What is Pranayama?

Pranayama is a practice in the ancient Indian yoga system involving breath control. Pranayama meaning is derived from the Sanskrit words 'prana,' meaning life force or essential energy, and 'ayama,' and Pranayama in English, means expansion or extension. Pranayama techniques aim to regulate, channel, and expand this life force through specific breathing exercises.

In Pranayama, individuals learn to handle their breathing patterns, utilising different rhythms, ratios, and breath holding. The practice focuses on mindful inhalation, exhalation, breath retention, proper posture, and concentration. By consciously regulating the breath, Pranayama practitioners seek balance and peace in both body and mind.

The benefits of Pranayam are numerous. It enhances lung capacity, improves respiratory function, and boosts oxygen supply to the body, promoting overall physical health. Additionally, Pranayama techniques calm the mind, reduce stress, and increase mental clarity. They stimulate the nervous system, promoting relaxation and managing anxiety and stress-related disorders.

Pranayama is often included in yoga sessions and meditation practices but can also be performed as a standalone practice. It is suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels, and its effects can be experienced relatively quickly with regular exercise. However, it is advisable to learn Pranayama techniques from a qualified instructor to ensure proper guidance and avoid potential risks.

Overall, the difference between Yoga and Pranayam is that Pranayama is a powerful tool for developing awareness, promoting physical and mental well-being, and connecting with the vital energy that flows within us. Through disciplined practice, individuals can utilise the transformative potential of Pranayama and unlock its numerous benefits for a balanced life.

Connect with an astrologer for accurate predictions via Call or Chat

How to perform Pranayama?

To perform Pranayama, find a quiet and clean space to sit comfortably. Then, follow these steps to practice Pranayama:

  • Sit in a cross-legged position on a yoga mat or cushion, keeping your spine straight. You can also sit on a chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground.
  • Close your eyes and take a few deep, calming breaths to relax your body and mind.
  • Begin with an awareness of your natural breath. Then, observe the inhalation and exhalation without attempting to control or change it.
  • Once you feel centred, start with 'Deep Belly Breathing' or 'Diaphragmatic Breathing.' First, place one hand on your abdomen and inhale slowly through your nose, allowing your belly to expand outward. Next, exhale through your nose, gently drawing your navel toward your spine. Continue this deep belly breathing for a few rounds.
  • After establishing a steady rhythm, you can move on to specific Pranayama techniques. One popular technique is 'Nadi Shodhana' or 'Alternate Nostril Breathing.' First, close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale deeply through the left nostril. Next, close the left nostril with your ring finger, release the thumb, and exhale through the right nostril. Then, inhale through the right nostril, close it with the thumb, and exhale through the left nostril. Repeat this pattern, alternating between the nostrils.
  • Another technique is 'Sheetali Pranayama,' or 'Cooling Breath.' Roll your tongue into a 'U' shape or purse your lips. Inhale slowly through your mouth, experiencing the coolness of the breath. Close your mouth and exhale through your nose. Continue for several rounds.
  • As you practice Pranayama, focus on maintaining a smooth, steady breath and a relaxed body. Keep your awareness of the breath and any sensations or changes you may experience.
  • After completing the Pranayama practice, sit quietly for a few moments, allowing the effects to integrate into your body and mind.

What are the types of Pranayam?

There are about eight types of Pranayam which help people regulate their energy, control their breath, and clear their minds. Here are the types of Pranayam:

Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing): Nadi Shodhana involves breathing and exhaling through alternate nostrils and closing the other nostril. For example, if you're breathing in through the right nostril, you will close the left nostril and then exhale from the left nostril while closing the right nostril. This technique takes care of the body's energy.

Kapalabhati (Skull Shining Breath): This technique of breathing involves exhaling and slow inhaling. Kapalabhati cleanses the respiratory system.

Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious or Winning Breath): This form of breathing includes contracting the throat to create a soft sound during breathing and exhaling. This Pranayama calms the mind and brings peace.

Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breath): The Bhramari breathing technique has the individual take a deep breath and exhale for a long time while humming. This form reduces stress and anxiety.

Sheetali Pranayama (Cool Breath): This form of breathing involves curling and breathing through the curled tongue. Sheetali Pranayama cools the body, mind, and soul.

Sheetkari Pranayama (Hissing Breath): Sheetkari Pranayama involves breathing through the mouth and exhaling through the nostrils. Here the individual has to take a breath through their teeth, keeping their lips only slightly open. This form helps release negativity and anger.

Surya Bhedana Pranayama (Right Nostril Breathing): This breathing technique involves breathing through the right nostril and exhaling through the left nostril. This form activates solar and masculine energy.

Chandra Bhedana Pranayama (Left Nostril Breathing): Chandra Bhedana Pranayama is the opposite of Surya Bhedana Pranayama. This form of breathing cools the body and mind. It also charges feminine and lunar energy.

Frequently Asked Questions

The sixth Chakra, or Ajna Chakra, can be activated and regulated through regular Pranayama. The activation of this chakra leads to several benefits of Pranayama. To know more about the types of Pranayama and their benefits, visit the InstaAstro website.
There are several benefits of Pranayama for a student. Through regular and consistent Pranayma, students can enhance their memory, increase the power of their minds, feel more energetic and enthusiastic, focus better on their academics, and grow in their lives.
Lord Hanuman is the lord of Pranayama. It is believed that through Pranayama, people can please Lord Hanuman and release all toxicity from their lives. Pranayama helps people tap into their inner strength and energy.
The Bhramari Pranayama or Bee Breath helps reduce stress, anxiety, uneasiness, panic, and pain. This breathing technique allows people to reject internal conflicts and produce happy thoughts. The importance of Pranayama is to give the people maximum benefits and good results.
Ideally, one should do Pranayama for at least 15 minutes. While people can choose the duration themselves, it is advisable to stick to a minimum of 15 minutes while starting your Yoga journey.
You should start early morning on an empty stomach, perform for a minimum of 15 minutes, and then carry on with your daily routine. Starting your day with Pranayama is believed to bring a healthy and energetic change in your life.
Karishma tanna image
close button

Karishma Tanna believes in InstaAstro

Karishma tanna image
close button

Urmila Matondkar Trusts InstaAstro