Pranayama


Pranayama are the Yogic breathing exercises that regulate the flow of Prana. Some of the more popular and well known of the pranayamas are listed beloew. Please practise with caution. A little regularly is better than an intense practise. If you have health problems, or are pregnant, do not practice until consulting a doctor. Also some pranayamas are not recommended for menstrating women.

  1. Kapalabhati

    After taking a comfortable sitting position, preferably the lotus pose, take a few deep breaths. See that the diaphragm is moving properly. During inhalation, the diaphragm descends and the abdomen is pushed out. During exhalation, the diaphragm pushes the lungs up and the abdomen goes toward the spine. This constant up-and-down movement of the diaphragm throws the air in and out. Here more attention is focused on exhalation than inhalation.

  2. Bastrika

    Perform the same rapid breathing as in Kapalabhati, as many times as is comfortable for you, but give slightly extra force to exhalation. Inhale slowly and hold the breath. While the breath is being held, bend the neck, bringing the chin as close to the chest as possible. Hold the breath as long as is comfortable for you. Raise the head up slowly and exhale the breath evenly through the nose. Perform this sequence at least one more time, or as many times as is comfortable.

  3. Anoma Viloma

    In viloma pranayama inhalation or exhalation is not a continuous process, but one that is interrupted by several pauses. For instance, if one complete inhalation were to take fifteen seconds, then in viloma it would be interrupted every two or three seconds, thus bringing the length of the in-breath to twenty-five or thirty seconds. Similarly, with interrupted exhalation, the out-breath is lengthened from twenty-five to thirty seconds This pranayama may be compared to climbing up or down a tall ladder, with a pause at each step.

  4. Bhramari

    Bhramari differs from the usual mouth snoring in that the lips are closed and vibrations of the soft palate are caused entirely by nasal airflow. Practice mouth snoring first in order to develop some voluntary control over the palate vibration process. Nasal snoring is more difficult. Approach control attempts gradually. The soft palate must be lifted toward the top of the pharynx sufficiently to produced flutter which may be very hard to control. The sound produced is commonly described as being like the buzzing of a bee. Although, in bhramari, one breathes both in and out through both nostrils and produces a snoring, buzzing or humming sound in both directions, expect somewhat different sounds from inhaling, which has a higher pitch, than from exhaling, which has a lower pitch. Bhramari is customarily described as involving rapid inhalation producing a high humming sound like that of a male bee and slow exhalation producing a low humming sound like that of a female bee.

  5. Sitali

    Sitali refers to the sound caused when air is drawn in through the protruding tongue folded into a tube. During inhalation, curl up both edges of the tongue so that it forms a kind of tube. Breathe in through this tube. During inhalation the air passes over the moist tongue, cooling down and refreshing the throat. In order to be sure that the tongue remains moist, roll it back as far as possible against the palate. Do this during the entire exhalation so that the next breath is just as refreshing as the first. The resulting tongue position may appear more like the lower portion of a bird's beak than a tube, but variable opening or closing of the tube-like passage in the folded tongue, in cooperation with faster or slower inhalation, makes possible variations in loudness and softness and smoothness of the reversed hissing sound. Again, a cooling effect may be noted and, indeed, sought through this and the foregoing technique whenever needed. The tongue is drawn back into the mouth and the lips are closed at the end of inhalation. We can breathe out either through the throat or alternately through the nostrils.

  6. Sitakari

    Like Sitali, draw breath using the tongue, but this time instead of drawing air over the tongue, make a tube with the tongue and draw the air through it. Like a drinking straw!

  7. Ujjayi

    Both Ujjayi and Surya Bheda are body heating pranayamas and so exhalation is confined to the cooling left nostril. Inhale fully through both nostrils while slightly closing the glottis.Glottis is the part of the larnyx made up of the vocal cords and the slit like opening between them. This should create a faint sobbing sound, as the air is drawn past the back of the nose. Retain the breath, applying both Bandhas Jalandhara and Moola. After the breath has been exhaled apply Uddiyaa Bandha.
    Start with three rounds build up to twenty rounds.

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