ResearchPDF Available

IMPORTANCE OF YOGA IN DAILY LIFE

Authors:
  • Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith, Varanasi, India

Abstract

Yoga in Daily Life is a system of practice consisting of eight levels of development in the areas of physical, mental, social and spiritual health.When the body is physically healthy, the mind is clear, focused and stress is under control. The main goals of “Yoga in Daily Life” are Physical Health, Mental Health, Social Health, Spiritual Health, Self-Realization or realization of the Divine within us. These goals are attained by Love and help for all living beings,Respect for life, protection of nature and the environment,A peaceful state of mind, Full vegetarian diet, Pure thoughts and positive lifestyle, Physical, mental and spiritual practices, Tolerance for all nations, cultures and religions. Yogic techniques are known to improve one’s overall performance. Pranayama is an important, yet little known part of Yoga.
IMPORTANCE OF YOGA IN DAILY LIFE
Sunil Kumar Yadav
Ashwani Kumar

Vikas Kumar* Anil Kumar*
Introduction



Om Saha Navavatu
Saha Nau Bhunaktu
Saha Virya Karvav-Hai
Te-Jasvi Nava dhitam-Astu
Ma Vidvi Ṣav-Hai
Om SantiḤ santiḤ santiḤ
OM Paramatma, protect and bless us.
Give us strength to come to the end of the path,
To eternal knowledge,
Help us so that we do not turn against one another,
and eternally united continue on the path together.
OM Peace Peace Peace
-Swami Maheshwarananda
Yoga is a traditional method of meditation developed by the saints of ancient India. They
practiced yoga as an effective method of controlling their mind and bodily activities.Yoga in
Research Scholar, Dept. of Physical Education, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (U.P.)
TGT (P & HE), Kendriya Vidyalaya, Mughalsarai, Chandauli (U.P.).
Abstract
Yoga in Daily Life is a system of practice consisting of eight levels of development in the areas
of physical, mental, social and spiritual health.When the body is physically healthy, the mind is
clear, focused and stress is under control. This gives the space to connect with loved ones and
maintain socially healthy relationships. When you are healthy you are in touch with your inner
Self, with others and your surroundings on a much deeper level, which adds to your spiritual
health.The word “Yoga” originates from Sanskrit and means “to join, to unite”. Yoga exercises
have a holistic effect and bring body, mind, consciousness and soul into balance. The main
goals of “Yoga in Daily Life” are Physical Health, Mental Health, Social Health, Spiritual
Health, Self-Realization or realization of the Divine within us. These goals are attained by Love
and help for all living beings,Respect for life, protection of nature and the environment,A
peaceful state of mind, Full vegetarian diet, Pure thoughts and positive lifestyle, Physical,
mental and spiritual practices, Tolerance for all nations, cultures and religions. Yogic
techniques are known to improve one’s overall performance. Pranayama is an important, yet
little known part of Yoga. Until recently, this art and science of yogic breathing was almost
completely unknown to the common man like many other ancient Indian arts.Pranayama
techniques act to purify the nadis including these three main energy channels.
Daily Life is a system of practice consisting of eight levels of development in the areas of
physical, mental, social and spiritual health.
When the body is physically healthy, the mind is clear, focused and stress is under
control. This gives the space to connect with loved ones and maintain socially healthy
relationships. When you are healthy you are in touch with your inner Self, with others and your
surroundings on a much deeper level, which adds to your spiritual health.
Yoga increases the flexibility of the spine, improves body’s physical condition and
heightened awareness to the importance of relaxation. It has been emphasized that each exercise
be practiced slowly, coordinating movement with the breath, pausing motionless in each position
and always with full concentration.
