We have often heard or read that breathing is the basic technique which is taught when you enrol for a yoga practice. Certainly, it is true. We might not have observed it because breathing is an involuntary action. But when it comes to practicing yoga, it is all about breathing. Yogis believe that if we can manage effective breathing, we are already on our way to cleanse the mind, body, and soul. This is the reason pranayama is given utmost importance apart from the asanas and poses.
It may be that you have a packed work schedule and find it hard to dedicate time to your yoga practice. If you are unable to spare 30 minutes; a 10 minute workout of the below mentioned breathing techniques will offer the same benefits.
1. Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean Breath)
Procedure: Stay in padmasana, keeping your back upright with eyes closed. Now, breathe in and out through the nose. All you need to keep in mind is while exhaling, constrict the muscles of the back of the throat. This exhaling will produce a sound of ‘HA’. This pose is often done in combination with other yoga poses or exercises. But that doesn’t mean that one can’t practice ujjayi pranayama alone.
Benefits: This breathing technique inspires the cardiorespiratory system, calms the mind and the body and flushes out frustration. Repetitive practice of this technique improves the amount of oxygen in the blood, provides energy, and maintains rhythm while practicing other exercises. It detoxifies the mind and body by releasing tension and builds up internal heat in the body.
2. Sitali Pranayama (The Cooling breath)
Procedure: Sit in any relaxed pose with back upright as usual. Now, curl the sides of your tongue inward so that it appears to be a straw. Breathe in through the mouth and hold the air for 5-7 breathe. Exhale the air through the nose.
Benefits: With this breathing technique, you improve the quality of breaths. The cooling sensation of breath can be felt throughout the body. The cooling effect of this technique is beneficial for the nervous system and endocrine gland. Apart from relieving stress, it also detoxifies the body from unhealthy agents. It may also help in enhancing concentration and controlling thirst and hunger of the body. It also cures bad breath.
3. Kapalabhati Pranayama (Skull Cleanser)
Procedure: Sit in a relaxed pose and keep your hands on the knees, palms facing upwards. Breathe in and fill up the lungs with air calmly. Now, suck in the stomach towards the back. Relax the contraction and exhale while bursting out in small portions. As you exhale, a sound will be produced; you will feel all the negativity coming out from the body.
Benefits: This pranayama helps in activating the chakras of the body. It enhances the strength and capacity of the lungs and cures asthma and sinus. The good amount of oxygen in the body improves blood circulation and rejuvenates the brain and nerves. Moreover, it helps in rapid weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate. Repetitive practice of this technique will help in fighting depression, diabetes, and gas related issues etc.
4. Brahmari Pranayama (Humming Bee)
Procedure: While sitting in a relaxed pose, place your index finger on the cartilage of the ears. Breathe in and close your eyes. Press the cartilage of the ears softly and keep your eyes closed and exhale. While exhaling make a high pitched humming sound; just like a bee. Repeat it 4-5 times.
Benefits: The humming sound produced releases your mind, body, and soul from cerebral tension, anxiety, and aggression and stimulates the nervous system. This technique is often suggested to someone who is going through a disturbed mind. It offers calmness to the body and senses and induces better sleep. Practicing this technique during pregnancy promotes trouble-free childbirth.
5. Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Procedure: Just like other breathing techniques, sit in a relaxed pose. Close your right nostril with the thumb of the right hand; inhale through the left nostril. Let the air stay in for a few seconds. Now, close your left nostril with the ring finger of the same right hand; exhale through the right nostril. Again, inhale through the right nostril and follow the same steps; repeat at least ten times.
Benefits: This technique works as a therapy for the body. It brings your thoughts to the current mind and brings balance and calmness to the brain. It strongly acts as an asset for the circulatory and respiratory system. Apart from relieving stress from the body, it improves reflexes. It maintains a balance between the two lobes of the brain for better logical and emotional perspectives. It also purifies and channelizes the energy released by the chakras in the body. Also, it plays a crucial role in maintaining the body temperature.
Try combining these top 5 breathing techniques in your daily workout and experience the results yourself.