During this time, while Pranayama is recommended as a breathing exercise to improve lung capacity and immunity, there are many other far ranging benefits as described in ancient texts. One can believe it as such or take it as a hyperbole, but here is what ancient yogic traditions say about Pranayama as described by this Yogi living in the Gangotri.
- Pranayama results in cleaning of the nadis (the pathways along which the prana flows). This is called Nadi Shodhana. It opens up the mind and the heart.
- It clears the latent negative impressions left from previous lifetimes
- If you practice for 5 minutes everyday for a week with mindfulness, you get a better understanding of the control of the breath and which nadis are active (among Ida, Pingala and Sushumna) at any instant.
- If you practice for 10 minutes a day for a week with awareness, you get several insights and inner strength. Your vocabulary becomes rich and you use apt words in your speech that you never have heard of before.
- After half an hour of daily practice for a month, unwanted stuff (Ama) in the body is shed.
- After one hour of dedicated daily practice for a month, the body is cleansed and it develops a divine smell.
- After two hours of daily practice for a month, one enters beautiful states of mind and identification with the body and sense objects is diminished significantly.
- After three hours of daily intense practice for two months, one is able to cut through the identification with the body. This is the beginning of self-realization.