Lack of spontaneous breathing is incompatible with meaningful life, hence Pranayama; breath control is mandatory for well-being. Spontaneous breathing, the capacity of an individual to breath by himself or herself is central to “being alive”. The pattern of breathing and the ability to control the breaths and perform desired breathing exercises are also very crucial for wellness and wellbeing. Sanskrit is the classical ancient language of India. The Sanskrit word, Pranayama translates control of life force. Prana translates life force and yama translates control. The term “life force” is equivalent to breath. Normal breaths and breathing patterns are central to life. That is why the genius of Patanjali reveals itself when he made Pranayama one of the eight limbs of yoga. Furthermore, Pranayama is an integral part of most yoga practices.
Indeed, at birth, the breathing effort of a baby is one of the five parameters that are used to determine the health of the child. In 1952, Dr. Virginia Apgar (1909-1974) introduced a scoring system using five categories to determine the health of a newborn. The result is what is called the Apgar score. The five categories are; breathing effort, heart rate, muscle tone, skin color and reflexes. The Apgar score helps to determine whether the newborn is ready to live in the world without additional medical assistance. The assessment is performed on the baby one and five minutes after birth. If there are any concerns about the health condition of the baby, or if the score at 5 minutes is low, the test will be repeated again at 10 minutes after birth to obtain another score. At the other end of life spectrum, as a result of old age, illness or serious accident, the capacity to breath without mechanical support is one of the major criteria used to determine wether somebody should be considered alive or not. Not surprising then that Pranayama; breath control is mandatory for well-being and indeed for life.
This convergence in thought of the founders of yoga philosophy and modern medicine about the fundamental underpinning of the driving force of life, “control of breath” speaks to the ingenuity of mankind across generations. It also underscores the importance of the fact that each one of us must live our lives in such a manner that we do not endanger those organs in our bodies that are primarily responsible for breathing like our brain and lungs. Stay away from lifestyles that can cause brain damage or lung damage. Do not smoke, do not drink excessively, eat well, maintain normal weight , exercise and keep learning new things. When you do all these, you will not only maintain great wellness, the yogis will be very proud of you because you are following the yoga mantra which among other things state that Pranayama; breath control is mandatory for well-being.
So, eat healthy, keep moving, exercise at least three times a week, 45 minutes to one hour per session, keep learning new things and you are on your way to wellness and you would avoid rust. The information contained in this blog post can contribute to the enhancement of your effort to avoid physical, mental and emotional rust, to maintain a balanced life and wellbeing and to maintain a sharp mind. The ads on the right side of this page deal with physical and mental fitness, exercise equipments and tools, healthy diets, books on healthy living, wellness and wellbeing. Please feel free to check them out. Also, I look forward to your comments about this post.