Yoga teaches you to focus on breathing while you hold the poses. This attention to breath
is calming it dissolves stress and anxiety. Yoga can help cure insomnia, as regular yoga practice
leads to better and deeper sleep. Yoga can help fight fatigue and maintain your energy
throughout the day. Yoga is an effective treatment for a variety of autoimmune diseases because
it can reduce the symptoms these diseases often cause, such as stiffness, malaise, fatigue, and
weakness. Even children can benefit from yoga. Those with attention deficit disorder and
hyperactivity can learn to relax and get control by using yoga breathing and yoga asanas. Yoga
has been used to help heal victims of torture or other trauma. Because yoga is a form of
meditation, it results in a sense of inner peace and purpose, which has far-reaching health
benefits.
Peace of Mind, Consciousness and Soul
To live in harmony with oneself and the environment is the wish of every human.
However, in modern times greater physical and emotional demands are constantly placed upon
many areas of life. The result: more and more people suffer from physical and mental tension
such as stress, anxiety, insomnia, and there is an imbalance in physical activity and proper
Exercise.
This why of methods and techniques for the attainment and improvement of health, as
well as physical, mental and spiritual harmony,are of great importance, and it is exactly in this
respect that “Yoga in Daily Life” comprehensively offers an aid to help one’s self. Throughout
the many years that I have been active in western countries, I have become familiar with the
modern lifestyle and the physical and psychological problems faced by the people of today. The
knowledge and experience I gained led me to develop the system of “Yoga in Daily Life”. It is
systematic and graduated, integrating all areas of life and offering something valuable for each
phase of life. Regardless of age or physical constitution, this system opens the classical path of
Yoga to all. In developing this system to accommodate the needs of today’s people, much
consideration was given to the conditions within modern society, without losing the originality
and effect of the ancient teachings.
The word “Yoga” originates from Sanskrit and means “to join, to unite”. Yoga exercises
have a holistic effect and bring body, mind, consciousness and soul into balance. In this way
Yoga assists us in coping with everyday demands, problems and worries. Yoga helps to develop
a greater understanding of our self, the purpose of life and our relationship to God. On the
spiritual path, Yoga leads us to supreme knowledge and eternal bliss in the union of the
individual Self with the universal Self. Yoga is that supreme, cosmic principle. It is the light of
life, the universal creative consciousness that is always awake and never sleeps; that always was,
always is, and always will be.
Many thousands of years ago in India, Rishis (wise men and saints) explored nature and
the cosmos in their meditations. They discovered the laws of the material and spiritual realms
and gained an insight into the connections within the universe. They investigated the cosmic
laws, the laws of nature and the elements, life on earth and the powers and energies at work in
the universe - both in the external world as well as on a spiritual level. The unity of matter and
energy, the origin of the universe and the effects of the elementary powers have been described
and explained in the Vedas. Much of this knowledge has been rediscovered and confirmed by
modern science.
These are experiences and insights a far-reaching and comprehensive system known as
Yoga originated and gave us valuable, practical instructions for the body, breath, concentration,
relaxation and meditation. The practices that this book offers have therefore already proven
themselves over thousands of years and have been found to be helpful by millions of people.
The system “Yoga in Daily Life” is taught worldwide in Yoga Centres, Adult Education
Centres, Health Institutions, Fitness and Sports Clubs, Rehabilitation Centres and Health Resorts.
It is suitable for all age groups - it requires no “acrobatic” skills and also provides the unfit, as
well as handicapped, ill and convalescent people, the possibility of practicing Yoga. The name
itself indicates that Yoga can be and should be used “in Daily Life”.
The exercise levels were worked out in consultation with doctors and physiotherapists
and can therefore with observation of the stated rules and precautions be practiced independently
at home by anyone. “Yoga in Daily Life” is a holistic system, which means it takes into
consideration not only the physical, but also the mental and spiritual aspects. Positive
Thinking, perseverance, discipline, orientation towards the Supreme, prayer as well as
kindness and understanding form the way to Self-Knowledge and Self-Realization.
