PRANAYAMA YOGA – Breathing Exercises for Beginners

PRANAYAMA YOGA – Breathing Exercises for Beginners

Breathing is something we all do. Every day. All the time. From the first breath at birth till the last breath at death, breathing is something we do without even thinking about it.

Breathing is living. It’s a vital function of life.

In the yoga tradition, breath is where a person’s life force resides, and it is referred to as pranayama.

The effects of these breathing exercises on the body and mind can be profound, creating balance and shifting the energy noticeably. 

HELPFUL TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED

Use Precaution

  • If you are pregnant or suffer from diabetes, high or low blood pressure, heart conditions, epilepsy, vertigo, or any other health problem, please consult your health care provider before performing any of these breathing exercises.
  • Listen to yourself
  • Be gentle with yourself
  • As with everything, listen to your body and be gentle with yourself. Your body will always tell you if you’re pushing too much.
HERE ARE 5 PRANAYAMA YOGA BREATHING EXERCISES FOR BEGINNERS
Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.

Alternate nostril breathing is a powerful breathing exercises that is great for beginners as well as seasoned yogis. 

Alternate Nostril Breathing or Nadi Shodhana, is thought in Ayurvedic medicine and yoga to harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain creating a balance in your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

A guide to Alternate Nostril Breathing

What is Alternate Nostril breathing?

Nadi is an internal pipe for the passage of ‘prana’ or energy-carrying cosmic vital, seminal, and other energies. Shodhana means purifying and cleansing. The term Nadi Shodhana implies the perfection of the nerves. Alternate Nostril Breathing is called Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama. Nadi Shodhana Pranayama is a simple yet effective technique that helps calms the mind, body, and emotions. You can use it before beginning a meditation practice. It helps reduce anxiety, stress, and anger. If you are having trouble sleeping, Nadi Shuddhi pranayama helps you to sleep fast.

There are different styles of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama. Still, they all serve the purpose of creating balance in the Nadis and regulates the flow of air through your nasal passages. The term Nadi Shodhana means “clearing the channels of circulation.” The Yogis realized the various disparities in the structure of the brain, lungs, and other parts of the body. They adapted asanas for even development, equal extension, and attention to both sides of the body.

Key benefits

  • Calms and centers the mind :
  • It helps bring the mind to the present moment and takes you out of the past. It helps to release old worries, regrets, and fears.
  • It is very therapeutic for both the respiratory and Circulatory systems.
  • It is stress relieving and relaxing for the body and mind.
  • Boosts energy: This Pranayama helps harmonize the brain’s left and right hemispheres, which correlate to our personality’s logical and emotional sides. Nadi Shodhana invites more oxygen into your body, which gives you more energy.
  • Maintains body temperature

Balanced Breath Pranayama

What is SAMA VRITTI Balanced Breath?

 Sama Vritti in Sanskrit means the same or equal fluctuations.

In practice, it is an equal duration of steady inhalation and exhalation. This consistent breathing pattern is soothing for both body and mind.

Sama Vritti is also the name of the energetic effect this technique offers (here), creating a calm and alert mind. When you’re not sure which pranayama technique to practice, this one is always a safe bet.

A guide to Balanced Breathing

Key benefits

  • Calming, Balance, Mental Clarity, Improved Circulation. This standard technique balances energy in the body and mind by evening out the length of the inhalation and exhalation. 
  • When you find yourself overwhelmed, anxious, or simply disconnected from your body/mind, this breath teaches you steadiness.
  •  It stabilizes and grounds an overactive Vata, so the mind and body can relax again, and it supports a gentle shift into your parasympathetic nervous system.

 

How to do this Pranayama

  • Sit in a seated, comfortable position with crossed legs or any other sitting position.
  • If you’d like, try using Gyan Mudra or Chin Mudra.
  • As you settle in, close your eyes and begin to notice your natural breath, your inhale and exhale with our forcing anything.
  •  Notice the length of your breath, the sensations in the body, and how the breath is flowing in and out through your nostrils, and the transition between your inhale and exhales.
  • If you find any tension in your breathing, see how you can make your breath more smooth, quiet, and gentle.
  • Then, start to count the inhale. Breathe in slowly but deeply for five counts. Gently turn to exhale, breathing out for five steady counts. Continue this for ten rounds. 
  • If this counting feels too short, slowly start to increase the count working your way up to a steady count of 10 (i.e., breathe in breath for eight counts and exhale for eight breaths.
  • Only go to a count that you maintain comfort and ease in the body and mind.
  • Do ten rounds of this breath at a gentle pace, continuing to relax the effort and remaining present.
  • As you finish your practice, let your normal breath comes back. Notice the peaceful changes in your body and the mind with the rhythmic, balanced breathing.

Journal your experience, noting any peculiar sensations, progress, and challenges.

TIPS: Though it takes some effort to even out the breath at first, you can relax that effort by slowing down the intake of breath on the inhalation and slowing down the output of breath on the exhalation. 

When To Do It:

  • During yoga practice
  • Prior to meditation
  • Prior to relaxation
  • Anytime you feel stress, anxious or depressed.

Bhramari Pranayama

What is Bhramari pranayama?

