Pranayama is the practice of controlling the breath, which is the source of our vital life force or prana. Pranayama can have various benefits for our physical, mental, and emotional health, depending on the type and technique of breathing we use. In this blog post, we will explore some of the different pranayama exercises for various goals, such as calming the mind, boosting energy, cleansing the body, and balancing the energy channels.
1. Bhramari Pranayama: This is also known as the humming bee breath, as it involves making a humming sound while exhaling. This pranayama can help calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve concentration. To practice bhramari pranayama, sit comfortably with a straight spine and close your eyes. Place your index fingers on your ears and gently press the cartilage. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly while making a humming sound like a bee. Repeat this for 5 to 10 rounds.
2. Kapalbhati Pranayama: This is also known as the skull shining breath, as it involves forceful exhalations that cleanse the lungs and sinuses. This pranayama can help increase energy, improve digestion, clear mucus, and stimulate the brain. To practice kapalbhati pranayama, sit comfortably with a straight spine and place your hands on your knees. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale forcefully through your nose while contracting your abdominal muscles. The inhalation should be passive and the exhalation should be active. Repeat this for 20 to 30 rounds.
3. Bhastrika Pranayama: This is also known as the bellows breath, as it involves rapid and powerful inhalations and exhalations that create heat in the body. This pranayama can help boost metabolism, burn fat, increase oxygen intake, and strengthen the respiratory system. To practice bhastrika pranayama, sit comfortably with a straight spine and place your hands on your knees. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale forcefully through your nose while expanding and contracting your chest. The inhalation and exhalation should be equal in duration and intensity. Repeat this for 10 to 15 rounds.
4. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama: This is also known as the alternate nostril breathing, as it involves breathing through one nostril at a time while closing the other one with your fingers. This pranayama can help balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain, harmonize the energy channels or nadis in the body, calm the nervous system, and improve focus. To practice nadi shodhan pranayama, sit comfortably with a straight spine and use your right thumb to close your right nostril. Inhale deeply through your left nostril and then use your right ring finger to close your left nostril. Exhale through your right nostril and then inhale through the same nostril. Switch fingers and exhale through your left nostril. This completes one round. Repeat this for 5 to 10 rounds.