The Power of Pranayama Technique
Medikoe Wellness Expert
80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
Breathing is something that we do on a regular basis. The body, in a living state, inhales involuntarily whether we are sleeping, awake, or actively exercising.
Breathing is a necessary function of life. In yoga, we relate to this as pranayama. Prana is a Sanskrit word that signifies life force, and Ayama means stretching or extending. Thus, the word “pranayama” interprets to control of the life force. It is also acknowledged as the prolongation of breath.
Every cell in our bodies requires oxygen to operate properly. Regular pranayama practise helps in internal healing of the body. So it’s no wonder that study shows that a daily practice of controlled breathing can reduce the effects of stress on the body and improve overall mental and physical health. Start your day with these exercises, and see how it benefits you:
Bhastrika Pranayama is the process of actively breathing in and breathing out which proffers a boost to the body and therefore is aptly described as the yogic breath of fire. Inhale deeply and exhale forcefully, completely. This exercise improves blood circulation, concentration and eases asthma. So, the next time you sense that your body requires energy, try Bhastrika Pranayama instead.
How to do it: Sit in vajrasana or sukhasana pose. Pranayama can be more useful in vajrasana as your spine in this pose is erect, and the diaphragmatic movement is more stable. Now, make a fist and fold your arms, keeping them near your shoulders. Breathe in deeply, lift your hands upright and open your fists. Now, breathe out slightly forcibly, bring your arms down close to your shoulders and near your fists. Continue the same for 20 breaths. Relax keeping palms on your thighs and take a few normal breaths, then again continue for two more rounds.
When to do it: Bhastrika Pranayama must be practised for 3 rounds/session, with rest in-between each round. It should be practised on an empty stomach, after expulsion in the morning.
Kapalabhati indicates skull shining breath. It’s a pranayama activity as well as an inner kriya, or cleansing routine. Practitioners of kapalabhati consider that this breath will support in clearing mucus in the air passages, ease congestion, lessen bloating, and promote lung capacity. Kapalabhati is a refreshing breath that can produce heat in the body.
How to do it: Begin by sitting in a suitable seat with a tall, upright spine, and exhale fully. Inhale quickly through both nostrils, then clearly exhale (again out of your nose) while pulling your belly button in toward your spine. The exhalation is brief and fast, but very active, while the inhalation is short and quiet. Again, pull your belly button in as you exhale and lower it on the inhalation. Perform one round of 30 (counting your exhalings) and pause for a minute with a few deep breaths in between. Repeat. If this looks difficult, begin with 15 and slowly work your way up.
When to do it: Kapalabhati is excellent to do in the morning if you’re feeling cold or lazy. You may also attempt it when you’re feeling bloated or congested, but don’t attempt it on a full stomach. Avoid this exercise if you are pregnant, or suffer from heart conditions or blood pressure issues.
Bahya Pranayama is one of the essential respiration practices in which you have to vigorously breathe in (inhale), breathe out and then hold the breath (retention). The word Baahya is created from Sanskrit word Baahya which implies outside or external, and Pranayama implies breathing technique, so it is also known as external retention. Retention signifies holding the breath (Kumbhaka).
Bahya pranayama is helpful in all abdominal ailments (like Constipation, Acidity, Hernia, Gastric problem) and cures it effectively. It fixes the reproductive organs related complaints. Bahya enhances the concentration of the mind, better digestion, works for diabetes and completely fixes the urinary and sperm-related difficulties. It is also very helpful in achieving tranquillity and self-enlightenment.
How to do it: Sit in the Padmasana or Lotus pose, close your eyes while keeping your spinal cord and head erect. Now, breathe in profoundly (inhale) and exhale completely. After the exhalation, hold your breath. Try to pull your stomach higher as much as you can, and pull up the muscles in the area below the belly button. After that move your head down so that your chin touches your chest. Now, hold this position for about 5 to 10 seconds. Imagine that all your negativity is being suspended from your body. Relax and get back to the start position. In case you have neck and back pain, do not move your head downwards. Just look straight. Repeat this process for 5-10 times.
When to do it: Bahya pranayama should be performed on an empty stomach having a gap of 4-5 hours between practice and your meal. People suffering from a heart problem, blood pressure, and cervical colitis should not practice this breathing exercise. Women should not perform this during the period. If you have any medical problems, speak with your doctor before practising yoga.
Nadi shodhana also termed as alternate nostril breathing, is a very balancing, relaxed breath that is practised to help quiet the nervous system and support in a restful night’s sleep. By raising the amount of oxygen carried into the body, it’s supposed that this breath can also filter the blood, tranquillize the mind, decrease stress, and better concentration.
How to do it: Nadi shodhana can be performed seated or lying down. To begin, clear all the air from your lungs. Utilizing the thumb of your dominant hand, obstruct your right nostril and breathe through your left nostril only. Make sure to breathe into your belly, and not your chest. Once you are packed with the breath, close the left nostril with the ring finger of the same hand, holding your right nostril closed, and retain the breath for a moment. Then release your thumb and breathe out through your right nostril only. Make sure to exhale all of the breathing out of the right side and hold before inhaling again through the similar side. Close both nostrils once you’ve breathed in on the right side and breathed out through the left side. A full cycle of breath constitutes an inhalation and exhalation through both nostrils. If you’re just beginning out, you can do a 4-count inhale, retaining your breath for 4 to 8 counts, then breathe out for 4 counts. Do up to 10 cycles and see how your body reacts. You may feel more comfortable and relaxed in both your mind and body.
