Performing Pranayama


In our previous post, we talked about the different types of pranayamas and the benefits of doing a pranayama. Practising pranayama helps to improve overall health and helps the organs of the body to function better. When one practices the pranayama properly, they become more aware of their breath. There are  arious types of pranayama that one can do and we’ve listed the same for you.

Note: This is Part I of the pranayama asanas and we have listed 3 asanas for you.

For all the asanas, sit in a lotus position if you can with your neck and back straight. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.

1. AnulomVilomPranayam (Alternate Nostril Breath)

This pranayama is one of the most effective breathing exercises that will help purify the mind and the body. AnulomVilomis known to offer many benefits by helping to cure internal body conditions and keeping stress, migraines and anxiety at bay.

The best time to practise this is early morning on an empty stomach. If you can’t perform it in the morning, there has to be a gap of at least five hours after any meal so that the meal is completely digested before you perform anulomvilom.

Performing AnulomVilom

Sit in a lotus position if you can with your neck and back straight. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.

  • Close the right nostril with the right thumb. Press the thumb against your nostril to block it.
  • Breathe in slowly from the left nostril and hold the breath for a few seconds.
  • Open the right nostril and close the left nostril with your middle and ring finger
  • Breathe out slowly from the right nostril.
  • Now breathe in from the right nostril and hold the breath for a few seconds
  • Close the right nostril and open left nostril to breathe out slowly.

Repeat again. Perform this asana for 5 minutes in a day.

Note: This exercise should not be performed in pregnancy and people with any heart problems should perform this under guidance.

2.Kapalbhati Pranayama

“Kapal” means forehead and “bhati” means shining. Regular practise of Kapalbhati allows a detoxification and purification of the mind and the body. Kapalbhati has its own benefits, apart from promoting relaxation to the mind and body; it also helps promote weight loss and helps to tone the abdominal muscles. Kapalbhati helps to clear the respiratory passages, thus minimising the risk of potential allergies and infections.

Performing Kapalbhati

Sit in a lotus position if you can with your neck and back straight. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.

Kapalbhati needs to be performed correctly to or else there can be side effects associated with it

  • You will need to take a deep breath and exhale really fast and quickly by making a puffing sound as you exhale. It is important that you focus on exhaling forcefully and not on inhaling.
  • When you exhale, you will need to draw your abdominal muscles inward simultaneously. You know you are performing the exercise correctly when your abdomens rises as you inhale and fold or contracts as you exhale.

Do this for 10 counts of breathing and take a break for at least 2 minutes. Perform two more similar sets.

If you suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure or have been diagnosed with any abdominal ulcers, it is best to consult a doctor or a qualified yoga instructor to check if you can perform this exercise.

3.Bhramari Pranayama: Humming bee breath

Bhramari (Bee Breath) is a very effective pranayama to help one meditate better. Regular practise of this paranayama is known to calm the mind and help in reducing fatigue, high blood pressure, and getting rid of stress, migraine, insomnia and anxiety. Regular practise of Bhramari pranayama is known to improve the memory and concentration levels.

The best time to practise this is early morning on an empty stomach. If you can’t perform it in the morning, there has to be a gap of at least five hours after any meal so that the meal is completely digested before you perform this pranayama.

Performing Bhramari

Sit in a lotus position if you can with your neck and back straight. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.

  • Rest your palm on your knees. Open your mouth and relax your jaws.
  • Raise your arms with the elbows pointing out. Now block your ears with the tips of your thumbs over the ears without applying any pressure.
  • Place your index fingers above your eyebrows on your forehead, the middle fingers over the closed eyes and the little finger on the sides of your nostrils.
  • Inhale deeply and exhale very slowly through both nostrils.
  • Keep your mouth closed and make a low humming sound as you exhale. The humming sound should be continuous (till the time you exhale)
  • The humming will cause vibrations that you can feel at the top of your head.
  • You can mentally recite Om too as the humming sound.
  • Do this for 2-3 minutes and gently release your fingers, place it back on the knee and open your eyes slowly.

Tip: You know that you are performing this asana correctly when you feel the vibrations in your throat, jaws, and face. You can perform this breathing exercise up to twenty times a day.

Related Posts

What is pranayama?

Pic courtesy:kundaliniandchakra

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