Pranayama is derived from 2 Sanskrit words –
Prana (life force) and Ayama (control)
Therefore, in its broadest description, Prananyama would mean the control of the flow of life force. To most, control of breath is Pranayama. However, this is a result of wrong interpretation.
For a rightful interpretation, it must be understood that 'prana' is an energy or life force that is universal in nature - it is omnipresent. A portion of that prana is also present in the human body. It flows at a superficial level to maintain the body and its organs.
The goal of Pranayama is to increase the quantum of this life force (Prana) so that it can reach out to 'hidden' recesses of the brain. This helps in expanding the human faculties and retarding degeneration.
Benefits of Pranayama:
Pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress related disorder.
Pranayama improves the autonomic functions.
It helps relieving the symptoms of asthma.
It reduces the signs of oxidative stress in the body.
Practicing pranayama everyday can assist in steady mind, strong will power and sound judgement.
Regular pranayama can extend life and enhance ones perception of life.
Number of studies show that pranayama causes change in the cardio respiratory system including lowering of blood pressure
Certain pranayama’s are excellent for weight loss.