Pranayam is one of the most common Yoga asana that most people do. Also because it is easy and has tremendous benefits
The definition of Pranayama: Is stretching, lengthening or modifying the breath. Breathing can be manipulated. It is involuntary process but, it can be voluntarily controlled. It is very important and an individual follows proper pose for Pranayama.
One should sit with an erect spine. Head, neck and spine should be in a straight line. Pranayam helps to remove impurities from the body.
Once the breathing is controlled, the mind also gets controlled. And, when mind is controlled, the whole body gets controlled. If breathing stops the mind also stops. One can choose any meditative pose to do Pranayam. If meditative pose is difficult you can adopt Sukhasana- head, neck and entire spine should be in a straight line. Focus on your breathing, try to feel the incoming and outgoing breath from your nostrils. After you have done this relax your entire body. Spend some time to observe your entire body. Throughout the session awareness must be there.
Purak –Breathing in
Rechak –Breathing Out,
Kumbhak –holding the breath There are various kinds of Pranayam. Let us take a look at a few
Bhastrika Pranayam : Bhastra are the bellows pump used to pump fire. It is from that the name originated as ‘bhastrika’. People having high blood Pressure must not perform Bhastrika mentioned in the text. They can however do a modified version. In Bhastrika Paranayam, one must breath in and breath out rapidly and forcefully and at the same time flap the stomach in and out. When you will breathe in stomach will come out and when you breath out stomach will go in.
Benefits : Exchange of Gases happen very fast. Body throws out more carbon di oxide out and the intake of Oxygen increases. Metabolic rate will also increase.
Anulom –Vilom: is also called Alternate nostril breathing. Breathing should be rhythmic slow and deep. Close the left nostril and breathe in through the right nostril hold breath for 3-5 seconds. Close the right nostril and breathe in through left nostril and again hold for 3-5 seconds to increase the absorption of oxygen.
Benefits of Anulom –Vilom : is very beneficial for people suffering from sinusitis. This Pranayam will relax the mind and entire nervous system and also improves the capacity of the lungs. Anulom –Vilom strengthens heart and blood circulation as well.
Sheetali Pranayam :This is also called cooling breathing. Before doing this form of Pranayam, one must make sure that the atmosphere is clean. In this form of Pranayam one breathes through the mouth.
Roll the tongue and breathe in through the tongue, one can feel the cooling sensation on the surface of tongue. Take a slow and deep breathe. Close the mouth and breath out through the nostrils.
Benefits : This is called tranquilizing Pranayam. This is very beneficial for the people suffering from digestive disorders and acidity. This Pranayam also relaxes the mind.
Bhramari: Bhramari can be done towards the end of the session. Bhramari relaxes the mind and helps in blood circulation and circulation of cerebrospinal fluid. Bhramari is also called Humming Bee breath. Sitting in meditation pose breathe in through nostrils (deep breath) and breathe out slowly there by producing the humming sound like hummer bee. Inhalation and exhalation time will be same.
Surya Bhedan : Surya is referred to right nostril and Bhedan is piercing. Breathing through right nostril and breathing through left nostril is called suryabhedan. This is energizing Pranayama and this will stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. This Pranayam will cleanse the skull and in Hathapradipika it is mentioned that heat generated by this Pranayama will destroy the worms in the stomach.
ShitkariPranayam : Also called Hissing breathe. Touch the teeth of upper and lower jaw together and breath in. Cooling sensation will be felt on the sides of mouth and tongue. This is also a tranquilizing Pranayama. Regular practice of this will improve digestion and reduce the acidity. It is very good practice for people suffering from insomnia. This Pranayama will reduce body temperature so it is a good practice during summer. While practicing this Pranayama, one must make sure that the atmosphere is clean.
Disclaimer : Please consult a doctor before you start pranayam.