The respiratory system enables us to breathe. It is the system that facilitates the inhaling of oxygen and exhaling of carbon dioxide. Respiration is necessary for sustaining all forms of life. It is possible to survive without food or water for a few days, but when respiration stops, it’s impossible to live further. Even so, it is true that some have difficulty in breathing, and some even have respiratory problems.
However, through the use of Pranayama, or the so-called Yoga Breathing Exercise, the respiratory system will function better. It automatically improves the circulatory system by cleansing the gateway of the respiratory system to the mind and body. Pranayama works with the energy in the body, because it is the science of energy control. Pranayamaic breathing is one of the classifications of respiration wherein the entire lungs function to their fullest. Pranayama is composed of two Sanskrit words, ‘prana’ meaning breath, and ‘ayama’ meaning extend; combined, it means extending the breath. Through Pranayama, yoga teaches us to relax the mind, to achieve higher states of consciousness.
Researchers assert that Pranayama techniques are beneficial in healing a range of stress-related disorders. It improves autonomic functions, relieves symptoms of asthma, and reduces signs of oxidative stress. Practitioners also assert that the practice of Pranayama develops a strong will-power, a steady mind, and sound judgement. Moreover, they also claim that continuous Pranayama practice extends one’s life and improves perception, better than other breathing exercises.