Pranayama is an ancient practice that clears the physiological and psychological obstacles in our body to make the breath free to extend the flow of prana, the life energy.
Benefits Of Pranayama
It is a part of yoga. ‘Prana’ means breath and ‘ayama’ means command. Therefore, pranayama controls over the breathing and make the channels and nadis clean and obstacle-free. Through regular and continuous practice, you can make your whole body fit and supercharged.
To stay alive, breathing is imperative. You can live for three months without food or a few days without water but you cannot live a few minutes without a mouthful of air. Our body gets the necessary oxygen while we breathe. Oxygen is necessary to keep the body organs functional.
Pranayama is a group of techniques that teach us how to act and think positively to improve the quality of our life.
You are happy when you have rhythmic breathing and you have interrupted breathing when you are stressed or disturbed. By practicing the art of pranayama you can clear the obstacles in your mind and can allow breath and energy to flow without hindrance.
It improves breathing and makes our body and mind fit to function better. It enhances the calmness and gives you a better life.
Four techniques of breathing while practicing
- Inhalation (puraka)
- Internal retention (antara-khumbaka)
- Exhalation (rechaka)
- External retention (bahya-khumbaka)
Yogis say ‘an exhalation is the most important part as when you exhale you will make the channels clear to enter the fresh breath by a new inhalation”.
What is the right time to practice?
There is no stereotype rule about when to practice the processes. But it is shown that practicing in the morning makes the benefits double. So, it will be great to start your day with Pranayama. You stay fresh and energetic after an overnight sleep. It enhances your calmness while practicing. Thus, morning time is most suitable possibly to perform the practice.
For a better result and for increasing the calmness of mind, it is better to choose a place where you get fresh air and a tranquil atmosphere. You can choose the small greenery in your terrace or a nearby park as the best place of pranayama. Don’t perform practices in a heavy stomach. You need at least two hours gap from the last meal to start breathing exercises. It is good to start in an empty stomach. Remember not to practice just after bathing, eating or having intimate activities. Keep at least one hour break to start breathing exercises when you are busy in such activities.
Choose the right clothing
You can wear anything you feel comfortable with while practicing. There is no strict rule in dressing. But maintaining comfort is a must. Don’t use tightly-fitted outfits. Choose loose and relaxed attires that you can move comfortably. The sitting posture should be perfect. Keep your spine, neck, and chest straight that your body is in a straight line and make your legs crossed. It is the right posture to start breathing practices. Use a comfortable yoga mat. If you have trouble sitting on the floor you can use a chair or any hard surface to practice.
Anyone with any age can start pranayama breathing practices but, it is necessary that he/she has the right knowledge of steps and procedures. Children should practice with their parent’s supervision and adults must take the advice of a skilled supervisor to learn the right steps. Once you learn absolutely you can perform at your own supervision.
You should know about some limitations:
- Not to practice during pregnancy without an expert’s supervision.
- You can feel exhausted and irritated during those days of menstruation, avoid it.
- Take doctor’s advice if you have a critical heart condition or any kind of heart diseases and a history of heart attacks.
- Low blood pressure patients must perform this under the care of an expert trainer.
- It may be risky for Bronchitis and pneumonia patients.
- Patients continuing chemotherapy and radiation should avoid the processes.
- People with critical mental conditions like severe trauma, anxiety, depression, and anger are recommended not to perform without the doctor’s advice.
Pranayama For Beginners
There are a variety of breathing exercises in this ancient process. They have the ability to heal a number of physiological and psychological disorders. These exercises offer you healthy living, full of positive energies, and powerful perceptions of life by controlling the breathing. You may need 30-40 minutes daily to complete a series of practices. Imbibe you into the knowledge of pranayama and explore how beautiful life is.
It is also known as Ocean Breath. During the practice, your body creates heat and stability. In times of stress, it helps lower the heart rate and makes it normal. Spending time in this posture increases the awareness of breath. It teaches how to breathe fully using the full lung capacity instead of shallow breathing that is the tendency of most of the practitioners.
Possibly it heightens the functions of speech, memory, and immunity. It is recommended to the people having ear, nose, and throat problems.
