Pranayama: The Ayurvedic Health Benefits Of Balanced Breathing



Have you ever thought about the way you breathe or the real magic behind your breathing? What will happen if your breath stops for a minute or two? Unimaginable and sounds pathetic, right? Pranayama can be called as the art of breathing for healthy living. This Sanskrit word means ‘extension of the life force’ in which ‘Prana’ means ‘breath or life force’ and ‘ayama’ means ‘expansion or to extend’. Ancient Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita have explained in detail about ‘Prana’ and its role in health and ailments. According to Ayurveda, Pranayama is a respiratory exercise and an exemplary technique to maintain physical health and augment mental health through spiritual values while harmonizing with the universal prana.

What is Pranayama? Pranayama is a vital part of the Yogic science, which is the sister science of Ayurveda. With the clear definition derived from the above para, all I have to explain about this spiritual healing technique is that it is the ‘control of breathing in a learned style’. This ideal breathing practice helps the body to meet its necessary oxygen requirements and release carbon-di-oxide and other toxins from the body. Pranayama should be done only after getting a proper training from an expert in Yoga. If done incorrectly, this exercise might increase the imbalances in the doshas, consequently ending up with diseases.

The three simple steps of Pranayama include Puraka (Inhalation), Kumbhaka (Retention) and Recaka (Exhalation). Slow and deep inhalation helps in the intake of enough oxygen for the body followed by total retention of the inhaled oxygen, which enables the system to acquire it. At the time of retaining the breath within, attention is focused on any particular part of the body like the forehead or the heart for gaining inner light. The final step is exhalation that is done through lungs or abdomen, where the impurities from your body are exhaled out.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Pranayama: Ayurveda is a holistic healing methodology that considers an individual as a universe in the universe based upon the solid principle that universe is also made up of the 5 vital elements and human body is also made up of the same 5 elements. Ayurveda considers ‘Pranayama’ as a juncture at which an individual’s own consciousness attains oneness with the universal consciousness. This paves way for realizing the immortal spirit vested within our body. The most significant health benefits of Pranayama according to Ayurveda are:

1. Enhances the quality of life: Pranayama or Yogic breathing helps you learn the art of deep and slow breathing, which aids in reduced rate of breathing. The normal respiratory rate in adults is about 12 breaths per minute at the time of rest. Increased respiratory rate like 20 or 30 breaths per minute are seen only in sick people, especially who are diagnosed with cancer, cystic fibrosis, HIV/AIDS and few other chronic conditions. Dr AC Guyton has said in The Textbook of Medical Physiology that “All chronic pain, suffering and diseases are caused from a lack of oxygen at the cell level”. Ayurveda recommends the practice of Pranayama to acquire enough oxygen to all the cells of the body and for reduced rate of breathing say about 5 to 6 breaths per minute. This helps in relaxation of nerves and muscles while lessening the wear and tear of internal organs.

2. Longevity or Increased life span: Increased life span or longevity is based upon an individual’s rate of breathing, according to Yoga, the sister science of Ayurveda. Pranayama teaches one to lower the rate of breathing and directly contributes to increased life span. As most of us know, one of the predominant living organisms on earth that has the highest life span is Tortoise and the major reason being its reduced rate of breathing that is only 4 to 5 breaths per minute.

3. Contributes to a healthy heart: A healthy heart is an incredible treasure supporting your welfare. This is an active organ of the body that works 24/7 in all the 365 days in a year. Practicing Pranayama regularly helps in the circulation of more oxygen to the blood and consequently supplies more oxygen to the heart and its muscles. This supports better functioning of your heart and effectively removes the toxins from the body.

4. Improves mental health: Inculcating regular practice of Pranayama strengthens your mind and grants you ultimate solace. A disturbed mind and a stressful life demands most of our time and steals our joy and serenity. Pranayama can also be called as positive breathing as it sows positive thoughts in our mind and emancipates the negative feelings like materialism, anger, depression, jealousy, stinginess, sluggishness, egotism and many other. This healing exercise improves the concentration power and paves way for better memory, enhanced spiritual skills and the eternal feeling of inner peace and harmony.

