Pranayama

Pranayama is powerful breathing technique that ensures healthy body and calm mind. Regular practice of various types of pranayama improves breathing pattern, purifies blood, boosts resistance power and gives physical strength.

Bhastrika Pranayama:
Bhastrika is a Sanskrit word which means bellows. In Bhastrika pranayama, the breathing pattern resembles the blowing of bellows. Bhastrika pranayama is all about inhaling and exhaling completely so that your body gets maximum amount of oxygen.

Procedure of Bhastrika Pranayama:

  • Be seated in comfortable posture. Padmasana (crossed leg) andVajrasana are the ideal yoga postures to practice pranayama. Place your hands on your knees. Feel relaxed. Focus on your breathing pattern and be relaxed.
  • Breathe in by inhaling forcefully through both the nostrils. Make sure that your lungs are full with air. Once you inhale fully, exhale with great force making hissing sound.
  • In Bhastrika pranayama one needs to apply force while breathing in and breathing out. You can determine how much speed to apply while inhaling and exhaling keeping in mind your heath and endurance power.
  • When you breathe in while performing Bhastrika pranayama, your abdominal should not blow up. Instead your chest area should blow up. Repeat the procedure for 5 to 10 times.
  • You have successfully completed Bhastrika pranayama. One should perform Bhastrika pranayama for 5 minutes everyday. Those who have high blood pressure or heart disease should not practice Bhastrika pranayama.

Benefits of Bhastrika pranayama:

  • Helps to throw out toxins and cures illnesses of respiratory track
  • Boosts the supply of oxygen and purifies blood
  • Helps to keep negative thoughts away
  • Increases warmth in the body and helps to prevent common cold
  • Regular practice of Bhastrika pranayama keeps you away from all diseases

Bhramari Pranayama:
Bhramari pranayama is very effective in instantly calming your mind down. It is one of the best breathing exercises to release the mind of anger, agitation, frustration or anxiety. This breathing technique derives its name from the black Indian bee called Bhramari.

Procedure of Bhramari pranayama:

  • Sit up straight in a quiet, well ventilated corner with your eyes closed. Keep a gentle smile on your face.
  • Place your index fingers on your ears. There is a cartilage between your cheek and ear. Place your index fingers on the cartilage.
  • Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out, gently press the cartilage. You can keep the cartilage pressed or press it in and out with your fingers, while making a loud humming sound like a bee.
  • You can also make a low-pitched sound but it is a good idea to make a high-pitched one for better results.
  • Breathe in again and continue the same pattern for 6-7 times.

Benefits of Bhramari pranayama:

  • Instant way to relieve tension, anger and anxiety. It is a very effective breathing technique for people suffering from hypertension as it calms down the agitated mind.
  • Gives relief if you’re feeling hot or have a slight headache
  • Helps mitigate migraines
  • Improves concentration and memory
  • Builds confidence
  • Helps in reducing blood pressure

Kapalbhati Pranayama:
Kapal is forehead and bhati means glow. Kapalbhati pranayama purifies entire respiratory system and ensures you radiant and glowing skin. Practicing Kapalbhati pranayama in the morning will be highly beneficial.

Procedure of Kapalbhati Pranayama:

  • Be seated in a comfortable posture. Padmasana (crossed leg) andVajrasana are the ideal yoga postures to practice pranayama. Place your hands on your knees. Feel relaxed. Focus on your breathing pattern.
  • Take a deep breath in and then release the breath out. Now inhale slowly and exhale with a great force. Your abdominal muscles should get expanded when you inhale and get contracted when you exhale.
  • The exhalations should be forceful. This exercise is similar to that of blowing your nose. The process of inhalation and exhalation should be constant. Make sure that while exhaling, you are throwing the air out from the lungs with full force.
  • Do not take much effort while inhaling the air. Complete the procedure ofKapalbhati pranayama by deep inhalation and exhalation.
  • You have successfully completed one round of Kapalbhati pranayama. A learner can do 3 rounds of Kapalbhati pranayama by doing 15 exhalations in each round. Take small breaks between each round. You can increase the number of exhalations and rounds of pranayama as per your convenience.

Benefits of Kapalbhati pranayama:

  • Kapalbhati pranayama helps to detoxify lungs and respiratory tracks.
  • Boosts the supply of oxygen and purifies blood.
  • Helps to tone up the abdominal muscles. It is also helpful in reducing belly fat.
  • Kapalbhati pranayama is practiced before meditation. It improvises concentration span and helps to stay away from unwanted thoughts while practicing meditation.
  • As its name suggests, a regular practice of Kapalbhati pranayama makes you look beautiful.

Anulom Vilom Pranayam:
Anulom Vilom Pranayam is also known as Nadi Shodhana Pranayama or alternate nostril breathing. By the practice of Anulom Vilom Pranayam, the whole nervous system is cleansed and toned.

Procedure of Anulom Vilom Pranayama:

  • Close your eyes and relax. Sit in this position for a couple of minutes till you settle down.
  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale slowly through the left nostril. Fill up your lungs to the maximum capacity.
  • Hold your breath.(Do not hold breath initially for 2- 3 months, practice only inhalation and exhalation). Do not hold breath at all if you are suffering from hypertension, asthma.
  • Now close left nostril with middle and ring finger and exhale through the right nostril very slowly and rhythmically. Here you will return to its original position and toxic air is released into the atmosphere.
  • Inhale again through the right nostril.
  • Exhale again through the left nostril.

Steps from 1-6 above are called one set of the Anulom Vilom Pranayam. Repeat it gradually for as long as possible. With practice, your inhaling and exhaling time will increase as you will start breathing more deeply, breath will become more smooth.

Benefits of Anulom Vilom Pranayama:

  • Cleans up and tones up the entire nervous system.
  • It is also beneficial in migraine and chronic sinus problems.
  • It strengthens the heart. Improves blood circulation and breathing capacity.
  • Practice of Anulom Vilom Pranayam removes mental tension and worries.
  • The face becomes bright, luminous and calm.
  • It maintains the functioning of digestive system and cures all the stomach ailments/ diseases.
  • It can prevent hereditary diseases like diabetes and heart problem.
  • It is helpful in contemplation and also gives the strength to meditate for several hours.
  • It keeps the mind calm, peaceful and cheerful and helps in overcoming depression.