Bhramari came from the Sanskrit word for “bee.” This breath practice has been named after a type of black Indian bee due to the bee-like buzzing sound produced during the exhalation. Bhramari pranayama is a beneficial and helpful way to calm your mind. This is one of the best breathing exercises to release agitation, anxiety, frustration and get rid of all your stress.

 You can practice this simple-to-do technique anywhere at work or home, and an instant option available to de-stress yourself.

 

Key benefits

  • This Pranayama helps to relieve anger, tension, stress, and anxiety. 
  • It is a handy technique for people suffering from hypertension as it calms down the agitated mind.
  • Builds confidence
  • It helps relieves hypertension as it calms down the restless mind
  • Helps mitigate migraines
  • Improves concentration and memory
  • Helps in reducing blood pressure

A guide to Bramari Pranayama

How to do this Pranayama

  • Sit in a comfortable sitting posture with the spine erect, close your eyes, and relax your body. 
  • Place your index fingers onto the small triangular flaps in front of your ear canals (the tragi) and press them inward to block the ear canals. (Do not put your fingers directly into the ear canals.) 
  • Inhale slowly and entirely through both nostrils. 
  • Exhale, pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth, and start to hum loudly. Keep a continuous hum until you run out of breath. ✺There are two ways to hum: making an “mmm” sound and making an “nnn” sound. For this technique, make a nasally “nnn” sound (as in the name Nancy) to hum. Feel the vibration at the center of your brain. 
  • Repeat five times, chanting HUM without pausing.
  • Stop humming and release your arms to rest on your knees. With the breath quiet, stay focused inward until you feel the desire to come back.

When should you do this

A Practitioner should practice Bhramari Pranayama with at least four to five hours of a gap between your meals or an empty stomach. An excellent time to do this Pranayama early in the morning and or preferably before sunrise. 

 

Few Points To be Noted While Doing Bhramari Pranayama (Buzzing Bee Breath)
  • Ensure that you are not putting your fingers inside the holes of your ear, but you are pressing softly on the cartilage.
  • Don’t press the cartilage too hard. Gently press and release with the finger.
  • While humming, ensure that your lips are softly closed and touching each other.
  • You can also keep a Shanmukhi mudra while doing this Pranayama. To sit in Shanmukhi mudra, gently place your thumbs on the ear cartilage, index fingers on the forehead just above the eyebrows, middle fingers on eyes, ring fingers softly closing your nostrils, and the little fingers on corners of your lips.

Three-part Yogic Breathing

Breathing in, I calm my body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is the only moment.

What is Three-Part Breath (Dirgha Pranayama)?

Dirgha Pranayama combines diaphragmatic, thoracic, and clavicular breathing to create a full and controlled breath. You can practice this simple-to-do technique anywhere at work or home, and an instant option available to de-stress yourself.

Key Benefits:

If you’re experiencing fatigue, poor posture, or depression, this technique will help uplift you. Here are the benefits of Digha Pranayama:

  • It reduces stress and anxiety and helps calms the mind and body.
  • Promotes complete breathing
  • Increases oxygen supply to the blood
  • Help keep the lungs healthy.
  • Releases muscular tension
  • Prepares for deeper meditation

A guide to Bramari Pranayama

How to do this Three-Part Yogic Breath?

Set a timer for 10 minutes.

  • Sit on a blanket in Sukhasana or andy Cross-Legged Pose.
  • Seat an Intention that why are you doing this pranayama today?
  • What is your purpose, with a strong intention at your heart?
  •  Root your sitting bones and feel your spine grow long as you lightly extend from the crown of the head. Soften your heart and your shoulders and allow your eyes to close, and feel your body relax.
  • If you’d like, try using Gyan Mudra, Chin Mudra, or Anjali Mudra on the one hand and 
  • Place one hand over your abdomen and take a slow and deep inhale. 
  • Feel the belly inflate as like a balloon is inflating as you inhaling and deflate as you are exhaling. 
  • Practice this for five deep, slow breaths.
  • Now, place your hand two to three inches above your navel to your rib cage. Feel your ribs expanding as you inhale and retracting as you exhale. Practice this for five deep but slow breaths.
  • Place your hand below your collarbone, inhale, and let the shoulders rise high and exhale the let the shoulders move down and back. 

Vitality Through Breath- Linking and Expanding Your Three-Part Yogic Breath

  • You may continue to use your hand as a guide or try without playing your hands on your navel. Breathe into the belly, feeling it growing and expanding, and then feel it in your rig cage and collarbones.
  • With your slow and controlled exhalation, feel your collarbones drop, then your rib cage narrow, and, lastly, feel your abdomen relax toward your spine. 
  • Pause
  •  Simplified: • Inhalation: Abdomen > Rib Cage > Collarbones • Exhalation: Collarbones > Rib Cage > Abdomen
  • Allow your breath to relax and notice the energetic effects on your mind and body. 

When should you do this?

  • During yoga practice
  • Before meditation
  • Before relaxation
  • Anytime you feel like it as when you feel stressed or when your breath feels constricted. 
  • By cultivation this pranayama, you can your body and mind become more conscious of the present moment.
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