Yoga and meditation are increasingly gaining popularity among the health-conscious the world over. But it is not possible for many of us to practice yoga religiously after a hard day's work. Let's have a look at a kind of breathing exercise that does not take away our energy - a kind of relaxation in which our consciousness is alert, Pranayama.
According to G Gautama, the author of Raja Yoga Pranayama, Pranayama is an experiment in stillness. It is a subtle and dynamic exploration involving the art of breathing. It gives a veritable understanding of the prana or the vital force that moves us. It's an exercise without spending energy, and relaxation without any stimulation.
In our daily life, we are so unenviably pressurized and embroiled in our worldly problems that an added bout of exercise seems tiresome. We often fail to find any respite from our daily schedule, an interval which is indispensable for the sustenance of energy. In such a predicament, the only solution you can perhaps opt for is Pranayama. It's indeed a sound answer to this chaotic situation.
It's indeed amazing that sitting and breathing evenly can be a means of tapping deeper resources within us. Devoting half an hour a day even for a week reveals the beauty of this practice. It increases the quality of alertness of the mind, which becomes capable of looking afresh and thinking in completely new ways.
Breath is not only the nourishment of our body but it is also the one essential link between the terrestrial and the vast expanse of the cosmos, for it ties us through its incessant cycles to the universal order of things.
Patanjali, the sage who formulated the Yoga system, the science of oneness, says that Pranayama is a step to be one with God. It enables one to switch off the five senses of sight, smell, taste, touch and sound and provides the concentration to enjoy divine presence.
Paramhamsa Yogananda says, "At night when you're free from your material duties, look into your spiritual welfare. Meditate, pray - pray again and again. Practice the techniques of meditation to master the restlessness of the mind."
But meditation is incomplete without Pranayama. So in order to meditate well, you should also practice Pranayama to control the life force in the body. After successful Pranayama, you will find your mind fully alert and concentrated within - ready to enjoy the divine peace and presence of God in meditation.