The main goals of “Yoga in Daily Life” are:
Physical Health
Mental Health
Social Health
Spiritual Health
Self- Realization or realization of the Divine within us
These goals are attained by:
Love and help for all living beings
Respect for life, protection of nature and the environment
A peaceful state of mind
Full vegetarian diet
Pure thoughts and positive lifestyle
Physical, mental and spiritual practices
Tolerance for all nations, cultures and religions
Physical Health
The health of the body is of fundamental importance in life. As the Swiss-born Physician,
Paracelsus, very correctly said, “Health isn't everything, but without health everything is
nothing”. To preserve and restore health there are physical exercises (Asanas), breath exercises
(Pranayama) and relaxation techniques.
Within “Yoga in Daily Life” the classic Asanas and Pranayamas are divided into an
eight-level system, beginning with “SarvaHitaAsanas” (meaning, “Exercises that are good for
everyone”). Seven other parts follow this preparatory level and lead progressively through the
practice of Asanas and Pranayamas. Several special programs have been developed from the
basic exercises: “Yoga for Back Pain”, “Yoga for Joints”, “Yoga for Seniors”, “Yoga for
Managers” and “Yoga for Children”. To maintain good health, other valuable exercises within
“Yoga in Daily Life” are the purification techniques of Hatha Yoga. These involve Deep
Relaxation (Yoga Nidra), Concentration Exercises (e.g. Trataka) as well as Mudras and Bandhas
(special Yoga techniques).
An even greater factor in the maintenance of good health is the food we eat. What we eat
influences both our body and psyche - our habits and qualities. In short, the food we eat has an
effect upon our whole being. Food is the source of our physical energy and vitality. Balanced and
healthy foods include: grains, vegetables, pulses, fruit, nuts, milk and milk products, as well as
honey, sprouts, salads, seeds, herbs and spices - either raw or freshly cooked. Foods to be
avoided are old, reheated or denatured foods, meat (including all meat products and fish) and
eggs. It is also best to avoid alcohol, nicotine and drugs as these rapidly destroy our health.
Mental Health
In general, we are led through life by the mind and senses, rather than having these under
our control. However, to gain control of the mind, we must first place it under inner analysis and
purify it. Negative thoughts and fears create an imbalance in our nervous system and through this
our physical function. This is the cause of many illnesses and sorrows. Clarity of thought, inner
Freedom, contentment and a healthy self-confidence are the basis for mental wellbeing. That is
why we strive to gradually overcome our negative qualities and thoughts and aim to develop
positive thoughts and behavior.
“Yoga in Daily Life” offers numerous methods to attain mental wellbeing: Mantra
practice, the observance of ethical principles, the keeping of good company and the study of
inspiring texts to purify and free the mind. An important tool in self-investigation and self-
knowledge is the technique of “Self-Inquiry Meditation”, a step-by-step meditation technique of
Self-Analysis. In this meditation practice we come into contact with our subconscious, the source
of our desires, complexes, behavioral patterns and prejudices. The practice guides us to become
acquainted with our own nature - as we are and why we are so - and then beyond self-acceptance
to Self-Realization. This technique enables us to overcome negative qualities and habits and
helps us to better manage life’s problems.
Social Health
Social health is the ability to be happy within oneself and to be able to make others
happy. It means to nurture genuine contact and communication with other people, to assume
responsibility within society and to work for the community. Social health is also the ability to
relax and experience life in all its beauty.
One of the growing problems of our times is drug addiction. It is a clear sign of social
illness. The system of “Yoga in Daily Life” can assist in overcoming this illness and grant people
a new, positive aim and purpose in life. The importance of keeping good, positive company has a
great influence upon our psyche, as such companionship moulds and forms our personality and
character. Positive company is of great importance in spiritual development. Living “Yoga in
Daily Life” means to work for ourselves and for the benefit of others. To do valuable and
constructive work for our neighbours and the community, to preserve nature and the environment
and work for peace in the world. To practice Yoga means to be active in the most positive sense
and to work for the welfare of all of mankind.
Spiritual Health
The main principle of spiritual life and the highest precept of mankind are:
AHIMSA PARAMO- DHARMA
This precept embraces the principle of non-violence, in thought, word, feeling and action.
