What is Pranayama?

Pranayama is the a part of yoga that offers with respiratory workout routines in order that we will take management of prana (very important life drive). While Prana could be understood because the supply and reason behind motion in our respiratory.

The complete idea of pranayama is predicated on the connection between breath and thoughts. The breath is claimed to the car of the thoughts, when the breath is sluggish and deep the thoughts occurs in its calm state.

If you need a graphic description of pranayama, you may take a look at the infographic beneath!

Pranayama infographic

A full expression of pranayama can be clear to you should you knew the which means of that time period.

Pranayama which means

The which means of pranayama could be understood by dividing it into two methods;

  1. Pranayama – Pran + Ayama
  2. Pranayama – Prana + Yama

In each circumstances, Pran & Prana outline the identical entity, i.e. H. Vital drive, whereas Ayama means growth and Yama means management.

According to the primary translation (Pran + Ayama), Pranayama means the growth of the life drive. By increasing, Pranayama will increase the reminiscence to order the Prana within the physique by activating it at the next frequency.

However, the second translation exhibits how pranayama works.

Pranayama meaningImage supply: Canva

Accordingly, Pranayama means the strategy of controlling Prana. In pranayama follow the aim is to create an expanded house for vitality within the type of prana by way of managed inhalation, exhalation and restraint.

However, the interpretations are completely different. If you might be observing, each of the Pranayama meanings serve the identical functions; H. Control of the breath to develop the prana within the physique.

What precisely is Prana?

Prana shouldn’t be mistaken for breath, however breath is an prompt supply of prana.

In his ebook The Science of Pranayama, Sri Swami Sivananda says;

Prana will not be precisely the breath, however it’s named after "energy in the universe that causes the breath to move". Whatever strikes, works, or has life within the universe is the manifestation of Prana.

Pranayama respiratory workout routines are instruments to extend the provision of pranic vitality by bettering the standard of respiratory or the best way we breathe usually.

There are 5 varieties of prana that we management by working towards pranayama:

  • Prana Vayu – The vayu or breath we absorb by way of the nostril.
  • Apana Vayu – The vayu or breath that we exhale.
  • Samana Vayu – The vayu or breath that continues to be within the lungs and abdomen after a full exhalation.
  • Udana Vayu – The Vayu or breath, which is chargeable for actions in our limbs and our thought course of.
  • Vyana Vayu – The Vayu or breath, which distributes vitality all through the physique and thoughts.

Improved high quality of prana is the one purpose you’re feeling charged after working towards pranayama. The following are bodily issues that make pranayama a very good therapeutic follow;

  • Some pranayama messages ship to completely different facilities of the mind and management insulin hormone secretion – useful in treating diabetes.
  • Slow respiratory workout routines activate the parasympathetic nervous system (resting and digestive capabilities) and decrease the manufacturing of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Practicing deep pranayama respiratory for a headache relieves the extreme pressure in muscle mass such because the neck and higher chest. It relieves pressure complications.

You can learn extra scientifically confirmed advantages of pranayama by clicking the hyperlink beneath!

The fourth limb of yoga

Pranayama breathes 4th limb after AsanaPranayama breathes 4th limb after Asana. Image supply: Canva

Pranayama comes within the fourth step in Patanjalis eight limbs. According to the Yoga Sutra, Yamas (social ethics), Niyama (private ethics) and Asana (posture) must be mastered earlier than pranayama. Only when a yogi is totally established in asanas and in charge of the physique is that this thought of to be an efficient pranayama follow.

Yoga asanas are alleged to make us conscious of all physique actions on the bodily degree, whereas pranayama lets us acknowledge the reason for these physique actions (mentally).

Pranayama is the connection between the psychological and bodily disciplines. While the motion is bodily, it causes the thoughts to change into calm, clear, and regular.

~ Swami Vishnu-Devananda (a disciple of Sivananda Saraswati)

The which means of pranayama in accordance with Asana could be understood from this analogy.

Imagine the bodily physique is sort of a plastic bottle that accommodates some water. The water in a plastic bottle is just like the prana within the bodily physique.

