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Pranayama is the conscious and deliberate control and regulation of the breath (Prana means breath, ayam means to control, to regulate). With each breath we absorb not only oxygen, but also Prana. Prana is cosmic energy, the power in the Universe that creates, preserves and changes. It is the basic element of life and consciousness. Prana is also found in food, therefore it is very important to have a healthy and wholesome vegetarian diet.
The conscious guidance of Prana in the body gives rise to an increase in vitality, physical detoxification and improved immunity, as well as the attainment of inner peace, relaxation and mental clarity.
In mythology it is said that the length of a person's life is predetermined by the number of breaths. The Yogi tries to “conserve time” and lengthen life by slowing down the breath .
Preservation of the body’s health
Purification of the blood
Improvement in the absorption of oxygen
Strengthening the lungs and heart
Regulation of blood pressure
Regulation of the nervous system
Supporting the healing process and healing therapies
Increasing resistance to infection
Elimination of stress, nervousness and depression
Quietening of thoughts and emotions
Release of energy blockages
Deepening of meditation
Awakening and purification of the Chakras (energy centres)
Expansion of consciousness
One exception is the technique of Bhastrika Pranayama (Level 5). In this Pranayama one does breathe more rapidly during the practice, however, after that the breathing becomes slower and deeper.