About Pranayama :
Know about meaning of Pranayama

How its done:
* Know about the accurate procedure
* Best time to practice Pranayama
* To have the maximum benefits of Pranayama, know about best time.

Advise for Beginners
Precautions required to be taken for beginners.

Guidelines for Breathing
Know about state of breathing, in a clean quiet room, facing East or North.

Types of Pranayama
Kapalabhati,bhastrika and Ujjayi (The “loud breathing”)

About Pranayama

Breathing Exercises (Pranayama)

The Meaning of Pranayama actually means a “pause in the movement of breath”. In Sanskrit, Prana means breath and Ayama means exercise. Pranayamas consist of controlled breathing practices while breathing exercises in Western countries are focused on deep breathing and maximizing oxygen in-take.

Pranayama are developed by the ancient yogis for purification. Prana translates into “life force energy” and Yama translates into “control or mastery of”. Thus, Pranyama is used to control, cultivate, and modify the Prana in the body.

How its done

Prana is taken in through the air we breathe, and since the Pranayama exercises increase the amount of air we take in, we increase the intake of Prana. For all Pranayama (except Kapalabhati) the breath is slow and steady, breathed in and out of the nose and down into the belly. Always sit with a straight spine and a relaxed body. While you are practicing Pranayama, let go of any thoughts by focusing on the breathing involved with the Pranayama.

Pranayama holds the key to tapping this Bio-energy to attain improved physiology and spiritual elevation. As a result of the everyday stresses of modern, urban life, the increased air pollution, the increased levels of radioactivity in the atmosphere,and the depletion of the ozone layer, breathing has, in response, become much more shallow and rapid. This in itself, is a precursor to many chronic respiratory ailments. Slow, relaxed, and deep breathing is a prelude to learning Pranayama. Although the total length of time required for a single cycle of breathing will vary with different persons, certain ratios of the periods needed for inhaling, pausing and exhaling are recommended.

The period occupied by exhaling should be about twice as long as that occupied by inhaling. Practice inhaling and exhaling without a full pause. Then, when you feel ready, hold your breathing for a pause which is comfortable. With continued practice, this pause can be extended to a duration which is double that of the inhalation or equal to that of the exhalation. Advanced practitioners of yoga hold their pauses to four times the duration of inhalation and double the duration of exhalation. This helps to alleiviate some of those ailments, improves the body’s respiration and increases oxygen to aid cellular respiration.

The process requires that you inhale, hold and exhale to allow freshly oxygenated blood to reach your neck muscles, tongue, throat, nose, ears, eyes and brain, and th entire sensitive area of your skull. This is especially helpful if you have a mild headache, or are overworked, tired, tense or experience sleeplessness five minutes of this relaxed breathing even has an impact. Scientific proof of this cause-effect relationship has yet to be established within Allopathic medicine.

However, there are several observational cases of chronic ailments where Pranayama has brought about considerable relief.

Guidelines for Breathing Exercises:

To understand the logic behind these breathing exercises, it is best to understand the state of breathing when you are asleep. The frequency of breathing decreases significantly when you are asleep. Almost every hour, the right or the left nostril alternately becomes more active and permits the other nostril to rest and let the mucus secretions clean up allergy causing particles trapped in the membrane.

In Yoga speak, the right nostril represents the ‘Sun Channel’. This is the side for activity and sports. The left nostril indicates the moon and is good for mental activity and creative work. The breathing process can be divided into inhaling (Puraka), exhaling (Rechaka), holding air in the lungs, and maintaining a gap between exhaling and inhaling for another breath (Bahya -Kumbhaka). The objective of breathing exercises which should only be practised under the guidance of a qualified,experienced yoga instructor,reduce the rate of respiration from 16 cycles per minute to just 4 per minute. An average adult breathes 16 to 18 times per minute, varying according to age, state of health, physical activity, body weight, etc. In order to do reduce the rate, the breathing cycle has to be prolonged from 4 seconds to 15 seconds. This should be done without any strain on the lungs,the diaphragm or the chest muscles. An ideal place to begin breathing exercises is a clean quiet room facing East or North.

The best time to practice:

Pranayama is early in the morning or at sunset. Avoid open places with lots of dust or a strong breeze. Make sure that you are not constipated or under any severe physical or mental strain when practicing these exercises.


They are advised to avoid seasons that are too cold or too hot and the rainy season with its high relative humidity. A person who is more advanced would typically follow an intensive routine of 4 sessions a day – morning, noon, evening and midnight. For a comfortable experience, one can use a folded woolen mat or a floor exercise mat – the sort a local gym or aerobics class might have.