The stability of the water within the plastic bottle is dependent upon the stability of the bottle itself. When a bottle will not be secure, water within the bottle stirs. In the identical method, Prana can not stabilize (by way of Pranayama) till the bodily physique is secure (by way of Asana).

Therefore, working towards asana earlier than pranayama is essential.

Before pranayama suggestions

In the only of phrases, working towards pranayama is not any completely different from being very consciously observing the breath. Before you start working towards pranayama, it’s worthwhile to maintain monitor of your time, place, posture, and bodily situation.

By observing such staple items earlier than working towards pranayama, you may get the utmost advantages of pranayama.

Here are some things to think about;

  • See in case your again is straight, your chest is nicely stretched, and your entire physique muscle mass are relaxed. If you’re feeling snug in a meditative pose like "Easy Pose" or "Lotus Pose", sit in a chair if you’re uncomfortable in a cross-legged pose. Good posture is required for breath administration, quantity, and resonance.
  • Take a couple of deep breaths after you might be snug in your sitting place. Make certain that you’re respiratory on the regular price. neither quick nor sluggish.
  • Check that each nostrils are flowing evenly by putting a finger on the underside of the nostrils. It is most well-liked to follow Pranayama in Brahmamuhurta (an hour and a half earlier than dawn) as this time each nostrils circulate equally and Prana flows by way of Sushumna Nadi with out a lot effort.
  • Make certain your bowels and bladder are empty earlier than working towards pranayama. There should be a break of no less than Four to six hours between your final meal and pranayama coaching.
  • Check your room to see whether it is nicely ventilated or not. If not, go for an open house just like the one above or on the ground the place the air is recent sufficient.

Pranayama (respiratory workout routines) varieties | How do you

There are a number of respiratory workout routines in yoga that enable prana to circulate freely by regulating the inhalation, exhalation, and retention of breath – known as pranayama respiratory.

The conventional hatha yoga practices embody Eight pranayama respiratory workout routines, additionally known as kumbhakas.

These Eight conventional pranayamas are collectively known as Sahita Pranayama – Pranayama, which requires effort.

1. Surya Bhedana (proper nostril pranayama respiratory)

surya bhedna pranayama

Surya Bhedana means "sun piercing". The solar represents Pingala Nadi or the correct nostril in our physique, therefore this pranayama calls the correct nostril respiratory.

How do you:

  • Sit comfortably in a cross-legged place
  • Do Vishnu Mudra together with your proper hand
  • Close your left nostril together with your proper ring finger
  • Inhale deeply by way of your proper nostril
  • Hold your breath for a couple of seconds
  • Exhale by way of the left nostril by closing the correct nostril together with your thumb
  • Repeat the method 10 instances – inhale the correct nostril and exhale the left nostril

2.Sitkari Pranayama (hissing breath)

Sitkari Pranayama

Sitkari cools down pranayama respiratory, which creates a hissing sound as you inhale, by connecting the higher and decrease tooth.

How do you:

  • Come in a snug sitting place
  • Bring your higher and decrease tooth collectively in a line
  • Open your lips comfortably
  • Inhale into your mouth by way of open lips and tooth with a hissing sound.
  • Hold your breath inside for a couple of nice seconds
  • Close your lips and exhale by way of your nostrils
  • Repeat the method 10 instances.

3. Sitali Pranayama (cooling breath)

sitali pranayama

Sitali means calming cooling impact. In this pranayama, the breath is drawn in by doing the kaki mudra like a mouth, like taking a sip by way of a straw.

How do you:

  • Come in a snug sitting place
  • Curl your tongue from the edges right into a U-shaped form.
  • Inhale by way of the curled tongue
  • Hold your breath for 6-Eight seconds by together with the ching in Jalandhar Bandha
  • Release the bandha, pull your tongue inward, shut your mouth, and exhale by way of your nostril.
  • Repeat the method 6 instances in a single session.

4. Bhramari Pranayama (buzzing bee breath)

Brahmari Pranayama

Bhramari known as to the hum of a bee. With this pranayama respiratory a "hmmmmm" -like buzzing out of the throat is produced when exhaling.

