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Pranayama

"Pranayama is control of Breath". "Prana" is Breath or vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life force, and "ayama" means control.

So Pranayama is "Control of Breath". One can control the rhythms of pranic energy with pranayama and achieve healthy body and mind. Hatha Yoga also talks about 8 types of pranayama which will make the body and mind healthy.

Five types of prana are responsible for various pranic activities in the body, they are Prana, Apana, Vyan, Udana & Samana. Out of these Prana and Apana are most important.
Prana is upward flowing and Apana is downward flowing. Practice of Pranayama achieves the balance in the activities of these pranas, which results in healthy body and mind.

Types Of Pranayama

  • Quiet Breathing , Deep Breathing , Fast Breathing
  • Tribandha and Pranayama
  • Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama or Anuloma - Viloma (Alternate nostril breathing - I)
  • Anuloma - Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing - II)
  • Suryan Bhedan Pranayama (Right Nostril Breathing)
  • Ujjayi Pranayama
  • Bhramari Pranayama
  • Pranayama from Hatha Yoga
  • Surya Bhedan, Bhasrika, Ujjayi, Shitali, Sitkari, Bhramari, Murchha & Plavini Pranayama

What is Yoga Breathing or Pranayama?

Prana flows through thousands of subtle energy channels called ‘nadis’ and energy centers called ‘chakras’. The quantity and quality of prana and the way it flows through the nadis and chakras determines one’s state of mind. If the Prana level is high and its flow is continuous, smooth and steady, the mind remains calm, positive and enthusiastic. However, due to lack of knowledge and attention to one’s breath, the nadis and chakras in the average person may be partially or fully blocked leading to jerky and broken flow. As a result one experiences increased worries, fear, uncertainty, tensions, conflict and other negative qualities.

The ancient sages of India realized these breathing techniques. Some common pranayamas include Bhastrika, Kapalabhati, and Nadi shodan pranayama. Regular practice increases and enhances the quantity and quality of prana, clears blocked nadis and chakras, and results in the practitioner feeling energetic, enthusiastic and positive. Practiced correctly under the right supervision prananyama brings harmony between the body, mind and spirit, making one physically, mentally and spiritually strong.