What is Pranayama

Pranayama is derived from 2 Sanskrit words – Prana (life force) and Ayama (control). Therefore, in its broadest description, Prananyama would mean the control of the flow of life force. To most, control of breath is Pranayama. However, this is a result of wrong interpretation.

For a rightful interpretation, it must be understood that 'prana' is an energy or life force that is universal in nature - it is omnipresent. A portion of that prana is also present in the human body. It flows at a superficial level to maintain the body and its organs.

The goal of Pranayama is to increase the quantum of this life force (Prana) so that it can reach out to 'hidden' recesses of the brain. This helps in expanding the human faculties and retarding degeneration.


Sukha Pranayama


Sit comfortably in any meditative posture. Sit erect. Keep the palms on the knees and observe your natural breathing. Feel the breath flowing and out of the lungs. Let the breathing be natural. Feel the abdominal movement while breathing. While inhaling , let the abdominal wall move out and while exhaling let it move in. Keep your mind clear, only "observing" your breathing. While inhaling, feel the power and energy flow and while exhaling imagine throwing out tension, stress and disease.

Benefits

Provides deep relaxation to the body and mind.

Strengthens the nervous system and respiratory system.

Improves concentration.

Relieves stress , depression and hypertension.

Bhastrika

Sit comfortably in any meditative posture. Sit erect. Keep the left hand on the left knee in Gyan Mudra . Fold the index and the middle fingers of the right hand to touch the palm. Close the right nostril with the right thumb. Exhale through the left nostril and immediately inhale forcefully. Quickly open the right nostril by closing the left nostril and repeat the procedure. Keep repeating this pattern quickly gradually increasing the speed of inhalation and exhalation. Simultaneously contract and expand the abdominal muscles and slowly return to the initial speed .

Benefits

Very good for the respiratory system including the diaphragm and the bronchial tubes.

Improves function of digestive organs.

Helps reducing excess fat in the abdominal region.


Sheetali

    UP

Sit comfortably in any meditative posture. Sit erect. Keep both palms on the knees in Gyan Mudra. Draw out the tongue. Roll it up from the sides to form a tube like opening. Slowly suck the air through it and fill the lungs completely. After full inhalation withdraw the tongue and close the mouth. Hold the breath for sometime and then slowly exhale through the nose. Repeat required number of times.

Benefits

Useful in treating fever.

Good for liver , spleen, and is a good blood purifier.

Reduces tension and high blood pressure.

Cools the nervous system



Kapalbhati

Sit comfortably in any meditative posture. Sit erect. Exhale through both nostrils, contracting the middle and lower abdomen portions. Release the contractions quickly and immediately follow with another forceful exhalation . Inhale passively and effortlessly. Gradually increase the frequency to about 100 strokes/minute. After the round take a deep breath and gradually exhale.

Benefits

Cleans capillaries of the remotest part of the body.

Purifies the frontal portion of the brain.

Aid in combating asthma, diabetes, and chronic bronchitis besides other nervous disorders.

Cleans the nasal passages .



Dirgha Pranayama

Sit with your spine erect, or lie down on your back. Begin taking long, slow, and deep breaths through the nostrils.

As you inhale, allow the belly to fill with air, drawing air deep into the lower lungs. As you exhale, allow the belly to deflate like a balloon. Repeat several times, keeping the breath smooth and relaxed, and never straining. Repeat several times.

Breathe into your belly as in Step #1, but also expand the mid-chest region by allowing the rib cage to open outward to the sides. Exhale and repeat several times.

Follow steps #1 and #2 and continue inhaling by opening the clavicular region or upper chest. Exhale and repeat.

Combine all three steps into one continuous or complete flow.

Benefits

Promotes proper diaphragmatic breathing

relaxes the mind and body

oxygenates the blood and purges the lungs of residual carbon dioxide.


Bhramari

Sit comfortably in any meditative posture. Sit erect. Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose. Let the inhalation caress the throat area. Then gently plug the ears with the respective index fingers and closed eyes. Exhale slowly producing a long and continuous humming sound. Enjoy the sound and vibrations produced during these breathing techniques.

Benefits

Promotes a clear voice and is recommended for singers.

Beneficial for pregnant women and in labor preparation.

Makes an impact on the mind, producing peace and joy.


NadiShodhan

Sit comfortably in any meditative posture. Sit erect. Be calm and close your eyes. Close the right nostril with the right thumb. Now inhale slowly through the left nostril and fill your lungs. After complete inhalation, press the left nostril with the ring finger of the right hand and close the left nostril. Open the right nostril, exhale slowly. After complete exhalation, again inhale through the right nostril and fill your lungs. Close the right nostril by pressing it with the right thumb. After opening the left nostril, breathe out slowly. This process is one round of Nadi Shudhi Pranayam.


What good can this do?

Cleanses and tones up entire nervous system.

People suffering from cough and cold benefit greatly.

Heart is strengthened.

Blocked nostrils are cleared.

Removes mental tension and worries.

Induces feeling of peace.

 

  UP
All Rights Reserved Copyright 2006© Poorna Shuddhi Yoga Kendra