Prayer, meditation, Mantra, positive thinking and tolerance, lead to spiritual health. Humans
should be protectors, not destroyers. Those qualities that really make us human are the ability to
give, understand and forgive. To protect life and respect the individuality and independence of
all forms of life is a primary practice of the Yoga teachings. By following this precept greater
tolerance, understanding, mutual love, help and compassion develops - not only between
individuals, but between all humans, nations, races, and religious faiths.
Self-Realization or realization of the Divine within us (Healthy Life)
Cultivate indomitable will. Practice self-control and self-mastery. Have self-confidence.
Develop independent judgment. Do not argue. Strive ceaselessly for Self-realization. Kill this
little ego. Develop pure love. Rise above all distinctions of caste, creed and colour. Give up the
idea of ‘I-ness’, ‘Mine-ness’. Look within for the happiness which you have sought in vain in the
sensual objects.
Moksha is the summumbonum of life. It is freedom from births and deaths. It is not
annihilation. It is annihilation of this little ‘I’. It is obtained through knowledge of the Self. You
will have to know the Truth through direct intuitive experience. You will have to cut asunder the
veil of ignorance by meditation on the Self. Then you will shine in your pristine purity and
divine glory.
Do not try to drive away the unimportant and irrelevant thoughts. The more you try, the
more will they return and the more strength will they gain. You will only tax your energy and
will. Become indifferent. Fill the mind with divine thoughts. The others will gradually vanish.
Get yourself established in Nirvikalpa Samadhi through meditation.
Without perfect Brahmacharya, you cannot have substantial spiritual progress. There is
no half measure in the spiritual path. Control the body first. Then purify your thoughts through
prayer, Japa, Kirtan, Vichara and meditation. Make a firm resolve, “I will be a perfect
Brahmachari from today.” Pray to the Lord to give you spiritual strength to resist the temptations
of life and kill lust.
Constant study of the lives of saints will enable you to lead a virtuous life. You will
imbibe very noble qualities. You will be gradually moulded in the spiritual path. You will draw
inspiration from them. There will be an inner urge in you to attempt for God-realization. Pray to
the Lord that you may become a saint.
The Techniques of Pranayama
Yogic techniques are known to improve one’s overall performance. Pranayama is an
important, yet little known part of Yoga. Until recently, this art and science of yogic breathing
was almost completely unknown to the common man like many other ancient Indian arts. Those
who knew it used to be very reluctant to share their knowledge and experience with anyone,
unless a student proved by tests that he was ready to receive it.
“Tasmin sati swaspraswas yogartivich Pranayama”
This having been (accomplished) “Pranayama” which is control of inspiration and
expiration1 the inspiration of prana-vayuisshwasa and expiration is prashwasaand the cessation
of both is characteristic of Pranayama. Patanjaliin his Yoga Sutra describes Yama, Niyama,
Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi as eight angas(parts) of Yoga.
Amongst them, in the present materialistic world, the third and fourth part, Pranayama and
Asana (Postures) are considered as very important part and prescribed by modern medicine too.
The beneficial effects of different Pranayama are well reported and has sound scientific basis. 2-
3There is reported evidences of Pranayama that it increases chest wall expansion and lung
volumes.
The ancient sages also discovered that among the thousands of nadis there are three
which are the most powerful energy channels and, when purified enough, these can promote the
development of the human being in all three planes: physical, mental and spiritual, allowing us to
reach higher levels of consciousness.These channels are called IDA, PINGALA and
SHUSHUMNA nadis. Pranayama techniques act to purify the nadis including these three main
energy channels. Yogis discovered a long time ago that breathing through the left nostril
stimulates the IDA nadi or the “moon channel” (connected with the parasympathetic nervous
system) and breathing
through the right nostril stimulates the PINGALA nadi or the “sun channel” (connected with
sympathetic nervous system). By balancing the functioning of both nadis (that is, both aspects of
the autonomic nervous system) we can stimulate the main energy channel called SHUSHUMNA
and harmonize the activity of the nervous system as a whole.
