5 Life Saving Pranayama Exercises And Their Benefits
Living things breathe to live but it is only humans that have the power to control their breathing. Pranayama exercises in yoga are deep breathing exercises that improve the quality of breath. It is a process of constant breathing and improving your power to inhale, control, and exhale the breath.
There are five Pranayama exercises in Yoga and each exercise has its specific process and benefits. The good thing about the Pranayama exercises is that they require nothing special like an accessory. But a little training is required to practice the exercises.
Try these five Pranayama exercises at home in a well-ventilated and calm space to improve your overall well-being.
- Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows Breath)
Bhastrika Pranayama is a cleansing kriya as it clears nostrils and sinuses to prepare the body for a deep breathing exercise. Also, it restores the lost energy by way of cleansing and deep breathing.
Sit down with cross legs like you do in Sukhasana and keep your back straight
Take a deep breath from your nose to fill your lungs with clean air and then breathe out in the same manner
Now start inhaling and exhaling quick breaths through your nose. While doing so, your belly would move in and out quickly
Do a round of bellow breathing and them come to normal to take a short breath after which you can go for another round of bellow breathing
Do at least 3 rounds of bellow breath at the beginning
Strengthens and detoxifies lungs and cures asthma
Improves blood circulation and balances blood pressure
Increases appetite, aids digestion, and strengthens immunity standards
Brings neurological balance by relieving the mind of hypertension, stress, anxiety, and depression
Cures sinus infections and common cold and flu
- Kapalbhati Pranayama (Skull Shining Breath)
Kapalbhati Pranayama is a “shut kriya” that forcefully flushes out toxic air from the body. Its regular practice blesses people with a shining head and bright intellect.
Sit down in Sukhasana with your back straight and palms placed on your knees
Focus on your belly region and take a deep breathe to fill your lungs with fresh air
Squeeze your stomach and place your hand on it to feel the muscles contracting
As you relax your belly from contraction, you will feel a quick exhale of toxic air with a hissing sound but it is normal. Also, there will be automatic inhalation after the exhale
Inhaling and exhaling constitutes one round of Kapalbhati Pranayama and you need to do it 20 times
After one round, close your eyes and observe your body to feel the difference
Treats the brain to enhance stress response
Strengthens respiratory muscles and cures lung problems
Purifies blood that leads to glowing skin
Aids in weight loss
Cure digesting problems
Controls blood sugar level
- Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breath)
It got its name from a black bee called Bhramari as the exercise produces a humming sound similar to the humming of bees. It is a quick solution to de-stress your body and mind.
Sit down in a comfortable position with your eyes closed and put on a smile on your face
Place your index fingers on the cartilage between your cheek and ear
Inhale a deep breathe and breathe out but keep the cartilage close with your index fingers
Also, produce a loud humming sound like a bee while exhaling toxic air
Continue the exercise a couple of times in a similar manner
Treats mental conditions including hypertension, anger, and anxiety
Helps control migraine and boosts confidence
Reduces blood pressure
Good for controlling Alzheimer’s disease
Calms nerves and reduces frustration
Clears voice and reduces throat problems
- Anulom Vilom (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Anulom Vilom is an alternate nostril breathing technique that clears nasal passage, sinus, and nadis. Both right and left nostrils are cleared and balanced with this exercise.
Sit down comfortable in Sukhasana or any other asana you are comfortable with
Place your left palm on your left knee and raise your right palm to close your right nostril with your right thumb
Take a deep breathe from your left nostril and release the air the same way but deeply and slowly
After a round of deep breathing with the left nostril is complete, you can change it to the right nostril
Release your right nostril and close the left nostril with your little finger and perform a similar deep breathing process with your right nostril
Start with 5 rounds with each nostril initially before increasing the frequency
Streamlines body metabolism and enhances the overall health
Reduces arthritis and control sinus problems
Solves common conditions of eyes and ears
Helps in curing allergies and asthma
- Bahya Pranayama (External Breath)
Bahya Pranayama is a vital breathing technique as it involves three steps – inhaling, exhaling, and retaining the breath. It is also called the external breathing technique.
Come down in Padmasana or Vajrasana
Take a deep breath to fill your lungs with fresh air and then exhale deeply
Hold your breath after exhaling and try pulling your stomach upward as much as you can
Down your head to touch your chest with your chin and hold the position for 5-10 seconds
Relax and get back to the first position
Repeat the process 5-10 times
Note: People with neck problems should keep their heads straight and not try to move their heads down
Cures hernia, urinary, and reproductive problems
Good for gut health as it cures acidity and prevents constipation
Increases concentration and helps in achieving enlightenment
Cures diabetes and prostate-related problems
Breathing for a living thing is normal but people underestimate its value. A breathing exercise could be life-saving in difficult situations. Also, it can improve your breath quality that is vital to your mental and physical well-being. If you stop breathing even for a second, you will feel discomfort. But with exercise, you can improve your breathing power and capacity to hold your breath for a long time. Also, there are many health benefits of the breathing exercises.
Disclaimer: Pranayama exercises require training without which they could be disturbing. You should practice a Pranayama exercise only under the guidance of a physical trainer.