Breathing is so often taken for granted when it’s a vital part of everyday living. After all, it supplies the body with oxygen, an important element which aids in the functions of the body while helping rid it of harmful toxins. Lack of oxygen can cause a feeling of sluggishness and fatigue, depression, or even a decline in vision and hearing.
The problem is that while everyone knows how to breathe, most people don’t know how to breathe properly. People often breathe shallowly or quickly, always moving to and fro in a rush. With less oxygen, people tend to lose their vitality and so make themselves more susceptible to diseases.
The importance of breathing is what pranayama is trying to impart. “Prana” means the life force, while “ayama” means “to extend” or “lengthen”, and when put together, pranayama is the practice of controlling and extending the life force, or the breath. This is not a simple breathing exercise, however; pranayama intends to open up the inner life force, and through breathing, you begin to revitalize your body.