Conclusions
To conclude the fundamental principle of “Yoga in Daily Life” is religious freedom.
Yoga is not a religion - it is the source of spirituality and wisdom, the root of all religions. Yoga
transcends religious boundaries and reveals the way to unity.
“Yoga in Daily Life” offers the spiritual aspirant guidance on life’s path through the
practices of Mantra Yoga and Kriya Yoga. As the most highly developed beings upon earth,
humans are capable of realizing their real nature and inner Self, God. The spiritual goal of Yoga
is God-Realization, the union of the individual soul with God. The realization that we are all one
in our common root and connection to God is the first step. Decisions regarding your health and
Wellbeing and a free, happy life, are in your hands. Practice regularly with firm
determination and success will be certain.
I wish all Yoga practitioners and those still to become practitioners much happiness, success,
health, harmony, joy in life and God's blessing.
References
Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. Yoga in Daily Life - The System. Vienna: IberaVerlag/
European University Press; 2000.
Wood C. Mood change and perceptions of vitality: a comparison of the effects of relaxation,
visualisation and yoga. J R Soc Med 1993 May; 86(5): 254-8.
Jella SA, Shannahoff-Khalsa DS. The effects of unilateral nostril breathing on cognitive
performance. Int J Neurosci 1993 Nov; 73(1-2): 61-8.
Telles S, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Breathing through a particular nostril can alter
metabolism and autonomic activities. Indian J PhysiolPharmacol (India) 1994 Apr; 38(2):
133-7.
Swami Sivananda 1999 A The Divine Life Society P.O. Shivanandanagar249 192 Distt. Tehri-
Garhwal, Uttar Pradesh, Himalayas, India.
... & Katz, 2012;Yadav & Kumar, 2015;Kumar & Patel, 2016;Riley & Park, 2015). Gebelik, kadının hayatını fiziksel, zihinsel, duygusal ve ruhsal olarak değiştiren bir süreçtir (Thakur, Sharma, & Masand, 2015). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The objective of this chapter is to introduce a conceptual framework and application of the four paths of yoga in modern times to strip the human mind of all its impurities and see the stream of consciousness is clear as crystal and capable of reflecting whole reality. The conceptual framework is formulated from the ancient Indian scriptures and literature. Karmayoga, jnanayoga, bhaktiyoga, and rajayoga are the four yoga or spiritual paths significant for improving individual and society wellbeing. The chapter includes trends of each yoga with respect to modern times.
Article
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the combined effect of combined yogasana and walking practices on body mass index among urban high school boys. To achieve the purpose of the study thirty high school boys were selected from Karaikudi, Tamilnadu, India during the year 2017. The subject's age ranges from 14 to 18 years. The selected students were divided into two equal groups consists of 15 students each namely experimental group and control group. The experimental group underwent a yogasana and walking practices programme for six weeks. The control group was not taking part in any training during the course of the study. Body mass index was taken as criterion variable in this study. The selected subjects were tested on Body mass index was measured through body mass index analyzer method. Pre-test was taken before the training period and post-test was measured immediately after the six-week training period. Statistical technique't' ratio was used to analyse the means of the pre-test and post test data of experimental group and control group. The results revealed that there was a significant difference found on the criterion variable. The difference is found due to yogasana and walking practices given to the experimental group on Body mass index when compared to control group.
Article
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the combined effect of SAQ training and yogic package on self confidence among handball players. To achieve the purpose of the study thirty men handball players were selected from Karaikudi, Tamilnadu, India during the year 2017. The subject's age ranges from 18 to 25 years. The selected subjects were divided into two equal groups consists of 15 players each namely experimental group and control group. The experimental group underwent a combined SAQ training and yogic package programme for six weeks. The control group was not taking part in any training during the course of the study. Self-confidence was taken as criterion variable in this study. The selected subjects were tested on Self-confidence was measured through the self-confidence inventory. Pre-test was taken before the training period and post-test was measured immediately after the six week training period. Statistical technique't' ratio was used to analyse the means of the pre-test and post test data of experimental group and control group. The results revealed that there was a significant difference found on the criterion variable. The difference is found due to combined SAQ training and yogic package given to the experimental group on Self-confidence when compared to control group.