5. Healthy aging: Pranayama is the perfect way of treating the imbalances of all the three doshas namely vata, pitta and kapha. Vata aggravation leads to ill-health especially when a person turns older. Practicing Pranayama on a regular basis helps in keeping the mind and body in control. The sufficient amount of oxygen taken in by the body assists in treating Vata imbalances where Air is the predominant energy. This helps in protecting the health of the heart and lungs while preventing the negative symptoms of aging like rheumatism, backache, loss of vitality, solidifying arteries, improper blood circulation, dry and wrinkled skin, listless diaphragm and much more.

Start practicing Pranayama in a clean, bug-free environment especially in the early hours of the day when the energy levels of your body and the nature are at its best. Using aromatic Ayurvedic essential oils with therapeutic values while doing Pranayama can help you serve your health conditions better as it instills a positive sensation while fostering your body to accept the inner power granted by the natural fragrance of these oils. I can sense a ray of hope everyday when I practice Pranayama with the everlasting company of my favorite spiritual oils for fragrance, yes Frankincense essential oil along with Bergamot essential oil. It’s your turn now.

Thought for the day:

Inhale and God approaches you.  Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you.  Exhale, and you approach God.  Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.                                -Krishnamacharya

Suggested Reading:

  1. Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing By B. K. S. Iyengar
  2. Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha/2008 Fourth Revised Edition by Swami Satyananda Saraswati
  3. Moola Bandha: The Master Key by Swami Buddhananda
  4. Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization by Dr. David Frawley

Reference Links:

  1. Pranayama by Wikipedia
  2. Pranayama, Yoga, and Ayurveda by California College of Ayurveda
  3. Normal Respiratory Rate and Ideal Breathing by NormalBreathing.com

Ayurveda for Longevity



Recognition and fame come with apparent glory and value, for which Ayurveda stands as the best exemplar. This ancient healing science has attained worldwide recognition because of its most glorious holistic healing methodology that makes one cohesive with nature. Most of them consider Ayurveda as the mother of all healing sciences since it soothes the mind, relaxes the psyche and makes us to self-realize the true value of ourselves, thus making life worth living. Bestowing humanity with infinite boons, this ancient medical science leads the path to ‘LONGEVITY‘, which is one of the prime crave of mankind.

Longevity – What Does It Mean??? : In the eye of a commoner, longevity simply means living a long life. But Ayurveda views it in a different aspect, as it precisely defines longevity as ‘ Slowing down the aging process with a well balanced mind, body and spirit without which one cannot taste the true essence of longevity that lies in purely enjoying a state of permanent peace and tranquility’.

Why Ayurveda for Longevity??? : In this fast moving world, irrespective of the nature of the problem, every individual is in search of a remedy that yields a very quick result at a rapid pace. It becomes so natural for one to even think about Ayurveda as a means to attain longevity. Even though enormous growth in today’s modern medical science may seem to increase the life expectancy of human beings, it fails to focus on the mental part of an individual that is teemed with stress, anxiety, depression and so on… thus losing peace, which is the main purpose of leading a long life. Nothing is worse like leading a long life without peace of mind!

Ayurveda plays a vital role in making one to taste the true spirit of a long life by bringing a balance between the mind, body and spirit of an individual thus helping one to experience the eternal solace of being one with nature.

Ayurveda provides a unique holistic individualized approach of healing based on the unique natural constitution of every individual, ‘Prakruti’. It increases the quality of life of every individual, which in turn leads to increased life expectancy.

Ayurvedic Regime for Longevity: Natural harmony is one single source of solution for all our woes. Ayurveda defines a pattern of procedures to safeguard and sustain natural harmony of every individual that is often impacted by physical, emotional and environmental factors. I’ve listed down ‘the trios’ of the heartening principles of Ayurveda that will help us to step-up elegantly in the ladder of life!!!

