“Prana” means life force or energy and “Yama” means control or restraint. “Pranayama” means control of breath. It is the essential element of yoga.
Pranayama is good for the lungs and respiratory system. We practice this in the beginning of every Bikram Yoga class to warm up the body internally. This prepares your body for the rest of class because it improves circulation, gives you energy for class, and promotes a calm state of mind.
Breath is life. Most people only use 10% of their lungs. This can lead to breathing problems like emphysema, asthma, and shortness of breath. Deep Breathing teaches you to use the other 90% of your lungs. A stronger, more elastic lung supplies the heart with more fresh oxygen. The heart, in turn, provides the body with more freshly oxygenated blood.
Be sure to watch the video below from Bonfire Hot Yoga for some very useful tips on how to avoid some of the common pitfalls while performing Pranayama breathing.