The Benefits Of Yoga
How Prana Vashya Yoga benefits mind and physiology
Prana Vashya means 'breath control'. 'Prana' is the life force that provides the body with energy. 'Vashya' means control and it
signifies the voluntary effort to control and direct this prana.
Controlling your breath can have massive benefits for both body and mind. The breath is the bridge between mind and body.
Yoga itself is derived from the word “YUJ” in Sanskrit which means to join / to unite. The union envisaged is that of mind and body. The breath is the key to uniting the mind with the body. In modern life there are too many distractions, that is too many things going on to think about and the natural breath (and behaviours) are lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The breath can bring us back to ourselves; to the present moment.
Breathing itself is only a semi-voluntary process; the subconscious mind regulates the breathing for most of the time (whilst the conscious mind is elsewhere). Thus, bad breathing habits (which people develop over time and which most of us are completely unaware of) are stored in the subconscious mind. Re-programming the subconscious mind with good/ natural breathing habits is a primary goal of yoga.
Only yoga exercises the lungs in more than one dimension. There are at least five separate dimensions to lung mobility.
The first is the anterior dimension; the way your chest ordinarily rises and falls as you breathe. This anterior movement of the lungs is the same movement utilised when exercising, sleeping, and in general. But the lungs can be trained to move in all five dimensions with a regular practice of yoga. In fact, only yogi’s can “breathe into their backs”. This is because certain yoga asana (postures) compress the anterior line of the body, forcing the ribs and intercostals to move in a posterior dimension. The practitioner continues to breathe calmly whilst in each position, which soon trains the lungs to move in this posterior dimension.
In a similar way, other positions compress other parts of the body (and use the influence of gravity) to force the lungs to breath in a sideways dimension. Certain other yoga asana also force the diaphragm to do all the work (in a downwards dimension). In addition, lung mobility can be localised, forcing just one lung to work at a time or for some other specific part of the body to do the work.
Additional lung mobility increases cleanliness in the lungs, which heightens the overall intake of oxygen, promotes better circulation of more pure blood and which strengthens the bronchial muscles. The more oxygen a person can utilise, the calmer a person will be as their capacity to resist stress will increase. This is because yoga asana is an imbalance on the mind / a stressful situation for the human brain. When the pattern of breath changes from one asana to another but the brain has to remain calm, this is good programming which yoga supports. This teaches the mind to remain calm in the face of adversity. It also ensures more oxygen gets to the right place when needed.