Many people think of pranayama as yogic breathing exercises when they hear the term. Despite its many advantages for breath quality, it is much more than that. Do you want to get in better shape and live a healthy lifestyle? Pranayamas are a great way to spice up your workout, explore yoga and meditation, and have fun.
Human life is predicated on the ability to breathe, and this ability is central to pranayama, a branch of yoga originating in ancient India. It entails a variety of breathing exercises that help you learn to control your breathing on purpose. Hence, practicing pranayamas may vary from being a simple breathing exercise to a more involved practice.
Pranayamas have a wide range, and it may be overwhelming for newcomers to try to make sense of it all. However, always consult a yoga professional before experimenting with different pranayama techniques to see which ones are right for you.
Below are a few types of pranayamas to help you get started on the path to better health.
Types of Pranayamas
Pranayamas come in various forms, each focusing on improving the well-being and performance of a specific organ or system. See below for a list of pranayama, each with its unique techniques and health advantages.
1. Dirga Pranayama
Since it helps regulate abnormal breathing patterns, it is one of the simplest forms of pranayama and is thus ideal for novices. First, to relax in a favorite chair or on your back. The three-part breath, also known as Dirga Pranayama, is a wonderful way to ease into the practice of pranayama. Start your yoga practice on the right foot with a three-part breath that may help you calm your mind, body, and spirit, clear your mind of distractions, and improve your focus. It could quiet the mind, ease the nervous system, and heighten the consciousness of the breath.
In Dirga Pranayama, you’ll expand and contract your upper body deeply and consciously, starting with your belly and working your way up through your ribs and chest.
2. Nadi Shodhana
Nadi Shodhana, often called alternate nostril breathing, is the most effective method for maintaining a tranquil state of mind.
It evens out the breathing between the two nostrils, as we each have one that is often more obstructed than the other—however, which varies during the day. The two sides of the brain are also brought into harmony via Nadi Shodhana. It’s a fantastic way to unwind and restore body and soul balance. Opening up the body’s energy pathways enhances mental clarity and attention.
3. Asana Anuloma Viloma
This is a popular kind of pranayama. In this practice, you’ll alternate nostril breathing and hold your breath as part of the pranayam movements. Assume the pranayama position. Blow out both nostrils. Close the right nostril and inhale slowly and deeply through the left for four counts. Blow out the left and repeat. If you have more experience with pranayama, you can extend the length of the exercise. Inhale deeply and hold your breath until the count of 16. Exhale deeply through your nose until the count of eight.
In the same way, try breathing in through your right nostril. Do this whole process five times. Practicing this technique could possibly help heal breathing problems and improve the well-being of the eyelids, skin, heart, and lungs.
4. Asana Surya Bhedana
It’s a kind of pranayama yoga that’s used to activate the Kundalini Shakthi. Sit comfortably and plug your left nostril. It’s important to take deep breaths and fill the lungs. Tighten the right nostril strap and count to 15 as you hold your breath. Open your right nostril and let out some air. Keep going through this loop until you feel completely at ease with it. The benefits of doing this before eating are that it aids with digestion. This technique is thought to be helpful for Vata conditions, restore oxygen levels in the blood, and provide the body with renewed strength.
5. Asana Ujjayi
In terms of cooling effects, this pranayama technique is among the highest. The sound produced by this breathing technique is reminiscent of waves crashing. Begin by sitting in a cross-legged stance. Hiss as you take a deep breath through your narrowed neck and open lips. Close your mouth. Constrict your throat and take slow, deep breaths through your nostrils. It’s important to keep at the cycle until you can do it effortlessly. Doing so could detoxify the body, enhance thyroid function, and aid in blood pressure management. Moreover, it provides a refreshing and calming sensation.
The sound made by the exhale in this routine is reminiscent of a bee’s hum. Take a seat and get comfortable. Put your head down, and don’t look. With your thumbs, tuck the flaps over your ears inside to cover your ears. Place one finger on each eyelid and your index fingers on the brows. Press down softly on the bridge of your nose from both sides. Focus on the space in between your brows. Keep your lips closed and hum the sound “om” while you inhale and exhale through your nose. The recommended time for this exercise is five minutes. This practice could increase cognitive processes and has additional advantages. People claim that doing this routine regularly lowers migraine’ frequency and severity and facilitates better sleep.
7. Sitkari Pranayama
It’s a sort of yoga pranayama that helps you cool down, making it ideal for the warmer months. Take a seat and get comfortable. When the mouth is open, softly push down the upper and lower teeth. Take a deep breath in through your mouth’s open spaces. Feel the breeze as the air fills your lungs and stomach. To breathe out, close your lips and breathe through your nose. However, repeat the process ten or twenty times. This technique may reduce blood pressure and calm the nervous system.