Ujjayi Pranayama Steps
- Sit in a relaxed position like Padmasana or Siddhasana
- Relax your mouth, jaw line, and body
- Close your eyes
- Breathe slowly that you can feel it through your throat
- Make a soft sound “ahh” from your mouth in the time of exhalation
- Use your nose only for breathing and not use your mouth. Try to keep a contract with your throat
- You can start for 5 minutes in the beginning and gradually you can increase the time to 15 minutes
Importance Of Ujjayi Pranayama
- Relaxes the face, nose, and throat muscles
- Has profound control in insomnia, anxiety, and both physical and psychological tension
- Helps ‘Prana’ to be circulated in your body
- Smoothens the digestion process
- Effective practicing in respiratory problem and asthma
- Boosts concentration, energy, stamina, and makes your mind tranquil
- Increases psychological purity and self-awareness
- You will feel happiness, self-belief, inspiration, and will find the purpose of your life for increased ‘Prana’ in your body
- Supports your natural immunity and natural healing processes
- Balances your emotions
- Effective for sinus and migraine as well
Nadi Sodhana is a powerful breathing technique with a number of benefits to your body and mind. It purifies the Nadis or energy channels through alternate nostril breathing. It is the most important breathing technique to keep the mind serene. It also balances the brain function. When you are stressed it is an excellent way to enhance relaxation and calmness. It works on calming the mind balancing the whole system. It clears out blocked energy channels and improves concentration and mental focus.
Nadi Sodhana Pranayama Step By Step
- Sit straight and in a normal position
- Concentrate on your normal breathing for a few minutes
- Close the right nostril with your thumb and keep the index finger and middle finger straight to touch the forehead
- Breathe 20 times through the left nostril
- Take slightly deeper breath directed to the abdomen
- Open the right nostril now
- Close the left one with your ring finger
- Breathe 20 times again through this nostril
- Return the hands to its original position
- Concentrate on the normal flow of breathing
Amazing Benefits Nadi Sodhana Pranayama
- Fill your body with oxygen
- Clears and releases toxins
- Reduces anxiety and stresses
- Makes the nervous system calm and rejuvenated
- Helps in hormonal balance
- Clears and balances respiratory channels
- Helps to lessen respiratory allergies that cause sneezing and hay fever
- Stables solar, lunar, masculine, and feminine energies
- Stimulates mental clarity and attentive mind
- Enhances the power to concentrate
- Balances between the right and left hemisphere of the brain
This breathing technique is known as skull shining breath. Kapala means forehead and Bhati means shining. You have a shining forehead and a brilliant intellect by the regular practice of this ancient method.
Practitioners perform this breathing exercise to improve concentration and awareness. It makes the abdominal muscles stronger and helps to burn calories. It is associated with reducing obesity. During the process, performer exhales strongly that has a powerful cleansing effect on the breathing channels. It improves the blood circulation to the brain and gives the skull shining effect. It improves the function of your entire system and energizes your body. By strengthening, massaging, and toning the abdominal muscles it stimulates the digestive system.
How To Do Kapalbhati Pranayama
- Sit on the Padmasana position or any relaxed position and close your eyes
- Focus on your belly region
- Normal inhalation through both nostrils
- breathe deeply to fill your lungs
- with strong pressure on the abdominal muscles exhale the air forcefully through both nostrils
- concentrate on discarding all the negativities while exhaling
- Repeat the process for 5 minutes
- Relax deeply
Advantage Of Kapalbhati Pranayama
- It generates heat, dissolves toxins, and other waste matters
- Enhances your beauty and keeps your skin shinning
- Improves the conditions and functions of liver, kidneys, and intestines
- It reduces belly fat and an overall weight
- Improves blood circulation and reduces stress
- Erases dark circles
- Aids to weight loss
- Rejuvenates and energies brain and nerves
- Calms your mind
- Eliminates acidity-related problems
- Improves the functions of lungs
- Boosts concentration power and memory
- It helps to control emotions
- Makes your mind and body calm
The Ultimate Secret Of Pranayama
Agni Sara Pranayama
Winter is the right time for this practice. During the practice, patients should eat light and non-spicy food. Avoid practicing if you have the hernia, intestinal problems, and high blood pressure. It raises energy levels, stimulates taste buds, and improves digestion. It enhances the functions of the stomach and intestines. While practicing, it creates increased abdominal pressure and regulates the bowel movement.
