Types of Breathing in Yoga

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Types of Breathing in Yoga

Post  mrsamct on Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:13 pm

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Yoga breathing is known as Pranayama in Sanskrit. While pran stands for breath or vital energy required for the body, ayama stands for control. When both of them are put together, it stands for controlling breath. In other words, it is breath which is the force of life and controlling it helps to achieve a healthy body and mind. Pranayama is one of the eight aspects of yoga as mentioned by Patanjali in the text Yoga Sutra. There are five types of breathing, which are responsible for different activities of the body. The five types of breaths, as mentioned by Patanjali are Prana, Apana, Vyan, Udana and Samana. The most important of the five are namely Prana and Apana. While Prana is the upward flowing wind (breath) and Apana is the downward flowing wind. Practicing the different types of yoga breathing helps in not only achieving healthy body, but also healthy mind.

Different Types of Yoga Breathing Techniques

When one is doing the yoga breathing exercises, it is important to be sitting in the right position. The best position to sit in when one is doing the deep breathing exercises is the cross legged pose. If you have problems with the knee or have been prohibited from sitting in a cross position, then you can sit on a chair with your legs hanging down. The next thing to be taken care of is the placement of the hands. The index finger and thumb should be pressed into one another. Place your thumb on the nail of the index finger and sit with an erect spine. Your hands should be placed on your thighs with palm facing upward. It is recommended, that one closes the eyes, when one practices the different yoga breathing techniques.

Bhastrika Pranayam
This breathing technique should be practiced, before any of the other techniques. Sit in a crossed legged position with your hands placed on the thigh. Breathe through your nostrils into your abdomen. In other words, you will have to do abdominal breathing. Slowly exhale, till all the air comes out of the stomach. Repeat this process at least 15 to 20 times before you do the other types of yogic breathing.

Anuloma Viloma
This yoga breathing technique is known as Alternate Nostril Breathing. It helps in cleansing and strengthening the respiratory system. The most important advantage of this breathing exercise is that it helps in balancing both the hemispheres of the brain and in turn relaxing the mind. To do this exercise, place the thumb of the right hand on the right nostril and the other fingers extended out straight. When the thumb is placed on the right nostril, the nostril has to be closed. Now breathe I through the left nostril, place the index finger on the left nostril, as you lift the thumb of the right nostril and exhale from the right nostril. Then breathe in through the right nostril, with the left nostril closed and exhale through the left nostril with the right nostril closed. This is one iteration of the breathing exercise. Repeat the exercise 12 to 15 times on each side.

Kapalbhati
This breathing exercise has an cleansing effect on the lungs and respiratory system, as it also has strengthening effects. To do this pranayama, sit in a comfortable meditative posture, with your spine erect. You will always inhale and exhale only through your nose, when you do this breathing exercise. Contract the middle and lower abdominal muscles, as you exhale through the nostrils. Release the contracted muscles and exhale forcefully. Continue to about 60 to 100 such strokes in one minute. Along with forceful exhalation, you will have to have passive inhalation.

Bhramari
If you are looking for yoga breathing for relaxation, then this technique is the right one for you. It has a relaxing effect and also gives peace and joy to the person practicing it. Sit crossed legged with your spine erect. Inhale through your nose, till the inhalation caresses the throat. Now close your ears using the index fingers and make a humming sound. Then slowly exhale as you continue to make the humming sound. The humming sound creates vibrations, which has a calming effect.

Sheetali
This breathing technique is also known as cooling breath. It often proves to be useful in treating fever, reduces high blood pressure and has a cooling effect on the nervous system. It is also said to be helpful in purifying the blood. Sit in a cross legged position with hands placed on the thighs. Draw your tongue out and roll it up from the sides to make tube like opening. Inhale through your mouth, till your lungs are filled with air. Close your mouth and hold the breath for sometime before you exhale through your nose.

These were some of the types of yoga breathing. It is advisable to practice these breathing techniques, only under the supervision of a yoga teacher. If these techniques are not followed properly, it can have adverse effect on the body. Likewise, when the techniques are followed properly, it has positive effects on the body. Similarly, pregnant women should consult their physician, before they practice yogic breathing.

mrsamct

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