It is a combination of two words “Prana and Yama”. Prana means life ,whereas Yama means control. Thus by Pranayama we mean a control on life or control on breathing. It refers to breathing exercises that are used for relaxation, concentration and meditation. They have three stages:-
It is performed to exercise control over breath. By this process the breath is held inside after inhaling and is released after some time. The duration of the control over breath is increased gradually.
Close your right nostril breathe through the left nostril , counting up to eight. Hold the breath , counting nine or ten. The whole breath will be released outside. Then close the left nostril and take breath through the right nostril counting up o eight.
Hold the breath counting nine or ten thus releasing the whole breath outside as before. Again close the right nostril and take a breath through the left and repeat the process.
Importance of Pranayama
Pranayama is cleanliness of out mind. It is increases our memory, removes mental diseases and helps in the cleanliness of nerves. It give us the strengthens of out nervous system and removes mental instability.
It also makes man’s souls strong. It removes all the evils and bad characteristics give way to good ones. It lends strength to the muscles of stomach and chest and many organs of the abdomen get massaged.
Pranayama makes the breathing proper . with proper breathing body gets enough oxygen. The capacity of heart thus increases and it becomes strong. The blood circulation improves which in trun increases the health of nervous and glandular systems.
All the organs of our body begin to function properly. In fact both the system nervous and glandular are the bases of health. It makes one’s voice sweet and clean. Diseases of throat , nose and ears are removed.
The face becomes attractive and impressive and eyes get brightened. With the cleaning of the spinal cord one begins to heave improved appetite and health improves considerably.
Types of Pranayama
Sheetli Pranayama :-
It is a part of Hatha Yoga. Sheetal means calmness. It is a breathing exercise that reduces internal heat and restores mental , physical and emotional equilibrium.
Sit cross-legged comfortably on the floor with your feet on your thighs and the soles facing upwards. Straight your spine and head. Join the tips of index fingers to the tips of the thumbs and let the other fingers remain either extended or loose. Gently close your eyes and relax your mind and body.
Open your mouth and try to fold your tongue slowly while stretching it out . inhale gently with the hissing sound to feel the coolness of intake of air. Then take your tongue inside and hold your breath as long as possible with closed eyes.
Next feel the breath penetrating into your brain and spreading into your nervous system. Feel the coolness while gradually exhaling through your nose. This is just one round of Sheetli Pranayama . Repeat it 10 to 15 times regularly.
- it reduces anger, anxiety and stress.
- it purifies blood and refreshes body and mind.
- it is useful for those who feel tired , sleepy and lazy while getting up to the morning or during the day.
- it keeps body and mind cool.
- It should not be practiced in cold weather.
- Patients of cold, cough, asthma, bronchitis and heart disease should avoid this pranayama.
Sheetkari Pranayama :-
Shee stands for sound which is produced during inhaling and kari means which produces something. Thus pranayama can be defined as a breathing exercise in which the sound “shee” is produced.
Sit comfortable in any Asana. Slowly close ur eyes. Relax your body and mind.
Clinch your upper and lower teeth. Widen your lips as much as possible. Fold your tongue in such a way that its tip touches the roof of the mouth. Inhale slowly but deeply through the teeth with a sound “shee”. After inhalation keep your lips closed and relax your tongue.
Hold your breath as long as you can. Exhale the breath through your nose slowly. But do not open your mouth. This is one round of pranayama. Perform 10 to 15 rounds regularly.
- Those who suffer from cold, cough or asthma should not perform.
- Patients of high BP and heart disease should avoid practising it.
- It keeps body and mind cool.
- it removes excess heat in body.
- it is very effective in stress management.
Kapalabhati Stand for “Kapal” that means “Forehead “ and “Bhati” that means “shining “. Thus kapalabhati refers to a shining face with inner radiance. It is highly energising abdominal breathing exercise. In this pranayama is quick exhalation and normal inhalation are performed.
Sit in a cross legged position with a straight back. Let your hands rest on knees. Relax your body and mind.
Slowly and deeply inhale through both nostrils while expanding the abdomen. Exhale through nose while pulling the abdomen in . again inhale effortlessly. Just relax and the lungs will automatically be filled with air. Having performed 10 to 15 quick exhalation and natural inhalation inhale and exhale deeply.
- Patients of heart disease, high BP, hernia , asthma should avoid this breathing exercise.
- if pain or dizziness is experienced. It should be stopped.
- it should be practiced on empty stomach only.
- it improves digestive system.
- body gets an enhanced supply of oxygen.
- it is useful for lungs and entire respiratory system.
- it prepares the mind for meditation.
Ujjai Pranayama is the foundation of proper breathing as it is one of the most commonly practiced breathing exercises. In Yoga, it is believed that our life is measured by the number of breaths we take. So Ujjai Pranayama is suggested to smoothen the flow of breath and lengthen the span of life.
Sit comfortably in a cross legged position. Gently close your eyes relax your body and mind.
Inhale deeply and exhale smoothly. Tighten your neck muscles and make a sound with your closed mouth while inhaling. When lungs are filled with air , hold your breath as long as possible. Close your right nostril. Slowly , exhale with your left nostril. This is just one round of Ujjai Pranayama. Perform 10 to 15 rounds regularly.
- Beginners should practice this breathing exercise without holding their breath.
- It is always good and advisable that this breathing exercise should be performed under the guidance.
- People suffering from high BP and severe heart disease should not do this exercise.
- It removes cough and clears throat.
- it is good for lower back and reduces mass around waistline.
- it cures snoring trouble.
- it strengthens heart muscles.
- it harmonies the respiratory system.