Pranayama

Subject: Health and Physical Education

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Overview

Pranayama is a Sanskrit word meaning "extension of the breath" or "extension of the life force". This note explains what is pranayama and how it is beneficial for us.
Pranayama
Pranayama
Pranayama

Pranayama

Pranayama is a Sanskrit word meaning "extension of the breath" or "extension of the life force". The word is composed of two Sanskrit words: "Prana", life force, or vital energy, (noted particularly as the breath), and "Yama", to extend or draw out. It is a yogic discipline with origins in ancient India.

Bhastrika
Bhastrika

Bhastrika

Bhastrika is one of the most important pranayamas. It is a very mysterious pranayama and not much is known about it. However, many believe that it is a combination of Kapalbhati & Anulom Vilom pranayama. It is a breathing technique where breathing is forcible and through the nose, with equal time for inhalation and exhalation. Bhastrika Pranayama is aimed at keeping the inhalation cycle equal to exhalation, yet making breath deeper and longer. Deep breath inwards and long exhalation outwards with equal time intervals constitutes this pranayama technique.

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Be seated in a comfortable posture. Padmasana (crossed leg) and Vajrasana are the ideal yoga postures to practice pranayama. Place your hands on your knees. Feel relaxed. Focus on your breathing pattern and be relaxed.

  1. Breathe in by inhaling forcefully through both the nostrils. Make sure that your lungs are filled with air. Once you inhale fully, exhale with great force making the hissing sound.
  2. In Bhastrika pranayama, one needs to apply force while breathing in and breathing out. You can determine how much speed to apply while inhaling and exhaling keeping in mind your health and endurance power.
  3. When you breathe in while performing Bhastrika pranayama, your abdominal should not blow up. Instead, your chest area should blow up. Repeat the procedure for 5 to 10 times.
  4. You have successfully completed Bhastrika pranayama. One should perform Bhastrika pranayama for 5 minutes every day. Those who have high blood pressure or heart disease should not practice Bhastrika pranayama.
Kapalvati
Kapalbhati

Kapalbhati

Kapalbhati is an important part of Shatkarma, the yogic system of body cleansing techniques. The word kapalbhati is made up of two words: Kapal meaning 'skull' and Bhati meaning 'shining, illuminating.' Due to the process, the organs in and under the skull mainly the brain, small brain and any of the spaces inside the head that are connected to the back of the nose (sinus) are influenced in a good manner. Hence, the word is used in that way. It is intended mainly for cleaning the cranial sinuses but has many other effects including curing anemia, according to the Gheranda Samhita and other sources. The Technique of Kapalabhati involves short and strong forceful exhalations and inhalation happens automatically.

  1. Elongate your spine upwards, lengthen your neck and subtly bring your chin back and in like a soldier at attention. This will align the spine with the back of your head.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Have your hands in Gyan Mudra. In Gyan Mudra,have your thumb tips and index finger meeting, with the wrists resting gently on the knees and the palms turned slightly upwards.
  4. Relax your stomach muscles.
  5. Now expel the air as forcefully as you are comfortable with through the nose. This should cause the abdominal muscles to contract sharply and should draw the abdomen inwards towards the spine (like when you suck in your stomach). Then allow the inhalation to occur completely passively without any additional effort. To repeat, the exhalation is done using conscious sharp force while the inhalation is just a recoil action bringing the air back into the lungs. All the breathing takes place through the nose. Right after the passive inhalation, exhale again forcefully and continue at a steady rhythm.
  6. Do a round of 10 repetitions.
  7. Work your way up to doing 5 rounds, while taking a break between each round.
Anulom Vilom
Anulom Vilom

Anulom Vilom

Anulom Vilom (Alternate Nostril Breathing) is one of the most effective pranayama (breathing exercises) to purify the mind and body. Anulom Vilom offers benefits in curing most of the internal body conditions and is very useful in releasing stress and anxiety. Anulom Vilom pranayama can be performed by people of all ages. It will help to practice this breathing exercise in a peaceful place like near a river or in a garden with plenty of greeneries.

  1. Close your eyes and relax. Sit in this position for a couple of minutes till you settle down.
  2. Close your right nostril with your right thumb
  3. Breathe in from your left nostril. Hold the breath for a couple of seconds.
  4. Open right nostril and close left nostril with middle and ring finger
  5. Breath out from right nostril.
  6. Breathe in from right nostril, close the right nostril
  7. Open left nostril and breathe out.
  8. Repeat again, steps 1 through 7.
Things to remember
  • Pranayama is a Sanskrit word meaning "extension of the breath" or "extension of the life force". The word is composed of two Sanskrit words: "Prana", life force, or vital energy, (noted particularly as the breath), and "Yama", to extend or draw out. 
  • Bhastrika is one of the most important pranayamas. It is a very mysterious pranayama and not much is known about it.
  • Kapalabhati is an important part of Shatkarma, the yogic system of body cleansing techniques. The word kapal Bhatti is made up of two words: kapal meaning 'skull' and bhati meaning 'shining, illuminating.' 
  • Anulom Vilom (Alternate Nostril Breathing) is one of the most effective pranayama (breathing exercises) to purify the mind and body. 
  • It includes every relationship which established among the people.
  • There can be more than one community in a society. Community smaller than society.
  • It is a network of social relationships which cannot see or touched.
  • common interests and common objectives are not necessary for society.
Videos for Pranayama
Anuloma Pranayama: Video Practice
Bhastrika Pranayama: The Bellows Breath
Kapalabhati Pranayama
Yoga for Beginners Pranayama
Questions and Answers

The word pranayama is composed of two Sanskrit words: "Prana", life force, or vital energy, (noted particularly as the breath), and "Yama", to extend or draw out.

Deep breath inwards and long exhalation outwards with equal time intervals constitutes bhastrika pranayama technique.

The general rules of kapalbhati are as follow:

  1. Elongate your spine upwards, lengthen your neck and subtly bring your chin back and in like a soldier at attention. This will align the spine with the back of your head.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Have your hands in Gyan Mudra. In Gyan Mudra have your thumb tips and index finger meeting, with the wrists resting gently on the knees and the palms turned slightly upwards.
  4. Relax your stomach muscles.
  5. Now, expel the air as forcefully as you are comfortable with through the nose. This should cause the abdominal muscles to contract sharply and should draw the abdomen inwards towards the spine (like when you suck in your stomach). Then allow the inhalation to occur completely passively without any additional effort. To repeat, the exhalation is done using conscious sharp force while the inhalation is just a recoil action bringing the air back into the lungs. All the breathing takes place through the nose. Right after the passive inhalation, exhale again forcefully and continue at a steady rhythm.
  6. Do a round of 10 repetitions.
  7. Work your way up to doing 5 rounds, while taking a break between each round.

Anulom Vilom (Alternate Nostril Breathing) is one of the most effective pranayama (breathing exercises) to purify the mind and body.

Anulom Vilom offers benefits in curing most of the internal body conditions and is very useful in releasing stress and anxiety.

We can perform anulom vilom by following different steps. They are;

  1. Close your eyes and relax. Sit in this position for a couple of minutes till you settle down.
  2. Close your right nostril with your right thumb
  3. Breathe in from your left nostril. Hold the breath for a couple of seconds.
  4. Open right nostril and close left nostril with middle and ring finger
  5. Breath out from right nostril.
  6. Breathe in from right nostril, close the right nostril
  7. Open left nostril and breathe out.
  8. Repeat again, steps 1 through 7.

During kapalbhati the organs in and under the skull mainly the brain, small brain and any of the spaces inside the head that are connected to the back of the nose (sinus) are influenced in a good manner.

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