Pranayama is a yoga practice to control breathing. Pran means Bio-energy and Ayama means to control or regulate. Pranayama basically works upon your nervous system and respiratory system.
Yogic breathing exercises are a part of Pranayama. There are believed to be many types of pranayama.
As said by Swami VishnaDevananda, “Pranayama is the link between the mental and physical discipline of yoga. While the action is physical, the effect is to make to mind calm, lucid and steady.”
Benefits of Pranayama
Pranayama has many health benefits like improving the respiratory system, relieving stress, helps in losing weight and many other benefits.
It helps to improve your concentration and focus, and also keeps you stress-free. Let’s know all the benefits of Pranayama in brief.
- Relives stress
- Improves your digestive system
- Makes you healthy
- Helps you in relaxing and rejuvenating
- Improves your respiratory functions
- Relaxes your entire body
- Helps with weight loss
- Enhances your beauty both spiritually and physically
- Good for your heart
- Controls aging
- Helps with Asthma
- Cures mucus, phlegm and tonsillitis problems.
- Eases depression and lethargicness
Types of Pranayama
There are said to be many different types of Pranayama. The main type of Pranayama are:
- Bhastrika Pranayama
- Kapalbhati Pranayama
- Anuloma Viloma Pranayama
- Bhramari Pranayama
- Bahya Pranayama
- Ujjayi Pranayama
- Sheetkari Pranayama
- Sheetkali Pranayama
- Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
- Udgeeth Pranayama
1. Bhastrika Pranayama
While doing Bhastrika pranayama, our breathing in and breathing out are forced. It is to intake the oxygen completely.
It has many health benefits like calming the mind, improves our immune system, helpful for people with Asthma and thyroid, and it also purifies the blood.
2. Kapalbhati Pranayama
Take a deep breath in and exhale forcefully as much as you can, pull your navel in back towards the spine. Do as much as you comfortably can.
Kapalbhati pranayama is a great pranayama. While practicing it, assume that all your problems are getting out of your body. It is also of three types: Vatakrama, Vyutkrama, and Sheetkrama.
It is known to have many health benefits as it gives you glowing skin, cures general intestinal problems, helps with respiratory problems, and reduces stress on the eyes; decreases dark circles.
3. Anulom Vilom Pranayama
Sit in Sukhasana or Padmasana pose, close your eyes and try to breathe with nostrils deeply one by one by pressing nostrils by thumb and ring finger.
Anulom Vilom pranayama balances the three dosas (Pitta, Kapha, and Vata) in our body. These three dosas are responsible for our body falling sick. You should practice it in the morning with an empty stomach.
It cures our mental problems like anxiety, reduces stress, improves the functioning of lungs, improves the immune system, and keeps our heart healthy.
4. Bhramari Pranayama
Put your fingers on eyes, nose, mouth, and chin and place your thumbs in your ears. Take a deep breath and release your breath from the nose with a sound like a Bumble-bee.
Bhramari pranayama is also known as Bee breath as the word Bhramar means Bee. It is a really great yoga pose to go into meditation.
It helps with high blood pressure and heart problems, curing migraines and paralysis, and helps in making our mind steady. You should only practice it after AnulomVilom Pranayama.
5. Bahya Pranayama
Bahya Pranayama is the breathing exercise in which you’ve to forcibly inhale, exhale, and hold your breath.
Bahya pranayama has health benefits like improving concentration, improving digestion, helpful for people with diabetes, and it also cures urinary problems.
There are some precautions to take when doing Bahya pranayama and they are:
- People with high blood pressure should not practice it.
- Women on periods or pregnancy should also avoid it.
- Do it on empty stomach only.
6. Ujjayi Pranayama
Take a long, deep breath slowly from both the nostril. While breathing in trying to contract the throat and feel the touch of air in your throat as air touches the throat a peculiar sound is produced.
Ujjayi pranayama is a very easy breathing exercise. It is also called SoundBreath and OceanSoundBreath. Do it early in the morning and at least 3-5 times.
Ujjayi pranayama is known for its health benefits like lowering the risk of heart attack, making your voice sweet, increasing concentration, making you a positive person, and improving your focus.
Don’t practice it if you’ve high blood pressure or any heart diseases, and also do not over push yourself.
7. Sheetkari Pranayama
Sheetkari pranayama is also known as hissing breath as we make a hissing sound while practicing it. Practicing it 7-8 times is known to elevate your thirst too. In Sheetkari Pranayama, we breathe in through our teeth.
The benefits of Sheetkari pranayama are easing digestion, helps with dental problems like pyorrhea, controls body temperature, and reduces depression.
8. Sitali Pranayama
Sitali pranayama is also known as Cooling breath as it gives you the feeling of coolness while practicing. In this asana, you’ve to fold your tongue from both sides, then inhale from your tongue, and then exhale from your nostrils.
It has many health benefits and they are being helpful in fever and indigestion, cooling down the body, makes our mind calm & composed, controls high blood pressure, and helps with insomnia.
9. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama
Nadishodhan pranayama is also known as Alternative Nostril Breathing or The Sweet Breath. It is a cleansing and purifying pranayama. It can be done in 4 different processes. People with severe Asthma should not control their breath for long.
There are many health benefits of NadiShodhan pranayama and they are reducing stress, nervousness, migraines, and it also improves your concentration. It purifies your blood and respiratory system.
10. Udgeeth Pranayama
Udgeeth Pranayama the basic and important pranayama which can be practiced daily. While practicing it, take a deep breath in and chant “Om” and make it last up to at least 15-20 seconds.
It cures insomnia & depression, improves our concentration, increases memory, helps you go into meditation, and controls high blood pressure. It is also helpful for people with hypertension.
Precautions to take while doing Pranayama
To practice and while practicing pranayama, take care of these things carefully.
- Cardiac patients should not practice exceeding the time limit.
- Practice it at a place where there is no noise, no pollution.
- Pranayama should be practiced with an empty stomach.
- Practicing after bath improves the blood circulation more.
- Breathe only through the nose, not through the mouth.
Pranayama is a beginner’s yoga pose, so it’s really easy to do it but in order to do it 100% perfectly, you need to practice it daily. It will give you tones of health benefits if you perform it on a daily basis.
Also Read: Prayer pose benefits, steps and precautions
So, this is all you about Pranayama. Controlling your mind is not easy but once you learn to do it, you’ll realize how peaceful it is. Pranayama helps you keep your mind in control and makes you calm and composed.
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