Pranayama Breathing



Pranayama – the art of breathing.

Pranayama means controlled breathing. It is the very basis and the foundation of yogic principals. Loosely translated from Sanskrit, Pranayama is described as the breath control. The term when broken up reveals the word, ‘Prana’ which means the very breath of life or also known as crucial life energy; while ‘ayama’ stands for power to direct or determine. While performing Pranayama, as the individual breathes in the air in a deep manner the breath of air induces the upper respiratory system and satisfies the lungs with clean air. As the clean air is retained in the lungs it helps to raise the bodily temperature and helps the body to increase the assimilation of oxygen.

During the process of exhaling the air, the diaphragm returns to the normal position and the exhaled air that contains harmful impurities is removed as the intercostals muscles contract. Deep breathing is one of the easiest ways to improve your health dramatically that you can easily do from anywhere, at any time. It costs nothing and takes very little effort. Take a little time each day to practice it and it will greatly improve your health. The benefits of pranayama are both tangible and intangible. All the benefits of pranayama cannot be written down; there are lot of subtle changes like mental peace and clarity of thought that occur in our mind.



1. Reduced Breathing Rate

With yoga breathing you can train yourself to breathe more slowly and more deeply. Reduced breathing rate leads to:

  • Slowing down the heart rate as more oxygen can be pumped even with less number of breaths. Reduced wear and tear of internal organs.

Lowering of blood pressure, relaxation of body tensions and quieter nerves.

2. Pranayama Practice Increases Life

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3. Pranayama improves Blood Circulation

As a result of breathing, the freshly oxygenated blood (during inhalation) travels from lungs to the heart. The heart pumps it via arteries and blood vessels to every part of the body, where in turn it seeps into every tissue and cell. This improves the blood circulation and more oxygen/ prana or cosmic energy reaches all parts of your body.

4. Pranayama For Healthy Heart

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5. Pranayama For Functioning Of Body Organs

  • Better functioning of autonomic system improves the working of lungs, heart, diaphragm, abdomen, intestines, kidneys and pancreas.
  • Digestive system improves and diseases pertaining to digestive organs are cured.
  • General irritability due to lethargy/ fatigue vanishes.
  • By pranayama practice all body organs gets more oxygen, toxins are removed from body, therefore onset of various diseases is prevented.
  • Pranayama strengthens the immune system.

6. Better Mental Health

  • Pranayama practice provides freedom from negative and harmful mental conditions like anger, depression, lasciviousness, greed for money, arrogance etc.
  • With pranayama fluctuations of mind are controlled and it prepares the mind for meditation. With practice of pranayama, you will start experiencing lightness of body, feeling of inner peace, better sleep, better memory and better concentration whereby improving the spiritual powers/ skills.

7. Pranayama Improves Quality Of Life In Old Age

As a person with sedentary lifestyle reaches middle age, lung tissues tend to grow less and less elastic and lung capacity decreases.

Pranayama can help to reduce the effects of the following old age problems:

  • Loss of vitality.
  • Accumulation of uric acid in the blood stream which often leads to frequent joint pains and discomfort.
  • Backaches, headaches, rheumatism, stiffening muscles and joints.

Proper circulation of blood is impeded by a sluggish diaphragm or hardening arteries.

8. Pranayama helps with breathing.

Pranayama breathing helps with the improvement of the rate of breathing and reduces blood pressure, by relaxing the body and soothing the nerves.



Pranayama breathing is like anything else that we are learning. It takes practice. We need to take it slowly and for short periods and then build up slowly.

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yoga breath or Pranayama

Breathing is so simple and so obvious we often take it for granted, ignoring the power it has to affect body, mind and spirit.With each inhale we bring oxygen into the body and spark the transformation of nutrients into fuel. Each exhale purges the body of carbon dioxide, a toxic waste. Breathing also affects our state of mind. It can make us excited or calm, tense or relaxed. It can make our thinking confused or clear. What’s more, in the yogic tradition, air is the primary source of prana or life force, a psycho-physio-spiritual force that permeates the universe.
Pranayama is loosely translated as prana or breath control. The ancient yogis developed many breathing techniques to maximize the benefits of prana. Pranayama is used in yoga as a separate practice to help clear and cleanse the body and mind.

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Nadi Shodhana

Translated to Alternate nostril breathing.

Benefits of Nadi Shodhana are:

  • Cleanses the energy channels throughout the body
  • Nadi Shodhana activates the left and the right sides of the brain and body revitalizing and bringing both into harmony with each other.

Common Mistakes are pressing too hard with the fingers, turning the head to the right or Collapsing the body in a sitting position. The ideal position is to sit with perfect posture with the crown of the head in line with the hips.

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Viloma breathing

or  translated breathing against the grain.

Benefits of Viloma breathing are:

  • Viloma brings about a feeling of calmness or lightness within the body and the mind.
  • Viloma increases lung capacity
  • Viloma increases stamina.

Cautions of Pranayama breathing are

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.
  • Experiencing tightness in the chest
  • Experiencing hardness behind the forehead

If any of these occur please discontinue the pranayama breathing and return to normal breathing.

It is recommended to start learning pranayama from a yoga teacher without any delay in order to experience the immense benefits of pranayama.

Benefits of yoga breathing can be realised only by experience.

Establish a daily routine of yoga breathing exercises. If you want to start on your own, first start with rhythmic deep breathing to get into the rhythm.

Pranayam is also closely linked to meditation, a crucial aspect of yoga. Several health experts also refer to Pranayama as the art of effective breath control. Practicing the proper techniques of breathing can help you become more aware of your breath and therefore pranayama benefits are physical, emotional as well as spiritual.



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