(Last Updated on : 10/05/2014)
Pranayama breathing exercises comprise several of them in different kinds. If one is in reality concerned in working with this powerful tool, a few basic exercises illustrated below are the ones an individual can follow-
Deep breathing, or the complete breath
This is as uncomplicated as it sounds. One first needs to sit down in a relaxed position and watch the path of breath, making both inhalation and exhalation as fully as achievable. It is advised to breathe deep into the belly, then into the chest and eventually into the shoulders and throat. Later, one needs to exhale, inverting the order, and repeating it a number of times.
Breath of fire
This is a speedy, diaphragmatic breathing using rapid, light breaths formed by snapping in the muscles of the abdomen in quick progression.
Alternate nostril breathing
This is an unhurried, systematic breath which works on the central nervous system and results in increased easiness and deeper sleep. One needs to close off the right nostril with the right hand and breathe deeply through the left nostril. When the breath is full, one should close off the left nostril and exhale through the right side. When the breath is empty again, one must inhale again through the right side, shifting when full and exhaling on the left. The outline is to inhale, switch, exhale, inhale, switch, and exhale. It should be continued 20 times or more on each side. Practicing this exercise institutes intense changes in consciousness.
"Bandha" means lock, and the bandhas of pranayama are processes of holding the breath and locking it into specific parts of the body. There are three fundamental bandhas- the chin lock, the abdominal lock, and the anal lock that works on preservation of the breath in the three key areas of the body.
The chin lock, or jalandhara-bandha, sends energy to the head, and energises the thyroid gland and throat chakra. One needs to basically inhale fully, contract the throat, and lower the head toward the chest, keeping the back straight. One needs to hold the breath as long as at ease, but it should never be pushed, because it can make one feel quite weak if done inappropriately.
The abdominal lock, or uddiyana-bandha is performed in a standing position. It assists to massage internal digestive organs, and cleanse the body. One must inhale fully and exhale deeply. While the body is empty of air, it is advised to hold the breath empty, and pull in the stomach and abdomen as far as possible, in the process being cautious never to inhale. The breath needs to be held as long as comfortable and inhaled, by gradually relaxing the abdominal muscles.
The mulabandha or anal lock tones the root chakra. It is practiced by tightening up the perineum and anal sphincter after inhalation while the breath is held. This energises sleeping Kundalini.