5 Variations of Pranayama and Their Incredible Health Benefits

Posted By: Stella Pike | October 13, 2020


Pranayama is all about controlling breadth, “Prana” means bio-energy and “Ayama” means to control or regulate. Prana is vital energy, the life force in us that nourishes the mind and keeps our body alive. It is the energy needed by our physical and subtle layers. Prana is a universal life force which creates an aura around the body and the way it flows through the “nadis” and “chakras” determines one’s state of mind.

The meaning of ayama is extension, hence the whole word “Pranayama” means breath extension, it is based on taking the breath over its limit or it can be defined as stretching, lengthening or modifying the breath. Performing Pranayama helps you to have a better grip on your mind and your body and it is one of the most common ‘Yoga’ asanas that people perform to gain numerous benefits from it.

Also, Pranayama directly works on the nervous system positively affects autonomic nervous system which controls and governs essential functions of the body like the heart rate, blood pressure, respiration etc.

Points You Should Consider for Practicing Pranayama:

1. It is good if you start practising pranayama in a well-ventilated place.
2. Try to do Pranayama in morning and evening for at least 15 minutes.
3. The place should be neat and clean, free of dirt and pollutants.
4. Try to practice Pranayama every day at the same place and at the same time.
5. Practice Pranayama on an empty stomach or at least 4 hours after any meal or snack consumption.

You can choose any meditative pose to perform Pranayama or in case you are finding meditative pose difficult so you can opt for ‘Sukhasana’ the most basic pose where you keep spine, neck and head straight. Sukhasana is actually sitting any way you can with ease and focus on your breathing, breadth that you inhale and exhale from your nostrils.

The Terminologies which you should know:

1. Purak – Breathing in
2. Kumbhak – Holding the Breadth
3. Rechak – Breathing Out

Here are 6 Kinds of Pranayama which You Can Do Easily on Daily Basis:

1. Bhastrika Pranayama:

Bhastrika Pranayama

Bhastrika helps in balancing the three ‘doshas’ that is Vata, Pitta and Kapha. It is a breathing technique that igenerates heat in the body. While doing Bhastrika Pranayama, you pump more quantity of oxygen, it is the process of rapid inhalation and exhalation which gives a boost to your body. This Pranayama looks similar to ‘Kapalbhati’ but is different from it in a fundamental way.

Kapalbhati is a breathing technique that mimics sneezing and involves the stomach while Bhastrika is done through the chest and engages the lungs. You must rapidly breath in and breath out and forcefully also, at the same time, you must flap the stomach in and out. When you breath in, the stomach will expand and when you breath out, the stomach contract.

Steps to Perform Bhastrika Pranayama:

1. Sit in Sukhasana (cross-legged position) or Vajrasana this position is more effective as your spine is erect and the diaphragmatic movement is better.
2. Now place your hands on your knees, feel relaxed and start focusing on your breathing pattern.
3. Start breathing in by inhaling forcefully through both nostrils, make sure your lungs are full of air. Once you inhale fully, with a great force exhale making a hissing sound.
4. While performing Bhastrika Pranayama you need to determine how much speed to apply while inhaling and exhaling keeping in mind your endurance power.
5. Keep in mind while performing Bhastrika Pranayama, when you breath in your abdominal should not blow up. Instead, your chest should blow up.
6. Repeat the whole process 5 to 10 times or for 5 minutes every day.

Benefits:

– It energies the body and mind.
– Helps to throw out toxins and boost the supply of oxygen and purifies the blood.
– Oxygen intake increases in your body as it throws out more Carbon Dioxide hence, increases metabolic rate as well.
– It increases warmth in the body and helps to prevent the common cold.
– Enhance the oxygen flow within your body and helps to obtain naturally glowing skin.

2. Anulom – Vilom Pranayama:

Anulom Vilom Pranayama

Anulom Vilom is also known as the alternate breathing technique, it is a form of alternate nostril breathing and is considered to be the best form of Pranayama. To perform this Pranayama it is suggested to be seated in a quiet, calm and comfortable position. This will help to shift your focus towards the act by being unplugged from the surroundings.

Steps To Do Anulom – Vilom pranayama:

1. Sit in a meditating position or with a cross-legged, make your spine and head are straight.
2. Now shut your eyes and relax your body for a few minutes.
3. Take your right hand and slowly place your fingers on the right nostril and press hard so that airflow through the right nostril is temporarily obstructed.
4. While doing so, start taking a deep breath from your left nostril and shut both the nostrils and hold the inhaled breath for a few second.
5. Now, start releasing your finger from the right nostril and exhale the air from it slowly.
6. While exhaling makes sure your left nostril is safely shut with the help of your ring and little finger.
7. Now, again deeply inhale from your right nostril while hutting left nostril from the ring and little finger and hold your breath for few seconds and exhale from the left nostril while exhaling you need to shut your right nostril with your thumb.
8. Repeat the same process 8 to 10 times by making sure the exhalation is slow and takes longer than the inhalation.

