March 16, 2024

What Are the Benefits of Pranayama?

Pranayama is a yoga practice which emphasizes breathing exercises to harmonize mind and body, including anxiety, stress and certain physical ailments such as high blood pressure. Pranayama can help restore equilibrium to both sides of the mind-body relationship.

Scientific research confirms the therapeutic potential of pranayama to enhance quality of life. One study demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy of pranayama for those receiving cancer chemotherapy; specifically it could significantly reduce fatigue, nausea and anxiety as well as sleep disturbance and psychological symptoms. Another research paper suggests pranayama's effectiveness at protecting telomeres (compound structures that protect our chromosomes), with each cell division shortening them further; further degradation can contribute to age-related illnesses like Alzheimer's Disease or dementia.

There are various pranayama exercises, each providing its own set of benefits. Some examples are:

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

This technique, commonly referred to as alternate nostril breathing, involves switching the flow of air through your left and right nostrils. To practice it properly, sit comfortably with legs crossed or in Vajrasana pose and inhale slowly and deeply through both nostrils before exhaling through mouth in order to release tension and remain calm.

According to a 2018 study, practicing this breath technique three to five minutes multiple times daily for 3 to 5 minutes can strengthen and improve lung function, according to pranayama techniques. However, it should not be practiced by those with high blood pressure or heart conditions; additionally, some pranayama techniques involve abdominal contractions with an upward movement that should not be practiced while menstruating or pregnant.

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