How do you:

  • Sit up straight and put your palms in Shanmukhi Mudra
  • Breathe in by way of partially open nostrils
  • As you exhale, create a "hmmmmm" -like hum out of your throat. Exhale so long as you may.
  • Feel the calming vibration in your head.
  • Repeat the method 5 instances, then launch your palms from the mudra.

5. Bhastrika Pranayama (bellows respiratory)

Bhastrika Pranayama

In Bhastrika Pranayama respiratory that The stomach wall expands and contracts as you breathe out and in like a bellows in a burning furnace. It induces an immense fireplace within the physique, which can be known as "Fire breath".

How do you:

  • Sit excessive in a snug cross-legged place
  • Inhale and lift your palms above your head. Lengthen your backbone and really feel the opening of your chest
  • Exhale, carry your palms to shoulder peak, and make a fist together with your palms.
  • Breathe out and in rapidly this fashion – 20 instances
  • Relax, watch your breath and get out of the pose.

6. Murcha Pranayama (handed out breath)

Murcha Pranayama

Murcha is a panoramic pranayama follow by which a practitioner holds their breath for an prolonged time period by locking the chin in Jalandhar Bandha. It will increase lung capability.

How do you:

  • Come together with your legs crossed and your palms in your knees
  • Inhale, increase your head and lengthen the muscle mass of the neck
  • Exhale, put your head in your throat
  • Hold your breath in your lungs to the purpose the place you’re feeling light-headed.
  • Release the throat lock and exhale all air out of your lungs
  • Inhale and exhale like this for five rounds

7.Ujjayi Pranayama (ocean respiratory)

Ujjayi Pranayama

Ujjayi aka ocean respiratory train is the perfect pranayama for sleeping and relieving psychological stress. In this pranayama, while you exhale, a soothing sound like ocean waves approaching the shore is created by way of a narrowed throat. It can be known as victorious breath.

How do you:

  • To follow ujjayi, you sit in padmasana or sukhasana.
  • Seal your lips, tighten your neck muscle mass, think about a gap in your throat.
  • Inhale by way of your nostril and really feel the air rush by way of the opening in your throat
  • Exhale all of the air and create the sound "HHHHHAAAA" by way of the narrowed throat
  • Repeat this course of for Three to five minutes.

8. Plavini Pranayama (floating breath)

Plavini Pranayama

Plavini is a complicated respiratory train of pranayama by which air is first inhaled into the abdomen after which left inside for a while. The result’s a bloated abdomen that makes the practitioner really feel like they’re floating on the floor of the water, often known as floating breath.

How do you:

  • Come cross-legged
  • Inhale and fill your lungs and abdomen with recent air. Expand your chest to fill air past regular instances
  • When you inhale totally, lock your throat in Jalandhar Bandha
  • Feel the surplus of air within the stomach, which results in inflated stomach organs
  • Then slowly launch the Jalandhar Bandha and breathe usually
  • Repeat respiratory this fashion 5 instances.

Aside from conventional pranayama workout routines, there are lots of different pranayama breaths which are practiced by yogis. One can strive completely different pranayamas bearing in mind their wants and experience. For instance, a newbie in yoga ought to by no means strive pranayama that requires holding the breath for an prolonged time period, as with Murcha & Plavini (see above).

Here are 14 varieties of pranayama and their results on the physique!

However, some pranayama strategies can simply be carried out by an individual who’s new to yoga. Such respiratory workout routines don’t require any breath management information, so they’re straightforward to carry out with easy directions. For instance; Alternative nasal respiratory (Nadi Shodhan Pranayama), Anulom Vilom, Kapalbhati and Sama Vritti are straightforward to do, so a newbie can provide it a strive!

Story of pranayama

History of pranayama

The description of varied respiratory workout routines of pranayama could be present in historic Hindu texts that have been dated about 6000 years in the past.

The fundamental concept of ​​the traditional yogi to invent varied pranayama strategies was to extend vitality and lifespan. Ancient yogis noticed the connection between breath counts and the person lifespan of creatures in nature. It made them understand that checking breath counts could be a good suggestion to increase lifespan. That is why Swami Sivananda mentioned:

A yogi measures life by the variety of breaths, not the variety of years.

~ Swami Sivananda

Here are some historic scriptures that can provide you an concept of ​​the historical past of pranayama.

