(Last Updated on : 03/03/2010)
In the period of ancient India, eminent yogic scholars have enumerated different types of Pranayama. Separate schools have originated each throwing insight into their own viewpoints and concepts. Types of Pranayama area are as follows:
Patanjali's types of Pranayama
Bhagavan Patanjali have distinguished four types of Pranayama , depending upon the nature of taking pauses. In the first type , the pause is made after a thorough exhalation. When the pause is made after a deep inhaling, it would comprise of second type. In both first and second types, the students need to take special efforts to hold his breath out or in. No special efforts are needed to undertake in the third and fourth types. In the third type, the student has the liberty to stop respiring at his will and also continues it for quite sometime very easily without much physical exertion. Like the third type, in the fourth type too, a student can take pauses. However one needs to exhale air for sometimes before inhalation and then takes pauses. In the literary works of the later period various names have been given to these types of Pranayama. The first type of Pranayama is known as Bahya ' Kumbhaka while the second type is called Abhyantara ' Kumbhaka, 'Kevala Kumbhakas' refer to both third and fourth types of Pranayama.
From his commentaries few derivations can be made regarding theses types of Pranayama. Patanjali exclusively coins the words Bahya and Abhyantara.
Today, the modern physiologists have derived the concept of 'apnea', though in a more elongated form, from Kevala Kumbhakas. Apnea denotes an ephemeral pause that occurs after forceful respiration. However any concrete scientific evidences can't support this linkage. Still everything is said on the basis of assumptions. However this simple analogy helps a layman to comprehend the true nature of Kumbhaka to some extent.
Svatmarama's Types of Pranayama
In the famous book of Hatha Yoga, namely, Hatha-Pradipika, the writer Svatmarama Suri categorized 8 types of Kumbhaka, an alternative name given for Pranayama. Ujjayi and Bhastrika are the names of the first two most significant types of Pranayama or Kumbhaka. Suri also made the segregation as per the nature of each and every Kumbhaka.
Thus both Patanjali and Svatmarama had maintained uniqueness in categorizing different types of Pranayama.