Basic Step Of Agni Sara Pranayam
- Choose an airy room and sit on Padmasana position. Keep your spine, neck, and waist straight
- Inhale to your maximum capacity and fill your lungs
- Breathe deeply and hold it
- Try to contract the anus muscles towards the intestines
- Exhale at your own speed
- While holding your breath, try to draw your naval muscles towards your spine
- Stay as long as you can hold your breath
- Let your body loose and inhale deeply
- Practice it 2-3 times
- Gradually increase the time
- Take rest in Shavasana
Benefits of Agni Sara Pranayam Exercises
- It has a great relief on constipation, loss of appetite, and indigestion problems
- Helps to burn stomach fat
- It supports the internal organs and keeps them functional
- Helps to boost your mental spirit and inner energy
- Cures insomnia and other sleep disorders
Developing spiritual values and keeping your mind calm, Bhramri pranayama works unparallel. It gives a great boost in your thinking and judgmental power by improving your spiritual aspects. The word is derived from Bhramar and during the practice, it makes a buzzing sound like bees.
BHRAMARI PRANAYAMA Steps
- Sit on a yoga mat in the position that you feel comfortable in
- Keep your eyes closed and breathe calmly
- With the help of your thumbs close your ears
- Put your index fingers above the eyebrows and place remaining fingers on your eyelids
- Inhale deeply but slowly through both nostrils
- Concentrate on your mind
- Keep your mouth closed
- Exhale through your nostrils
- Make a humming OM sound while exhaling
- Repeat the process for 5 times
- Relax your body and mind
BHRAMARI PRANAYAMA Benefits
- You can get relief from stress and can calm your mind
- Increases concentration power
- You feel happiness in your mind and brain during the practice
- Lessens your stress, anger, anxiety, and tension
- Extremely beneficial in hypertension
SHEETKARI AND SHEETALI PRANAYAMA
Practicing Sheetkari and Sheetali pranayama shows the outcome of chilliness. It is more effective to practice in hot summer days than the winter. The purpose is to keep your body cool by lowering the temperature. It may improve your nervous system by making you calm and cool.
- Sit in any comfortable position
- Close your eyes and mouth
- Join the upper and lower line of teeth
- While inhaling, open your lips slightly make a sound ‘See-See’
- Now close your lips and exhale through your nostrils
- Repeat at least 8-10 times
- Keeps your body temperature controlled
- Useful in fever
- Helps in indigestion
- Enhances serenity by keeping your mind and body cool
- Controls loss of appetite
- Reduces mental strain and enhances calmness in your mind
- Effective for depression
SURYA BHEDANA PRANAYAMA
It is a breathing technique for increasing Prana in your body. It improves the function of the nervous system. And thus, it is effective for digestion system. People having high blood pressure should not practice this.
Sheetkari and Sheetali Pranayama Steps
- Choose a comfortable position
- Keep your back, head, and spine straight and close your eyes
- To close your left nostril place your ring finger and little finger on it
- Inhale gradually and use your right nostril to fill your lungs completely
- Now close your right nostril with your right thumb
- Exhale through your left nostril
- Again inhale from your right nostril and exhale from left
- Repeat it for 5 – 10 times
Sheetkari and Sheetali Pranayama Benefits
- It awakens the Kundalini Shakti
- Helps to increase the functions of the digestive system
- Reduces the shortage of oxygen in your blood
- Effective for intestinal worms
- Effective for sinus pain
- Creates positive energies
- Boosts your metabolism and helps in weight loss
- Increases libido in women
- Useful in skin problems
Bhastrika Pranayama is effective for keeping you healthy but heart patients should avoid this. It is intended to improve the blood circulation. It brings serenity to your mind.
Bhastrika Pranayama Steps
- Sit comfortably in Padmasana and close your eyes
- Inhale deeply to fill your lungs with air
- Now exhale gently
- Maintain the inhaling and exhaling time
- While inhaling, take positive energies from the universe
- While exhaling, release out the toxins, negativities and bad things from your body
Bhastrika Pranayama Benefits
- Your brain gets fresh oxygen
- Improves and boosts the nervous system
- Strengthens your body and mind with positive vibes
- Helps in depression and anxiety
- Reduces stomach fat and thus, weight
- Helps in treating fibrosis
- Effective in curing respiratory problems, allergies, and a shortage of breathing
- Strengthens immunity
- Good for swelling of throat and sleep apnea
Pranayama processes are connected to breathing, the rescuer of life. So, it should be performed scientifically. Otherwise, one has to suffer a lot. These processes are not tough but without expert’s guidance, you can feel it tough. Under the supervision of experts, you will experience amazing and unbelievable benefits of this ancient practice.