Life is a miracle and every breath we take is a gift from God. Regardless of whether we have been vaccinated once, twice or not at all, we are obliged to strictly follow the Covid19 protocol of wearing mask, social distancing, staying home, etc. if we want to stay alive. Until a cure is found, we are additionally advised to boost our immunity levels, which can be done by having a “healthy diet” and proper breathing exercises since the pandemic targets our lungs first before moving on to other organs.
India has a very rich tradition of breathing exercises. In fact, these are a part of Patanjali’s Yog Sutra, which comprises of eight stages or limbs namely: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. As we see for ourselves, Pranayama is the 4th limb of Yoga and comprises of two other words: Prana and Ayama. Pranayama is all about the breath. Prana means the breath, the air, and life itself. It’s said to be the energy permeating the universe at all levels: physical, mental, intellectual, sexual, spiritual and cosmic. This is the energy that creates, protects and destroys. Vigour, power, vitality, life and spirit are all forms of Prana. Ayama means to stretch, regulate, and control. Taken together, Pranayama means the prolongation of breath and its control. The aim of the discipline is not just to support health and wellbeing. It is about finding equilibrium between the physical and the vital energies, and a form of purification for the whole nervous system. Pranayama practice provides more oxygen to the blood, reduces stress levels and fights anxiety - all of which boost the immune system. Regular practice of pranayama can have an even more profound impact on our health and wellbeing when considered alongside the way our lives have changed.