Pranayam is a Yogic disciple focusing on our “breath”. Prana means “life force” and Ayama means “extending”. So, Pranayam literally means extending and controlling the life-force. Regularly practicing Pranayam has an invigorating effect on our respiratory system and our overall mind and body.
[Img – https://www.yogauonline.com/yoga-basics/pranayama-how-feel-more-energetic-and-powerful]
In this article we share 4 prominent Pranayam techniques which can be practiced to improve one’s overall well being.
1. Nadi Shodhan (Anulom Vilom)
Nadi Shodhan or alternate nostril breathing helps calm the nervous system and also purifies the blood. It helps in concentration by calming and centring the mind. It brings balance between both the centres of the brain. Begin by blocking the right nostril with the thumb of your dominant hand and inhale slowly through the left nostril only. Breathe into your belly and not the chest. On complete inhalation hold the breath for a few moments and release the thumb and exhale through the right nostril only. Pause for a moment. Now inhale through the right nostril, hold and exhale from the left one. This can be done for 2-5 minutes. This Pranayam can be practiced any time of the day.
[Pic – https://www.artofliving.org/yoga/breathing-techniques/alternate-nostril-breathing-nadi-shodhan]
2. Kapal Bhati
Kapal Bhati Pranayam means “skull-shining breathing”. It involves passive exhalation and active inhalation. It helps clear air-passages and increases lung capacity, besides improving functioning of abdominal organs. Sitting comfortably, exhale completely, inhale briefly and then exhale sharply through both the nostrils. Try to pull your stomach muscles inwards as you exhale and release them softly when you inhale. This can also be done for 2-5 minutes. This Pranayam should be avoided on a full-stomach and also by pregnant women.
[Img – https://billioncheers.com/blog/kapalbhati-pranayama/]
Ujjayi means “Victorious Breath” or Ocean breath due to the hissing sound it produces. This pranayam helps focus the mind and expands the lungs. Begin by sitting comfortably and inhaling a steady breath. Constrict the throat slightly to create a friction sound of the air, filing the chest completely. Hold and exhale slowly, creating the sound again. The air should be felt at the roof of the mouth while doing this Pranayam.
[Pic – https://www.yogaindailylife.org/system/en/level-7/ujjayi-pranayama-with-jalandhara-bandha-and-khechari-mudra]
Bhastrika (bellows breath) is a high-energy pranayam which clears up the respiratory system by forceful breathing. It is also called the Yogic “breath of fire”. It helps strengthen the lungs and burns excess fat. Sit in Vajrasana, with your spine erect, and make a fist in front of your shoulders. Inhale deeply, raise your hands and open your fists in one movement. Exhale forcefully closing your fists and bringing them back close to the shoulders. Repeat 15-20 times.