Article
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of mindfulness meditation on stress among working men. To achieve the purpose of the study thirty working men were selected from Karaikudi, Tamilnadu, India during the year 2019. The subject's age ranges from 35 to 45 years. The selected working men were divided into two equal groups consists of 15 working men each namely experimental group and control group. The experimental group underwent a mindfulness meditation programme for six weeks. The control group was not taking part in any training during the course of the study. Stress was taken as criterion variable in this study. The selected subjects were tested on Stress was measured through perceived stress scale. Pre-test was taken before the training period and post-test was measured immediately after the six week training period. Statistical technique 't' ratio was used to analyse the means of the pre-test and post test data of experimental group and control group. The results revealed that there was a significant difference found on the criterion variable. The difference is found due to Mindfulness meditation given to the experimental group on Stress when compared to control group.
Article
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of combined yoga and naturopathy on triglycerides among stressed people. To achieve the purpose of the study thirty stressed people were selected from Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, India during the year 2019. The subject's age ranges from 25 to 35 years. The selected students were divided into two equal groups consists of 15 subjects each namely experimental group and control group. The experimental group underwent a combined yoga and naturopathy programme for six weeks. The control group was not taking part in any training during the course of the study. Triglyceride was taken as criterion variable in this study. The selected subjects were tested on Triglycerides was measured through Triglycerides analyzer method (blood test in lab). Pre-test was taken before the training period and post-test was measured immediately after the six week training period. Statistical technique 't' ratio was used to analyse the means of the pre-test and post test data of experimental group and control group. The results revealed that there was a significant difference found on the criterion variable. The difference is found due to combined yoga and naturopathy given to the experimental group on Triglycerides when compared to control group.
Article
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of yogic therapy on High density lipoprotein among high school boys. To achieve the purpose of the study thirty high school boys were selected from Karaikudi, Tamilnadu, India during the year 2019. The subject's age ranges from 15 to 17 years. The selected students were divided into two equal groups consists of 15 students each namely experimental group and control group. The experimental group underwent a yogic therapy programme for six weeks. The control group was not taking part in any training during the course of the study. High density lipoprotein was taken as criterion variable in this study. The selected subjects were tested on High density lipoprotein was measured through High density lipoprotein analyzer method (blood test in lab). Pre-test was taken before the training period and post-test was measured immediately after the six week training period. Statistical technique 't' ratio was used to analyse the means of the pre-test and post test data of experimental group and control group. The results revealed that there was a significant difference found on the criterion variable. The difference is found due to yogic package given to the experimental group on High density lipoprotein when compared to control group.
Article
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of pranayama package on Systolic blood pressure among middle aged unemployed women. To achieve the purpose of the study middle aged people were selected from Karaikudi, Tamilnadu, India during the year 2017. The subject's age ranges from 35 to 45 years. The selected students were divided into two equal groups consists of 15 middle aged women each namely experimental group and control group. The experimental group underwent a pranayama package programme for six weeks. The control group was not taking part in any training during the course of the study. Systolic blood pressure was taken as criterion variable in this study. The selected subjects were tested on Systolic blood pressure was measured through sphygmomanometer. Pre-test was taken before the training period and post-test was measured immediately after the six week training period. Statistical technique 't' ratio was used to analyse the means of the pre-test and post test data of experimental group and control group. The results revealed that there was a significant difference found on the criterion variable. The difference is found due to pranayama package given to the experimental group on Systolic blood pressure when compared to control group.
