Positive Effects of Pranayama on Stress
Pranayama in simple terms can be defined as series of breathing exercises that have great impact on our health. It is an ancient method of yoga practised since centuries by yogis. Importance of pranayama is reflected in modern days and has gained popularity even in western countries.
If the technique is understood, it can be practised irrespective of time and place. Let us look at some of the benefits of practising pranayama and specific types of pranayama that help in reducing stress.
Importance of pranayama
Apart from promoting good health, pranayama has a good impact on positive thinking. The main advantage of pranayama is, it helps to overcome all the obstacles that block the flow of air from lungs to different parts of body and brain. It increases oxygen supply to brain, as low oxygen levels increase stress. Just taking a long breath for few minutes when you feel tense, will quit away all your tension and restlessness. While doing pranayama, you will be concentrating only on the way the air is taken in and released out. So, regularly doing pranayama increases your concentration power. It is like a mind-body exercise.
Types of pranayama that reduce stress:
Nadi shodhana pranayama
Nadi means ‘nerves’. We can simply say that this type of pranayama has positive effect on nervous system, specially brain. This technique will help overcome chronic stress and the stress faced in daily life. It balances flow of air to all parts of nervous system, increases quick response of body to brain signals, maintains balance between tension and stress normally.
Ujjayi means ‘victory’ in English. In yogic terms, attaining victory means gaining control over breath and body. This technique involves creating pressure on some sinuses present near throat called ‘carotid sinuses’, because pressure on this sinuses will help in controlling heart beat that is raised during stress. Ujjayi pranayama helps to overcome conditions like high blood pressure, heart related problems, anxiety exerted due to stress, etc.
Brahmari, Bhastrika and Kapalbhati pranayama
Brahmari has positive impact on situations that are out of your control like ‘hysteria’ (unmanageable emotions resulting from past or present experiences) and anxiety. Bhastrika and Kapalbhati will help in boosting energy that is wasted in stress situations. They increase enthusiasm and spirit by supplying energy to nervous system.
Sheetal means ‘cool’. This pranayama will have cooling effect on your mind as well as body. During stress, body and mind get heated that will decrease your thinking power. By practising Sheetal pranayama, one can increase their peace of mind, can avoid discomforts like acidity, burning eyes, rashes, etc. It also helps in having a good sleep.
Practice these simple techniques according to your comfort to lead to stress free life.