Types of Pranayama

Kapalabhati is a breathing technique used specifically for cleansing. It removes mucus from the air passages, relieves tension and clears blockages in the chest. This is achieved via deliberately breathing faster, and at the same time using only abdominal breathing, not chest breathing.The breath is short, rapid, and strong using the lungs as a pump,and creating so much pressure to clear air passages, from the lungs up through the nostrils. Kapala means “skull,” and bhati means “that which brings lightness.” Kapalabhati is a good thing to do when feeling heavy or dizzy in the head. For problems with the sinuses or numb feeling around the eyes, kapalabhati can also be helpful.

The kapalabhati and bhastrika breathing techniques share the same general principle, namely that we clear the nasal passages with the force of the breath. As mentioned under bhastrika, we must be very careful with these techniques because there is a danger of creating tension in the breath. We may also become dizzy when we breathe rapidly; for this reason we always conclude the practice of kapalabhati with some slow breaths. It is important not to breathe rapidly too many times, but after a few rapid breaths take several slow ones in which we emphasize the long exhalation.

Ujjayi (The “loud breathing”) : This consists of drawing air in through both nostrils with the glottis held partially closed. Ujjayi translates as “what clears the throat and masters the chest area.” This partial closure of the glottis produces a sound like that heard in sobbing, except that it is continuous and unbroken. The sound should have a low but uniform pitch and be pleasant to hear. Friction of air in the nose should be avoided; consequently no nasal sounds will be heard. A prolonged full pause should begin, without any jerking, as soon as inhalation has been completed. Closure of glottis, use of chin lock and closure of both nostrils are standard. Prolong the pause as long as possible; but it should be terminated and exhalation commenced smoothly and slowly. When properly performed, exhalation proceeds slowly and steadily through the left nostril with the glottis partially closed as in inhalation. One may begin to exhale with release of air pressure by lifting the finger from his left nostril, loosening his chin lock and then partially opening his glottis. Exhalation should be complete.

Anuloma Ujjayi: Breathe in through the throat, then completely close one nostril and breathe out through the other nostril, which is only partly closed. Regulate the breathe through the nostril, never breathe through the throat at the same time.

Viloma Ujjayi: Breathe in through the nostril and breathe out through the throat. This technique is used to lengthen the inhalation.

In ujjayi pranayama it is important to follow this rule: When we regulate the breath through the nostril, we never breathe through the throat at the same time. Dirga Pranayama the 3 part breath or complete breath calming and relaxing Dirga Pranayama is called the three part breath because you are actively breathing into three parts of your abdomen. The first position is the low belly (on top of or just below the belly button), the second position is the low chest (lower half of the rib cage), and the third position is the low throat (just above the top of the sternum). The breath is continuous, in and out of the nose. The inhalation starts in the first position, the low belly; then moves to the second position, the low chest; then to the third position, the low throat. The exhalation starts in the low throat, moves to the low chest, and finishes in the low belly. Use your hands to rest on the individual positions to feel the breath rising and falling in each position. You may want to start practicing by individual isolating the movement in each position using the hands. When you have a good feel for the breath moving in and out of each position, practice with out the hands. Eventually relax the effort of the Pranayama and breathe into the three positions gently, feeling a wave of breath move up and down the torso.

Ujjayi Pranayama the victory or ocean sounding breath focusing, grounding, and aids in concentration Ujjayi Pranayama is called the ocean sounding breath because you make an ocean sound by contracting the glottis with the inhalation and exhalation. This Pranayama is done through the nose, but it is helpful to begin practicing breathing through the mouth. To make the ocean sound, whisper the syllable “h” feeling a contraction in the throat. Keep this contraction engaged on the inhalation and exhalation.

After a couple of breaths try to close the mouth, breathing through the nose while still making the ocean sound in your throat. Kapalabhati Pranayama the breath of fire or the skull shining breath invigorating, energizing, and purifying Kapalabhati is a very active, forced exhalation with a passive inhalation. To exhale, the belly quickly pumps into the spine forcing the air out of the nose (like trying to blow out a candle through you nose). Place a hand on your belly to feel the belly actively pumping. Play with the tempo (45-60 exhalations/30 seconds), but keep a steady rhythm. Start with 2-3 rounds of 30 exhalations, and gradually increase the exhalations if comfortable. Pregnancy, menstruation, unmedicated high blood pressure, recent abdominal surgery.

NadiSodhana Pranayama alternate nostril breathing balancing, calming, anti-anxiety, and very relaxing Place the right hand in Vishnu Mudra (forefinger and middle finger bent towards the palm; thumb, ring, and pinkie in the air). To do one round: close off right nostril with the thumb and inhale into the left nostril; close left nostril with ring and pinkie fingers, open the right nostril and exhale through the right; close the right nostril again, open the left, and exhale through the left nostril. Continue, doing 5-20 rounds. Sit Cari Pranayama cooling breath cools the body Curl the tongue touching the roof of the mouth as far back as you can to the soft pallet. As you inhale clench the teeth together and slightly part the lips making a hissing “ssss” sound.