Pranayama Types for Beginners

Posted By: Stella Pike | January 13, 2023

 

At some point during a yoga class, you may have asked yourself, “Am I doing this right?” It is absolutely true that you are alive, so you must be doing something right! You are definitely doing the right thing.

In yoga or meditation practice, it is a completely different matter when it comes to breathing; therefore, it is a totally different action when the breath is used. Several types of breathing exercises are outlined in this article and detailed instructions are given on how to do them so that you can begin practicing as soon as possible.

Pranayama

What is Pranayama?

An important aspect of yogic breathing is the practice of pranayama. The term “energy regulation” is often translated as “breath control”, while other masters resort to using the term “energy regulation”.

A yoga practitioner will tell you that breath is the very essence of our existence. As part of the teachings of yogic tradition, pranayama is referred to as the practice of handling prana, which is the first and most important practice for every yogi to master.

It has been reported that different breathing techniques have different physical benefits, different emotional benefits, and also different spiritual benefits. The practice of pranayama has been referred to as the foundation of all other practices and postures in yoga and is often referred to as the primary asana.

Read Also: THE SIMPLE PRINCIPLES OF BASIC PRANAYAMA

Beginners should feel their breath as they learn. The key to directing your energy in a conscious manner is to practice pranayama regularly.

Intuition and understanding of the Universe are readily accessible when prana is strong throughout the body.

How Do I Sit?

To practice pranayama, you must sit properly. The two postures you can choose are vajrasana (sitting on your knees) and lotus (sitting cross-legged on your hands). In order to achieve this, the spine needs to be elongated and the crown should be elevated.

What is the ideal length of time for practicing breathing?

Taking baby steps is the best approach. Whenever you try out a new breathing technique, try practicing for 1 minute before you see what effects it has on your body. As soon as you have developed a sense of comfort with this amount of time, you will be able to gradually increase it.

It really doesn’t matter how long you spend. It’s your experience!

For beginners, here are seven types of pranayama:

Natural Breath:

Pranayama, or yogic breathing, is the practice of breath control. In yoga, breath is the core of our existence and the concept of prana refers to the “life force”. Pranayama is the first practice that all yogis must master and is often referred to as the primary asana, or foundation, of all other postures and disciplines.

Natural Breath

There are many different types of pranayama, each with its own specific physical, emotional and spiritual benefits. As a beginner, it is important to focus on simply feeling the breath. With regular practice, you will be able to direct your energy intentionally and strengthen your prana throughout the body.

One of the most basic and essential pranayamas is natural breath, also known as diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing. This type of breathing engages the diaphragm muscle located at the base of the lungs and helps to oxygenate the blood.

To practice natural breath, simply sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and place one hand on your stomach just below your navel. As you inhale deeply through your nose, feel your stomach expand outward. Then exhale slowly through your mouth, letting your stomach fall back in toward your spine. Repeat this process for several minutes, focusing on lengthening your inhales and exhales.

Ujjayi Pranayama:

Ujjayi pranayama (victorious breath) is a breathing exercise that is often used in yoga to help calm the mind and body. The ujjayi breath is achieved by partially closing the glottis, the opening between the vocal cords, while exhaling and inhaling through the nose.

Ujjayi Pranayama

This produces a soft, ocean-like sound that can be heard both internally and externally. Ujjayi pranayama is said to help regulate the breath, warm the body, and calm the mind. It can also be used as a tool to help focus attention on the breath during yoga practice.

To do ujjayi pranayama, sit in a comfortable position with your spine tall and shoulders relaxed. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, filling your lungs from bottom to top.

As you exhale, partially close your glottis (the opening between your vocal cords) and exhale slowly and evenly through your nose. You should hear a soft “ahh” sound as you breathe out. Repeat this cycle of inhaling and exhaling for 3-5 minutes, or as long as you feel comfortable.

Kapalabhati:

Kapalabhati

Kapalabhati is a type of pranayama that is said to cleanse the lungs and improve respiratory function. To do kapalabhati, sit in a comfortable position with your spine tall and shoulders relaxed. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, filling your lungs from bottom to top. Exhale forcefully through your nose, exhaling all the air from your lungs. Repeat this cycle of inhaling and exhaling for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or as long as you feel comfortable.

Alternate Nostril Kapalabhati:

Alternate nostril kapalabhati is one of the most popular pranayama techniques for beginners. It is said to help purify the mind and body, improve concentration, and boost energy levels.

Alternate Nostril Kapalabhati

Here’s how to do it:

  • Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed. Place your left hand on your left knee and bring your right hand to your nose.
  • Use your right thumb and index finger to block off your right nostril. Inhale deeply through your left nostril.
  • Then use your right ring finger to block off your left nostril while releasing your right thumb from your right nostril. Exhale through your right nostril.
  • Inhale through your right nostril, then exhale through the left nostril again. This completes one round of alternate nostril kapalabhati. Repeat for a total of 10 rounds.

Dirgha Pranayama:

Dirgha pranayama, also known as three-part breath or complete breath, is a foundational breathing exercise in yoga.

The word dirgha means “long” or “extended”, and this pranayama lengthens and deepens the breath.

This breathing exercise is said to bring balance to the body and mind, and to cultivate a sense of ease and well-being.

Instructions:

  • Sit in a comfortable position with your spine tall and shoulders relaxed. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, filling your lungs from bottom to top. Expand your belly first, then your chest. Let your breath move into your upper back and ribcage. The hand on your chest should rise very slightly; the hand on your belly should move outwards.
  • Exhale slowly and completely through your nose, emptying your lungs from top to bottom. Draw your belly inwards and release any tension in your shoulders and jaw.
  • Repeat this cycle of inhaling and exhaling for 3-5 minutes, or as long as you feel comfortable.

Simha Pranayama:

Simha pranayama, or lion’s breath, is a powerful breathing exercise that can help to energize and cleanse the body. This pranayama is traditionally performed at the beginning of a yoga practice to help warm up the body and prepare for the poses to come.

Simha Pranayama

To do simha pranayama, begin by sitting in a comfortable position with your spine straight. Take a deep breath in through your nose, then exhale forcefully through your mouth, making a “ha” sound as you do so. Continue this breath for 10 rounds.

Read Also: 5 VARIATIONS OF PRANAYAMA AND THEIR INCREDIBLE HEALTH BENEFITS

You can also try this pranayama with your eyes open or closed. If you keep your eyes open, gaze steadily at a point in front of you. If you close your eyes, imagine yourself roaring like a lion!

This powerful breathing exercise can help to increase energy levels, improve circulation, and detoxify the body. It is also said to boost immunity and alleviate stress and anxiety. Give it a try the next time you need an extra boost of energy or feel stressed out!

Nadi Shodhana:

Nadi Shodhana, also known as alternate nostril breathing, is a type of pranayama that is said to balance the nervous system and bring peace to the mind. To do Nadi Shodhana, sit in a comfortable position with your spine tall and shoulders relaxed.

Nadi Shodhana

Place your left hand on your left knee and raise your right hand to your nose. Close off your right nostril with your thumb and inhale slowly and deeply through your left nostril. Close off your left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril, then close it off with your thumb and exhale through your left nostril. Continue alternating between nostrils for 3-5 minutes, or as long as you feel comfortable.