  • Panchakarma – Detoxify Your Body First! : Once human entity is stuck with natural imbalance, it gets loaded with toxins that target every single cell in our system. To rejuvenate the body and bring it back to its natural state, Ayurveda suggests Panchakarma, which is the process of detoxifying the human body, strengthening the immune system and restoring the constitutional balance of the doshas (Governing forces of the human entity).
  • Healthy Ayurvedic Routine for the long run: Today’s world of challenges has left people with less option to redefine themselves with some powerful holistic tools like Ayurveda. Ayurvedic routine comprises some simple yet most powerful day to day practices of everlasting outcome that will urge mankind to stick to it! ‘Following a healthy Ayurvedic diet that suits the individual’s unique constitution of psyche, an Ayurvedic lifestyle that comprises of stress-free physical exercises, mind nurturing practices like Yoga and Meditation, effective usage of Ayurvedic essential oils that best suits your needs , enjoying proper sleep, binding the mind with positive thoughts that cultivate self-awareness of who you are! And acting young to stay young’ are some of the secret ingredients of the scrumptious food called ‘Health and Longevity’.

These top 3 Ayurvedic regimes for health and longevity when followed with utter adherence and discipline will definitely degrade the ‘Markers of Aging’, most important of which are Stress and Improper Stress Handling and Cell Proliferation. Thus Ayurveda serves its sole purpose of leading mankind with its holistic approach of helping humanity to lead a quality life full of virtues, making you to feel younger from within by cutting down the numbers (Age) in a lustrous way!

Stick to the Ayurvedic command and discover the magic in you, which can transform every single speed breaker of your life into a stepping stone for success! Act Young and Stay Young!! Have a long Ayurvedic life!!!

Thought for the day:

Ayurveda is a sister philosophy to yoga. It is the science of life or longevity and it teaches about the power and the cycles of nature, as well as the elements.                                                                                    -By Christy Turlington

Suggested Reading:

  1. Ayurveda: Life, Health, and Longevity By Robert E. Svoboda B.A.M.S.
  2. The Ayurveda Encyclopedia: Natural Secrets to Healing, Prevention, & Longevity By Swami Sadashiva Tirtha
  3. Health Rejuvenation and Longevity Through Ayurveda By C.M. Ghai

Reference Links:

  1. Rasayan – The Ayurvedic Perspective by Mishra RN
  2. An Introduction To Panchakarma by Vasant Lad
  3. Ayurveda’s Longevity Secrets by Gerald Lopez

Ayurvedic Ways of Healing Heart Disorders



Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. You can find the real truth of this verse if you take it close to your heart!!! Heart is one of the most vital human organs, not only because it propels oxygenated blood to the human body, but also propagates one of the most essential elixirs of human life to the humanity, which is LOVE & PEACE!!!! How difficult would it be to come across a problem with such a prodigious part of your body!!!! Even the simplest issue may lead to serious outbreaks if not treated properly. I’m not here to threaten you; rather I’m just trying to share some of the splendid ‘heart’ shielding systems of the stupendous scintillating science called as Ayurveda.

Before selecting the right treatment to proceed with, the most important thing that one should know is the root cause of the ailment that he/she suffers from. The top most imperative idea behind this fact is that it helps you to explore the depth of the treating process of an ailment and whether it progresses with the root cause rather than just momentarily moving with the ill effects of the illness. Heart diseases have become so common and the major root causes are listed below:

1. Stress – Drain the Strain from your Brain: Chronic stress is that one major contributor for heart problems for it plays a vital role in promoting hormonal alteration and biochemical retorts, which activates the cardiovascular disease and draws it under the deadly shadow of PRESSURE!! Stress is also a silent contributor to hypertension, poor eating habits, weakened digestion, slow elimination and increased cigarette smoking, which are all the major risk factors of heart diseases.