You may practice this pranayama by closing your eyes using your index fingers and plugging your ears with your thumbs. Slowly inhaling and exhaling like a bee is a good way to relax. While inhaling, one may also recite the mantra ‘om.’ The term “humming bee breath” describes this phenomenon. We recommend giving this five to ten minutes. You will ultimately attain a natural state of relaxation by listening to this humming sound. It may aid in focusing attention, staying awake, remembering details, and calming nerves.
9. Anuloma & Viloma
This pranayama has two phases: an inhalation pause and an exhalation pause. To do this, choose a comfortable seat, close your eyes, breathe for two to three seconds, hold your breath for a moment, and then breathe in again. It’s important to take deep breaths in until your lungs feel full. Then you can take a calm, deep breath out. To achieve mental and physical calm, one must unwind. Viloma Pranayama entails taking time off at regular intervals to pause the breath. If you want to practice Anuloma pranayama, you’ll need to retrain your nasal breathing. They have many similarities. In conclusion, these methods will help you relax, lessen tension, and clear your nasal passages.
10. Sheetkari Pranayama
With this pranayama, the practitioner makes a “sheetkar” sound with their lips. You may practice this method by taking a deep breath while keeping your tongue firmly tucked between your teeth. It’s necessary to do the Jalandhara bandha and to hold one’s breath. The next step is to let your breath out of your nose. This pranayama is ideal for the warmer months since it aids in cooling the body. As such, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy internal temperature.
It is a kind of yoga technique that helps purify the whole body. People who are overweight will benefit more from using it in conjunction with weight reduction yoga. In the beginning, have a seat. Then, notice how your stomach swells when you take a big breath. Keep your stomach in as you let your breath out. The breath enters the lungs unconsciously when the stomach loosens. One set consists of 20 cycles. Some claim that this method helped treat metabolic disorders. Moreover, it may have therapeutic benefits on the nervous and immunological systems.
It’s an excellent pranayama technique for achieving a radiant complexion. In addition to extending the jaw and tongue, this exercise stretches the whole face, bringing welcome relief from tension and stress. First, have a seat and relax. Then, make a ha sound as you exhale through your nose. When you let out your breath, open your mouth as wide as it will go and tuck your tongue under your chin. Finally, breathe in and let your face unwind. Do this technique twenty times through this sequence. The benefits include strengthening your facial, neck, and chest muscles. Thyroid problems may be easier to address if they are caught early. Moreover, pranayama’s regular, brief practice could reduce the risk of illness and extend life expectancy.
Pranayama’s Many Benefits
More than a thousand clinical and scientific investigations have examined the advantages of yogic breathing for health. It is crucial to recognize the overall advantages of pranayama since different pranayama techniques each have their distinct properties and consequences. Suppose you’re interested in using pranayama for any of these reasons. In that case, it’s essential to do your homework on the method you’re interested in so you can practice it safely and effectively and avoid any unwanted side effects.
Effortless Stress Reduction
Traditional slow forms of pranayama are considered relaxing, and many individuals claim that they may reduce the levels of stress chemicals in the blood. Thus, regular yoga breathing practice may significantly lower perceived stress levels and increase overall health and happiness.
Eliminates Anxiety and Relaxes the Brain
Breathing techniques from the yoga tradition, such as slow and deep breathing, have been demonstrated to ease anxiety in various contexts, from patients having coronary angiography to students nervous about taking exams. According to separate research, the anxiety and stress levels of women with breast cancer who practiced pranayama were lower than those of the control group.
Increase Energy Levels
Fast pranayamas (such as Bhastrika) are historically known to increase prana or life-force energy in the body, which has the dual effect of reducing exhaustion and increasing energy. Furthermore, yoga breathing has been shown to enhance the quality of life and decrease tiredness in chemotherapy patients.
Reduces High Blood Pressure
Yoga breathing tactics may lower blood pressure and heart rate, therefore relieving symptoms of hypertension.
Improves Lung Capacity and Pulmonary Functions
Pranayama, both the slow and rapid varieties, are thought to improve pulmonary functions. Moreover, practicing pranayama may help stabilize or lessen symptoms of asthma.
Pranayama helps you boost focus and clarity by training the mind and body to work together in harmony via the practice of yogic breathing. It’s thought that both slow and rapid pranayama can improve cognitive abilities.
Improve the Immune System
Yogic breathing has been demonstrated to reduce proinflammatory markers and enhance the immune system. Hence, users could possibly benefit from these advantages to alleviate their health conditions.
Awareness of the breath is not something that we should reserve for the yoga studio. Our world appears to be speeding up and becoming increasingly strange. Breathing is the most accurate metaphor for how we individually approach life, lead our lives, and respond to the inevitable changes that life brings. Remember to breathe deliberately from time to time, even if you are in great health and have lived a long life with difficulty-free breathing. Our world appears to be speeding up and becoming increasingly strange. Finally, we advise you to speak to a professional before starting any exercise, especially if you have a chronic disease.