When to do it: Nadi shodhana is a peaceful, calming breath that can be performed at any time of day. Try following this technique when you are nervous, anxious, or having difficulty falling asleep.
Bhramari word is obtained from the Hindi word “Bhramar” (मधुमक्खी in Indian language) which indicates Bumble Bee and the meaning of Pranayama is breathing technique so it can also be termed as ‘bee breath’. Bhramari or Bee Breath could be an extremely useful Pranayama (breathing exercise) for meditation. The practice of this respiratory exercise benefits to produce a chilling impact on the mind immediately. Bhramari Pranayama edges in decreasing high vital sign, weakness, and mental stress. Conjointly active this Pranayama for nose, ear, mouth, and eye problems will have a resolute impact. This Pranayama is one of the exceptional breathing exercises to clear the mind of disquiet, frustration, or anxiety and get relieved of anger. It is easy to do breathing techniques and can be done anywhere at work or at home, and is a prompt option for de-stressing yourself.
How to do it: Sit on the Padmasana or any different sitting Asana. Now, close your eyes and breathe intensely. Close your ear lids or flaps with your thumbs. Place both your index fingers on your forehead and with the rest of your fingers cover your eyes with your middle fingers. Applying very gentle force to the sides of your nose, inhale deeply and while exhaling, keep your mouth closed and say ‘om’ as you breathe out. Focus your mind on the area between your eyebrows. Repeat this routine 5 times. The crucial thing is that while doing this Pranayama, it feels that you are being attached with all the positive energies of the universe.
When to do it: Bhramari pranayama should be practised on an empty stomach or at least 4-5 hours after your meal. It is better to perform Pranayama early in the morning, preferably before the sunrise.
The Udgeeth Pranayama is the simplest and common pranayama among all the other daily Practice Pranayama as per the “Patanjali yoga sutra”. Udgeeth Pranayama involves primal sound vibrations to resonate and stimulate the mind to its inherent, extensive potential. Mind, woke up and observant to its potential, is proficient of understanding no matter what it concentrates on. Thus, it’s important to focus entirely on the particularised result throughout pranayama’s follow. Udgeeth Pranayama is suitable to cure insomnia, lack of concentration, depression and other brain-related problems.
How to do it: Sit on the Padmasana pose and close your eyes. Your spine should be upright. Breathe deeply through your nose till your diaphragm is full of air, and then breathe out. At the time of breathing out, chant the name, Om. Be sure to keep the sound of “O” long and the “M” short (OOOOOOOOm). Udgeeth Pranayama is a very easy pranayama among all pranayama. Repeat this 3 to five (or 5 minutes if you have time).
When to do it: Udgeeth pranayama should be practised pranayama on an empty stomach, having a gap of at least 4 hrs in between yoga exercise technique and also your meal. It is best to practice this pranayama in the morning in the fresh air. In this pranayama, the inhaling and also exhaling duration must be extended. It should be exercised under professional guidance.
Pranav Pranayama is a Sanskrit word which signifies ‘Sacred syllable Om’. This is a very easy breathing exercise and one type of meditation you can say. This is a form of relaxation for the mind you breathe, keeping your eyes closed, focusing your mind only on your breathing. It helps strengthen focus and concentration. People in all the age groups can exercise Pranav Pranayama. In this pranayama, you have to keep your focus on your breathing (inhaling and exhaling), or you can concentrate on the word Om in your mind while you're inhaling and exhaling, it’s your preference whether focusing on your breath or the word Om.
It gives physical and spiritual energy. It provides relief from mental stress and overcomes physical disorders and gives good health. Strengthen the mind, increases concentration and helps in spiritual development and widen our perspective.
How to do it: Sit in Padmasana, Sukhasana or Vajrasana. Breathe usually and focus your mind on inhaling and exhaling. While practising Pranav pranayama imagine that God is universally available in every particle. Practice for 3 mins to 1 hour as per your available time.
When to do it: Practice these on an empty stomach for around 40 minutes seated in the fresh air every morning.
Helpful Tips for Getting Started with Pranayama
- Never force or restrict your breath. Don’t imperil the quality of the breath. Work for the best that you can. The longer you practice, the more you’ll be capable of performing the exercises, and finally, you’ll be ready to use more of your lung potential.
- Patience and practice. Pranayama should be performed with great care and discernment. Try to be centred on the journey, and not the destination! Over time, you will begin to see the benefits of the practice.
- You be the judge. If you feel any trouble or lightheadedness, discontinue quickly and revert back to normal breathing. Ask an instructor for direction and supervision.
- Precautions. If you are pregnant or undergo high or low blood pressure, diabetes, epilepsy, heart conditions, or vertigo, please discuss with your health care provider before doing any of these breathing exercises.
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