A lot of individuals aren’t really clear on the differences between meditation and yoga. First, we must understand the two words. According to Wikipedia, “Yoga is a generic term for physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India with a view to attaining a state of permanent peace” and “Pranayama means an extension of ‘pran’ or breath or, an extension of the life force.” It originated in the yogic disciplines of India (Bharat). It is considered as ‘the yoga of breath’. Daily yoga and meditation is also very important for a healthy and happy life.
Yoga is an older term compare to Pranayama and Dhyana (meditation).
Yoga includes eight forms of practice:
⦁ Yama (truth and nonviolence),
⦁ Niyam (five healthy habits),
⦁ Asana (more famous as an exercise),
⦁ Pranayama (breathing exercise),
⦁ Pratyahara (withdrawal),
⦁ Dharana (Concentration on objects),
⦁ Dhyana (meditation), and
⦁ Samadhi (merging consciousness with the object of meditation).
Pranayama is breathing exercise, Pranayama is a prior limb to meditation. It means an extension of the life force (or the breath).
There are various types of pranayama exercises :
⦁ Dirga pranayama
It is a breathing technique that divides the breath into three parts. This creates a full and absolute breath that has an even length between inhale and exhale. It can have dramatic effects on our practice through its ability to calm the sympathetic nervous system. It can help decrease pain, stress and anxiety levels. It provides body awareness, which is a great tool for bringing the mind inward, creating a grounded and relaxed state. Dirga pranayama is often used at the beginning of a yoga practice to help settle and prepare oneself for asanas or meditation.
⦁ Sama Vritti Pranayama
Sama Vritti Pranayama is part of the yoga practice that teaches one to breathe in four steps. This kind of breathing in English is called the Square Breathing or Four Parts Even Breathing. Our bodies breath in air subconsciously and one is not connected with this kind of breathing. But with the practice of yoga and specifically pranayama, the introduction of Square Breathing plays an important role, as it teaches you to be aware of the prana flow.
subconsciously and one is not connected with this kind of breathing. But with the practice of yoga and specifically pranayama, the introduction of Square Breathing plays an important role, as it teaches you to be aware of the prana flow.
⦁ Nadi Sodhana
Nadi sodhana pranayama is a breathing technique that works at both the physical and mental levels. It is a Hatha yoga pranayama technique that cleanses the body’s energy channels or Nadis.
⦁ Shitali Pranayama
Sheetali Pranayama (Cooling Breath Technique) is an efficient way to cool the body and calm the mind whereas at the same time expelling toxins from the body. It is also said to alleviate a variety of stomach and lower-abdominal ailments. The word Sheetali means “the one that can cool you down“.
⦁ Ujjayi Pranayama
Ujjayi Pranayama is named the ocean sounding breath as a result of an ocean sound by contracting the speech organ with the inhalation and exhalation. This Pranayama is completed through the nose, but it starts practicing breathing through the mouth.