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Pranayama Can Change Us At The Cellular Level – Fight Cancer And Alzheimer’s

Cell biologist, Sundar Balasubramanian, points out in the Discover Magazine that the ancient yoga practice of Pranayama is about more than relaxing — it can change us at the cellular level.

The study by Sundar Balasubramanian points out that increased saliva production during Pranayama has numerous benefits.
Saliva has numerous antibodies and proteins that do everything from suppressing tumors to regenerating the liver. For example, it contains immunoglobulin, which are antibodies that bind to germs, as well as DMBT1, a tumor suppressor that blocks the conversion of normal cells to cancer cells. 
Studies have shown that Pranayama changes the makeup of saliva by increasing the amount of nerve growth factor (NGF). When NGF is produced, it’s transported to the brain, where it signals nerve cells to grow or survive longer. Increased NGF could have a major impact on aging, and specifically on some of the degenerative diseases of the day like Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Yogini Celeste Comments On The Topic 

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Prana means breath and yama means pause. "According to ancient yoga books and manuscripts, the goal of yoga breathing exercises is to "restrain", "hold", "suspend", and "calm" the breath 24/7 as mentioned in the 3 most important yoga manuscripts (Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Gheranda Samhita and the Shiva Samhita)."

The breath controls the mind and the mind controls the senses, so pranayama is an invaluable tool for Samadhi, one of the methods for Realization mentioned by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. 
In short, once these pranayams have been mastered, then one begins Kumbhaka or retention until we can hold the breath comfortably without suffocation. There are many benefits to this practice but the most important is the ability of the practice to purify the mind of the vasanas or mental impressions which create our karma, which in turn also purifies the granthis, or psychological "knots" formed from the vasanas along the spine that can prevent the rise of kundalini.
Such psychological knots are implicated in any disease process where negative emotions or attachments to past experiences can fester and later manifest as a disease. Pranayama practice is quite useful for cancer patients, for example, where the disease is feeding on the tissues and energy of the body to fuel its tumour growth. Pranayama also builds up the prana or energy body, replacing this loss of energy, while oxygenating the deepest tissues of the body, so cancer is unlikely to spread to the lungs if one is doing the maximum of 3 hours pranayama practice a day.
In short, pranayama practice, especially Bhastrika with Kumbhaka, is a method for enlightenment because it removes the manas or sensory mind which creates a veil between you and the truth or Heaven or Nirvana. Besides, it is so much easier to control the breath than it is to just sit and tell the mind to stop thinking. Pranayama gradually reduces the density of thoughts, so it becomes easier over time with regular practice to master the mind, which is the goal of Yoga.