1. Chandogya Upanishad

Chandogya is without doubt one of the oldest Hindu Upanishads by which the time period "Prana" was used. It was used someplace in historical past previous to the introduction of the time period "pranayama".

Chandogya Upanishad describes:

"Prana" is utilized by gods as a weapon in opposition to demons in struggle. When, on the request of the deity, all physique and sensory organs couldn’t stand in opposition to evil in struggle, the gods worshiped “Prana”. Demons couldn’t stand in opposition to Prana.

The superiority of “Prana” makes it the grasp of all physique and sensory organs. It was not influenced by good or dangerous (god or dangerous) in struggle.

By regulating the breath in pranayama one can management the prana and with all of it physique organs, senses and the thoughts.

In this textual content the vitality of prana (pranic vitality) can be equated with the vitality of the solar. This is why the physique can use austerity measures or tapas (by way of yoga practices) to generate warmth within the physique (like photo voltaic vitality).

2. Bhagavad Gita

The follow of pranayama can be described in varied verses of the Bhagavad Gita.

The Bhagavad Gita explains find out how to inhale and exhale breaths. It additionally describes how controlling your inhalations and exhalations may help your consciousness circulate on a deep degree. Chapter 5 of the Bhagavad Gita highlights find out how to management the 5 senses, thoughts, and mind by working towards pranayama.

3. Maitrayaniya Upanishad

Maitrayaniya Upanishad, composed across the 4th century BC. Chr., Emphasizes pranayama on step one of the sixfold yoga path.

In the Maitrayaniya Upanishad it’s defined that the common follow of Pranayama and the focus on the sacred syllable OM “Prana” leads by way of the central vitality channel (Sushumna Nadi). When Prana flows by way of Sushumna Nadi, Kundalini vitality is activated within the physique.

The sixfold yoga path served because the floor for Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, which later appeared within the 2nd century BC. Was composed.

Pranayama within the Yoga Sutra

The Patanjali Yoga Sutra (YSP) is the primary yogic textual content by which the character of respiratory and pranayama steering was fantastically described. However, Patanjali outlined all about pranayama and its which means in 5 sutras of chapter 2.

Sutra 49 – Pranayama Definition

Yoga Sutra Chapter 2 Sutra 49 offers with the definition of pranayama;

Tasminsati shwasaprashwasayorgativicchedaha pranayamaha ~ 2.49

A managed disturbance or interruption of respiratory out and in is outlined as pranayama when one has established oneself in a secure and comfortably seated asana.

Sutra 50 – Three levels of respiratory regulated by pranayama

According to the definition of Pranayama, Sutra 50 explains three phases of respiratory; H. Inhale (Purak), Exhale (Rechak), and Retention (Kumbhak), and the way Pranayama regulates it in 3 ways.

Bahya bhyantara stambha vrittih desha kala sankhyabhih paridrishto dirgha sookshmah. ~ 2.50

Pranayama has three elements of exterior or exterior circulate (exhalation), inside or inside circulate (inhalation), and the third, which is the absence of each throughout the transition between them, referred to as fixation, retention or suspension. These are regulated by place, time and quantity, with the breath turning into sluggish and delicate.

Sutra 51 – The fourth pranayama

This sutra describes the fourth pranayama, which is past three pranayamas, i.e. H. Breathe in, breathe out, and cease respiratory. According to this sutra, the fourth pranayama comes after working with the three pranayamas and occurs by itself with out effort.

bahya abhyantara vishaya akshepi chaturthah ~ 2.51

The fourth pranayama is the continual prana that surpasses, is past, or is behind the others working within the outer and inside realms or within the fields.

Sutra 52 – The fourth pranayama results in inside enlightenment

This sutra is concerning the immense advantages that pranayama affords us and the way it removes the curtain that separates us from the inside gentle.

tatah kshiyate prakasha avaranam ~ 2.51

Through the fourth pranayama, the veil that covers the inside illumination or gentle is thinned, diminished and disappears.


Breathing is the best pleasure in life. No marvel how vital it’s to enhance the best way we unconsciously breathe.

Pranayama is a whole department of yoga dedicated to respiratory. In order to take heed to each second of life, you must undoubtedly do pranayama respiratory.


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