Pranayama: Breathing Exercise for Healthy Mind and Body

Our daily life is filled with stress and worry. Pranayama can help us in reaching the peaceful and calm state of mind.

Can’t concentrate on work? Feel like you need a break from all the work? Feel like you have been overworking? Need a vacation, but don’t have time for it? Yes, this is the problem which me, you and many others face every day. The routine drill of home and office can become monotonous.

The constant pressure at work and home can be stressful and have a negative impact on our health and our performance. But, not all of us can get up and just go for a vacation whenever we want. Responsibilities, they become a hurdle.

But, to overcome this problem and relieve the stress, most of the people practice breathing exercises. You don’t have to wait for the weekend to relax. You can do these exercises while sitting in an office or at home. These breathing exercises called Pranayama can help in improving the health and spread positivity. Yoga and meditation have been appreciated for its effectiveness, by the experts all over the world.

Origin of Pranayama

Pranayama is a part of ancient Indian yoga. It is a Sanskrit word which is formed by two words, prana and yama or ayama. Prana means life force. Yama means to control the breath and ayama means to extend or draw out the breath.

The yogic seers understood the power of breath and they developed the various breathing method for better life, improve health and mental strength.

Here are are five Pranayama techniques, which can assist in controlling the stress, making you calm and increasing the positivity around you.

5 Techniques of Pranayama

5 Techniques of Pranayama

Bhramari Pranayama (Humming bee breath)

How to do it: Sit up straight and close your eyes and relax. Bring your hands to your face, use your thumbs to cover your ears and your fingers to cover your eyes. Stay like that for some time and get tuned to the sensations in your body. Now, inhale through your nose and as you exhale, make a long humming sound like a bee. You can make low humming sound, but it is better to make loud humming sound. Repeat this 3-4 times.

This exercise can calm the frustration and anxiety and help in letting go of anger. This exercise calm and soothes the nerves around the brain and the forehead.

Kapalbhati Pranayama (Skull Shining breath)

How to do it: Sit with your spine erect. Place your hands on your knees, facing up. Or you can keep one hand on your stomach. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, pull in your stomach. You can feel the muscles of abdominal, contracting. When you relax the abdomen, the breath flows in your lungs. 20 such breath complete a round of Kapalbhati Pranayama. After completing a round, close your eyes and relax and feel the sensations in your body.

Regular practice of this technique, helps in detoxifying all the systems of your body.

Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows Breath)

How to do it: This is a very powerful breathing technique which involves fast inhalations and exhalations. Sit up straight and rest your back against the wall. Take in a sharp inhale, letting the diaphragm drop low, followed by a sharp exhale, contracting the abdomen. Ten breaths of this technique make one round. Do three rounds.

As this is a fast breathing method, people suffering from any respiratory or cardiac condition should avoid it. This exercise gives you a quick energy boost.

Ujjai (Victory Breath or Ocean Breath)

How to do it: Sit straight and relax your neck and shoulder. Take a deep breath through your nose and slowly exhale through your mouth. As you exhale, contract your throat and make an ‘ahhh’ sound. Once you are comfortable with this exercise, close your mouth while exhaling and make the ‘ahhh’ sound.

This exercise is believed to increase metabolism and increase your energy. It has a calming effect on you.

Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

How to do it: Sit straight and keep your shoulders relaxed. Place your left hand on your left knee, facing upwards. Now, place the tips of the index finger and middle finger of your right hand between the eyebrows. Keep the ring finger and little finger on left nostril and thumb on right nostril. Press your thumb on the right nostril and breathe in through the left nostril.

Now, press your ring finger and little finger on your left nostril and breathe out of your right nostril. Now, breathe in through your right nostril and breathe out through your left nostril.

This complete one round on Alternate nostril breathing. Complete nine rounds of this technique by alternately breathing through each nostril.

This technique helps in releasing the tension and fatigue from your body. It keeps the mind calm, happy and peaceful.

Benefits of Pranayama

 Caution before doing Pranayama

Before doing any kind of exercise, it is always better to talk to your doctor. Pregnant women, people suffering from hypertension, cardiovascular disease should not do Bellows breathing technique and Skull shining breathing technique. People suffering from any heart problems or respiratory condition should consult the doctor before doing any exercises.

Benefits of Pranayama

  • It calms the mind and releases it from all the worries and anxieties.
  • It energizes your body and fills you with enthusiasm.
  • Helps in improving your focus and concentration on work or at school.
  • These exercises refreshes your mind and body.
  • It keeps you healthy and may indirectly extend your life.
  • Boost the immune system.
  • Helps you to de-stress.
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Improves respiratory system

Beneficial for emotional healing

Doing pranayama can have a huge positive impact on our emotions. People dealing with depression, anxiety, stress can benefit a lot through this. Usually we can detect a person’s emotional state by the way he/she is breathing.

People who are panicking or are angry, breathe fast. People who are happy, have a normal breathing pattern. So, if we can’t control our emotions, we can control our breathing pattern which is affected by the emotions.

When we go through some emotional upheaval, our body reacts to it like our heart rate increases, blood pressure lowers or increases, etc. During such time, it is not ease to command the body.

But we can take charge of our breathing and bring it under control and eventually bring our body under control. Learning breathing techniques help us in improving our mental strength. It can help convert the negative thoughts into positive.

Pranayama is essential for our well-being and peace of mind.

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