Our mind and state of being is deeply connected to our breath. Just as varying moods alter our breathing patterns, changing our breath can positively affect our psychological as well as physiological state.
Daily practice of Pranayam can improve focus, increase vitality, cure deep rooted illnesses, and expand consciousness to a never before experienced level.
Every breath taken in with complete awareness acts as a bridge to the nervous system. Conscious breathing improves lung capacity and allows increased oxygen absorption. Pranayam has the unique effect of making you feel calmer and more energetic at the same time.
At Yoga Central, Pranayam or breathing exercises are given due importance. Students are taught and made to practice the following range of breathing exercises:
Nadi Shuddhi / Alternate Nostril Breathing
This Pranayam involves breathing alternately from each nostril while keeping the other closed. The process helps purify the energy channels or nadis, and balances the flow of energy between the left and right sides of the body. The benefits are immense. These include but are not limited to –
- The practice immediately calms an agitated mind
- It is a great preparation to enter into deeper meditation
- It greatly improves brain function and boosts thinking
- The process soothes your nervous system and puts you into a calmer emotional state
- Regular practice helps improve sleep quality
- It revitalizes you, and enhances rest and relaxation
- It helps regulates the cooling and warming cycles of the body
- It brings about balance in mind and body
Bhramari / Humming Bee Breath
This breathing exercise involves creating a humming ‘mmmm’ sound with the mouth closed while exhaling. The inner vibrations of the sound are deeply restorative. This Pranayam is easy to practice and provides tremendous benefits for the mind and body –
- The practice calms the emotions
- It relieves anxiety and anger
- Regular practice, especially just before going to bed, improves sleep quality and reduces the occurrence of dreams
- Increases the sense of well-being
- Helps cure depression
- Heals the nervous system
- Works as an effective precursor to deeper meditation
Sheetali or Shitali / Cooling Breath
As the name suggests, this Pranayam helps cool down the body instantly making it ideal for hot weather conditions. Breath is sucked in through the mouth with the tongue between the teeth bringing about an instant cooling effect. Sheetali Pranayam has various other benefits as well –
- This helps purifies blood and rejuvenate the body
- It further cools your body by reducing anxiety, fear and depression
- The practice helps immensely in treating ulcers, constipation, acidity, high blood pressure, indigestion and skin diseases
- It enhances reproductive organ function
- Calms the mind and reduces stress levels
- It is believed to keep one youthful by removing excess heat from the system and correcting spleen function
- The practice helps control fever
Ujjayi / Warming Breath
Ujjayi Pranayama involves keeping the breath high up in the chest and regulating the inhalation and exhalation while constricting the throat muscles (as if while swallowing) producing a characteristic hissing sound. With increased comfort level, this breathing technique can be used through the practice of asanas as well.
Ujjayi breath produces a heating effect on the body, and is therefore to be avoided in hot weather conditions. In cold temperatures, it helps the body prepare for the asana practice, making stretching easier. Other benefits include –
- It is extremely energizing
- It improves concentration and enhances endurance
- It reduces distractions and increases awareness
- Helps release tension, reduce headaches, provide relief from cold and sinus conditions
- Improves digestion
- Helps cure migraines and insomnia
- Very effective for asthmatics and helps in curing tuberculosis
Sama Vritti / Equal Breathing
This exercise involves inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply with counts. With practice, the length of each breath can be increased. This breathing technique can be done anywhere, anytime, and has multiple benefits –
- Helps release stress
- Increases lung capacity
- Makes you more aware and improves concentration
- Creates balance in the mind and body
- Improves sleep
This practice involves breathing deeply into the lungs by expanding the intercostal muscles, without moving the diaphragm. There is no movement in the abdomen here, the chest expands laterally. This helps increase lung capacity all the way till the bottom of the lungs, and provides all the resulting benefits.
When you breathe better, you feel better.
At Yoga Central, we help you do just that!