Ayurveda and Ayurvedic essential oils play an important role in dealing with the three types of stress a human body can experience namely Mental Stress, Emotional Stress & Physical Stress. Mental stress can be brought under control by managing the mental activities which is greatly induced by aromatherapy, meditation and an expert Ayurvedic massage therapy. Emotional stress can be kept at bay by undertaking an Ayurvedic pattern of daily diet which includes cup of warm milk with cooling rose petal, cardamom, garlic, onion, coriander, cilantro, mint etc. A simple self-massage with cooling oils like coconut oil can help you in the long run for managing a good night’s sleep, which is trusted to bring down your emotional stress. Physical stress can be pacified by taking the necessary rest and following moderate exercises, switching to a healthy Ayurvedic diet and a soothing Ayurvedic massage.

2. Ineffective Circulation – Try circulating it: One of the key sources of heart problems is ineffective circulation of blood, which is caused due to hardening, inflammation or congestion of the arteries. Ineffective circulation of blood can restrict blood flow as well as set excess pressure on the heart muscles and tissues. Some of the factors that greatly influence proper blood circulation and Ayurveda’s role in toning up these factors are:

  • Nutritious Food – Human’s Best Intake: The very first wealth a human should possess is health and the key technique of acquiring this wealth is the intake of nutritious food. There are certain food items that are heavier and clogging in nature. It affects blood circulation. Ayurveda suggests natural remedies in healing blood circulation issues. Arjuna (Terminalia Arjuna) is one such nature’s gift, which has some unique properties that help in strengthening the cardiac muscle, reducing arterial congestion and lowering blood pressure.
  • Digestion, Elimination, Metabolism – Three keys to better circulation: Digestion, Elimination and Metabolism are the three key processes that go hand in hand in harmonizing the process of circulation. The ability to digest is even more important than what is actually consumed. Even a nutritious food may turn notorious if the process of digestion is improper. Poor ability to digest may even turn the stalest food to toxic, which act as clogging impurities that find shelter in the vessel walls.
  • Elimination is that one process which when slows down makes the body to absorb the impurities. These impurities when absorbed not only clog the vessels but may even damage them!
  • Metabolism comes into effect in building the tissues properly and removing the waste products created by cells and tissues. There are many toxic waste products which possess the ability to damage vessel walls and one such product is free radical.

Ayurveda, as everybody knows is one source of enormous healing methodologies that provides complete solution for supporting systematic digestion, elimination and metabolism.

3. Daily Diet & Lovable Lifestyle – Live it!!! Love it: You can predict your future with the diet and lifestyle you follow. Yes, this is absolutely true since your diet and lifestyle frames the healthy structure of your body both internally & externally. A nourishing diet truly cherishes your body and if not taken in the right way it can exactly show its adverse effects.  Ingesting heart friendly herbs, spices and staples like garlic, turmeric, ginger, saffron, whole grains, pulses etc, can help you a long way prolifically.

4. Live right to lead right with a righteous lifestyle: Yoga – a simple systematic sibling of Ayurveda helps in stabilizing your body skillfully. One can follow practicing this wonderful tool, which can shape your lifestyle blissfully!!!

It is always good to remember that prevention is better than cure. No matter what the root cause is? It is only you who is responsible for all that happens to you!! Nature has blessed us with plenty of uncountable resources, which can be proved fruitful if utilized in the right way. Let us make use of the heart of Nature – Ayurveda to soothe the human heart.

Thought for the day:

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.                                                            –Helen Keller 

Suggested Reading:

  1.  AYURVEDA FOR CORONARY HEART DISEASE by Dr.Shashikant Patwardhan
  2. Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume One: Fundamental Principles by Vasant Lad
  3. The Digestive System and the Process of Nutrition in Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Medicine by C. Scott Ryan

Reference Links:

  1. Ayurvedic Treatment For Heart Diseases by Ayurveda For You
  2. The Maharishi Ayurveda Approach To Cardiovascular by Authentic Ayurveda Health Spa – The Raj
  3. Ayurveda Approach To Treating Stress by Holistic Healing