Benefits:

– For nervous system it is very beneficial, it balance and relax it.
– It improves lung capacity and builds up stamina.
– Helps in removing toxins from the body and relieve headaches.
– Anulom – Vilom helps to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disorders.
– Practising this Pranayama helps during pregnancy by reducing the risk of maternal depression.
– It also enhances ventilation of the body and improves vision and eyesight by enhancing the blood flow to the eyes.

3. Bhramari Pranayama:

Bhramari Pranayama

This Pranayama is also known as Humming Bee Bredth and it is a calming breathing practice that soothes the nervous system, it is effective in instantly calming down the mind. The humming sound produced at the back of the throat during practice has a natural calming effect.

Steps to do Bhramari Pranayama:

1. In a well-ventilated corner of the room sit up straight quiet with your eyes closed.
2. Now placed your indexed finger on your eyes right at the cartilage.
3. Start taking a deep breath in and as you breath out, gently press the cartilage with your finger and keep pressing cartilage while making a loud humming sound like a bee.
4. For getting the better result you can make a loud humming sound like a bee.
5. Breath in again and out and continue the same pattern for around 6 to 7 times.

Benefits:

– This Pranayama gives you an instant way to relieve tension, anger and anxiety.
– It stimulates the pineal and pituitary glands and supports their proper functioning.
– It also helps in dissipating anger.
– Bhramari Pranayama strengthens and improves voice quality.
– It also induces sound sleep.

4. Sheetali Pranayama:

Sheetali Pranayama

This Pranayama is also known as “Cooling Breath” which is taken from the original word “Sheetal” which means soothing or cold. Practising Sheetali Pranayama calms the mind, reduces stress by activating a powerful evaporative cooling mechanism on the inhalation, deliver gently cooling energy to the tissues of the body.

Steps to do Sheetali Pranayama:

1. Sit comfortably in any comfortable posture.
2. Now place your hands on the knees in Gyan Mudra.
3. While closing your eyes, roll up your tongue in the shape of a tube.
4. Start inhaling maximum through the tongue and take your tongue inside the mouth and close the mouth.
5. Now, slowly bend your neck forward and attach the front part of your jaw to the chest.
6. Hold the breath for few seconds by closing your mouth and nostril.
7. Now, straighten the neck from the back and exhale the breath out of the nostril.
8. You can repeat the procedure for 4 rounds to get better results.

Benefits:

– Sheetali Pranayama cools the body and helps nerves and muscles to get relax.
– If you are suffering from high blood pressure, then this Pranayama is helpful for you.
– It reduces blood pressure.
– It also helps in keeping the digestive system right and enhances immunity.
– This Pranayama alleviates excess hunger and quells excess thirst.

5. Sheetkari Pranayama:

Sheetkari Pranayama

This Pranayama is also known as “Hissing Breath” that is usually done after practising other asanas or Pranayamas. Sheetkari Pranayama is similar to Sheetali Pranayama. In this Pranayama the tongue is not going to roll in a tube shape instead, it is rolled up to touch the upper palate. This Pranayama is useful in hot weather because of its cooling effect.

Steps to do Sheetkari Pranayama:

1. Sit in a meditative pose or a comfortable pose.
2. Keep your eyes closed and try to touch your tongue upward.
3. Join the upper and lower row of teeth.
4. Now open your mouth and start inhaling making sound of See-See.
5. After inhalation close your lips and breath out through nostrils.
6. You can repeat these steps for 8 to 10 times.

Benefits:

– Sheetali Pranayama cools down the body temperature hence, it is useful in reducing fever.
– It also helps in spleen and indigestion and helps in controlling high blood pressure.
– This Pranayama is beneficial in mouth-related diseases, throat and tongue.
– It is also effective in dental problems like pyorrhoea.
– It helps in calm the mind and is a stress buster.

Final Words:

Pranayama is a deep-breathing exercise and it has great benefits for improving our overall health. Practising Pranayama on daily basis results in a clear mind, and a refreshing soul. In this blog, you come to know about 5 variations of simple yet very effective Pranayama which you can do easily and can gain their benefits that are visibly strong and long-lasting.