“Prana” is a Sanskrit word that means ‘breath’. Pranayama, rightly means the way to control your breath. Breathing issues, of any kind are caused by one or other inconsistency in the body. Breathlessness, thus can be lethal to life.
Ancient scholars practiced a way to control breath in order to live a fruitful life. In the same way, each of us has the power to control the rhythms of pranic energy by practicing pranayama. Patanjali, a scholar, mentions in his Yoga Sutras that attaining a state of awareness is just as important as being able to hold a breath. Hatha yoga is a branch of yoga that proposes 8 types of pranayama for a healthy mind and body. While there are multiple kinds of pranayama, here are a few of those which you must include in your life without fail:
- Anuloma – viloma: One of the most popular forms of pranayama, it has been followed through ages. It is a derivative of Nadi Shodhana with minute alterations. Practicing this daily in the morning is said to balance tridoshas.
- Kapal Bhati: This technique is the one where you exhale the air from the lungs. Inhalation, here, is voluntary. This is done in the initial phases of meditation. It helps in improving attention and concentration. Furthermore, this helps in strengthening abdominal muscles and burns calories.
- Yogic breathing: This type of pranayama involves abdomen, chest and the entire clavicular region. It helps in inhaling and exhaling fully, thereby, aiding complete cycle of neutral breathing.
- Nadi Shodhana Pranayama: Anuloma-viloma is a derivative of this kind of pranayama. This alternate nostril-breathing technique eliminates all the obstructions in the pathway of nadis, enabling a clear breathing pathway. However, this type is the best for those wanting a balance of tridoshas (body, mind and soul).
- Ujjayi Pranayama: This kind of pranayama involves a specific sound from the throat. Experts believe that ujjayi pranayama helps in lowering blood pressure and that it helps in treating many ailments of ear, nose and throat. According to Ayurvedic texts, this pranayama stimulates the udana vata which controls functions of speech, memory, enthusiasm and immunity.
Aishwarya Iyer is a chai-vanist, Murakami fan, considerate companion and a bubbly speaker with a fanaticism for fitness.