We talked about the definition
of Pranayama and Pran-sakthi in the previous article In this article, we will
talk about the types of Pranayama, the procedure to practice Pranayama and of
course, the benefits.
Pranayama is a scientific
method of breathing. Take deep and long breaths through the nose. Before
starting Pranayama, one should take 5 to 6 long and deep breaths through nose
in order to relax the material body.
Exhalation or (Rechaka)
While exhaling, the abdominal muscles help to evacuate the lungs by raising
the diaphragm. Greater volume of fresh air should enter the lungs. Unless we
first breathe out fully, it is impossible to breath in correctly.
Having emptied the lungs, the next step is to fill them up to the maximum
possible extent. The total volume of air which the lungs are able to contain
is known as the vital capacity, which is about six liters. Before one can
contemplate to increase this capacity, full use must be made of what is
already available. Scientific breathing enables the practitioner to do this.
Adequate supply of oxygen is
essential for the proper functioning and vitality of the cells. It is
therefore, vitally important to breath correctly so that every cell can
Holding breath, systematically, both before inhalation and exhalation is
called Kumbhaka. Before exhaling, holding the breath for few seconds is known
as Antara Kumbhaka and before inhaling, holding the breath for few seconds is
knows as Bahaya Kumbhaka.
The practice of breath hold out
in midst of Pranayama enables the increase of heat in the body and thereby
longevity. It also enables increase of concentration beside physical and
mental power. Kumbhaka should not be practiced by those below 15-16 years of
age and those suffering from hypertension, heart diseases, asthma and ulcer.
Naadi Shudhi-purification of
subtle perception paths
Sit erect in Padmasana or any
other meditative posture exhaling completely.
Right hand's thumb must be
lightly placed on the right nostril. Take long, deep and steady breaths from
the left nostril. Feel that breath is passing into you.
Now place the right hand ring
finger on left nostril. Lift up the right thumb from right nostril and empty
out the breath. Make a round, intake from left and breathe out from the
Inhalation and exhalation
should be of same duration. Combine Kumbhaka with this in the ratio of
1:4:2. If you inhale in four seconds, retain the breath for 16 seconds and
then exhale in 8 seconds. The above can always be improved with more and
Initially, 5 to 9 rounds is
recommended, but after more practice, one can go upto 20 to 25 rounds daily.
Early morning and late evenings are good time for the above practice.
The benefits of above practice
may be seen in 4 to 6 months time. This leads to purification of Nadi's. There
are supposed to be 7.2 million nadi's in the body. This is very beneficial
before sitting in meditation as it helps to improve concentration. It also
lightens the body, improves brightness of eyes, and digestion system. It helps
to reduce hypertension and anxieties.
In Sanskrit, Bhastrika means
bellows. Just as a blacksmith blows his bellows rapidly, the same way one has
to blow the breaths.
Sit in a calm meditative
posture with straight backbone. Inhale breath with force and speed from both
nostrils. The stomach and chest will balloon up and shrink fast too. Practice
this for ten times. Inhale deep, retain the breath, as long as comfortable and
exhale. This will complete one round. One can easily go unto ten rounds. Take
2-3 deep breaths after each round to avoid tiredness. This type of Pranayama
leads to high speed circulation of blood with increased heat. The further
progress on rounds should strictly be done according to one's own capacity and
comfort levels. Patients of hypertension and heart should not practice this.
The benefits are plenty.
Inflammatory diseases of the nose and chest, asthama, gas wind etc. can be
cured or prevented. It creates extra strength in the body. If combined with
Kumbhaka, it regenerates vital energy of the body. It also purifies the
Sitali (Beak tongue pranayama)
Fold the tongue like a tube
lengthwise and push it out of mouth. Inhale, through the tongue with a
hissing, Siiiiiiiiii, sound. Both the cheeks swollen like balloon with breath
retained as long as comfortable. In order to help hold breath, one may lower
chin so as to touch throat. Lift up the chins, and release breath slowly
through nostrils. The remaining breath may be vented out through mouth.
Practice this for six times. This can be done even while standing.
Sadant (Breath through teeth
Press the upper teeth on the
lower ones. Slowly breath in through gaps of teeth's with a hissing sound like
Siiiiiiiiii. While breathing in, feel the coolness of air taken in. Allow the
breath to stop automatically. Exhale through both nostrils. Repeat the cycle
as much as one can do, comfortably.
Both Sitali and Sadant are
cooling pranayama. The cool feelings helps to calm down the mind by removing
tension and anxiety. The respiratory system becomes more vigorous. It helps to
reduce pyorrhea and hypersensitivity of gums. It is particularly useful during
summer season. These Pranayama may not be practiced in extreme winter and
Bhramari (Bee sounding
Sit in padmasana or any other
meditative posture. Breath in long and deep, through both nostrils. Hold
breath for some time as according to one's capacity. Exhale slowly through
nostrils, very slowly so as to produce a humming sound like a female bee.
Repeat the cycle several time.
There will be vibrations in the
entire body including ears and face. With continuous practice, the vibrations
spreads like a ring around the body and thereby helps in relaxing body and
easing tension. It also helps in improving concentration. It is also known as
door step to meditation. In public meditation, the humming sweet sound,
generated out of this pranayama from different people sitting around, help
increase concentration. It helps reduce anger and fear. Everybody can do this
pranayama including BP and heart patients.
Pranayama is a key methodology
towards good and balanced health. It is advisable that the starters must do it
under guidance until they become perfect.
Compiled from the Works of
By Mrs Vidya Jain