Four Stages of Breathing
There are four types of breathing associated with yoga.
The first stage, the Puraka, is an inhale. The second stage is the Kumbhaka, which means to hold on to the breath that was inhaled. Rechaka is the next stage and is a slow exhale. The final stage is a brief wait after the exhale.
The purpose of the stages of breathing in Pranayama Yoga is to free the body from the toxic impurities that trap the flow of energy and keep the body from experiencing the release that yoga can bring.