Article
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of yogic package on Low density lipoprotein among trained handball players. To achieve the purpose of the study thirty trained handball players were selected from Sivaganga District, Tamil Nadu, India during the year 2019. The subject's age ranges from 18 to 25 years. The selected students were divided into two equal groups consists of 15 players each namely experimental group and control group. The experimental group underwent a yogic package programme for six weeks. The control group was not taking part in any training during the course of the study. Low density lipoprotein was taken as criterion variable in this study. The selected subjects were tested on Low density lipoprotein was measured through Low density lipoprotein analyzer method (Blood test). Pre-test was taken before the training period and post-test was measured immediately after the six week training period. Statistical technique't' ratio was used to analyse the means of the pre-test and post test data of experimental group and control group. The results revealed that there was a significant difference found on the criterion variable. The difference is found due to yogic package given to the experimental group on Low density lipoprotein when compared to control group.
Article
Full-text available
This study describes the effects of 30 minutes of unilateral forced nostril breathing on cognitive performance in 51 right-handed undergraduate psychology students (25 males and 26 females). A verbal analogies task modeled after the Miller Analogies and SAT Tests was used as a test of left-hemispheric performance and mental rotation tasks based on the Vandenburg and Kuse adaptation of Shepard and Metzler's tests were used as spatial tasks for testing right-hemispheric performance. Spatial task performance was significantly enhanced during left nostril breathing in both males and females, p = .028. Verbal task performance was greater during right nostril breathing, but not significantly p = .14. These results are discussed in comparison to other cognitive and physiological studies using unilateral forced nostril breathing. This yogic breathing technique may have useful application in treating psychophysiological disorders with hemispheric imbalances and disorders with autonomic abnormalities.
There is increasing interest in the fact that breathing exclusively through one nostril may alter the autonomic functions. The present study aimed at checking whether such changes actually do occur, and whether breathing is consciously regulated. 48 male subjects, with ages ranging from 25 to 48 years were randomly assigned to different groups. Each group was asked to practice one out of three pranayamas (viz. right nostril breathing, left nostril breathing or alternate nostril breathing). These practices were carried out as 27 respiratory cycles, repeated 4 times a day for one month. Parameters were assessed at the beginning and end of the month, but not during the practice. The 'right nostril pranayama' group showed a significant increase, of 37% in baseline oxygen consumption. The 'alternate nostril' pranayama group showed an 18% increase, and the left nostril pranayama group also showed an increase, of 24%. This increase in metabolism could be due to increased sympathetic discharge to the adrenal medulla. The 'left nostril Pranayama' group showed an increase in volar galvanic skin resistance, interpreted as a reduction in sympathetic nervous system activity supplying the sweat glands. These results suggest that breathing selectively through either nostril could have a marked activating effect or a relaxing effect on the sympathetic nervous system. The therapeutic implications of being able to alter metabolism by changing the breathing pattern have been mentioned.
Article
The effects of three different procedures, relaxation, visualization and yogic breathing and stretch (pranayama) on perceptions of physical and mental energy and on positive and negative mood states have been assessed in a group of normal volunteers (N = 71, age range 21-76). Pranayama produced a significantly greater increase in perceptions of mental and physical energy and feelings of alertness and enthusiasm than the other two procedures (P < 0.5). Relaxation made subjects significantly more sleepy and sluggish immediately after the session than pranayama (P < 0.05). Visualization made them more sluggish but less content than pranayama (P < 0.05) and more upset than relaxation after the second session (P < 0.05). Thus, a 30 min programme of yogic stretch and breathing exercises which is simple to learn and which can be practised even by the elderly had a markedly 'invigorating' effect on perceptions of both mental and physical energy and increased high positive mood. A more extensive investigation is planned to establish whether such a programme can readily be incorporated into everyday life, and with what long-term results.
Yoga in Daily Life -The System. Vienna: IberaVerlag
  • Paramhans Swami
Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. Yoga in Daily Life -The System. Vienna: IberaVerlag/ European University Press; 2000.
Yoga in Daily Life -The System
  • Maheshwarananda Paramhans Swami
Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. Yoga in Daily Life -The System. Vienna: IberaVerlag/ European University Press; 2000.