Pranayama is control and awareness of breath. ‘Prana’ means breath, energy, life or strength and ‘Ayama’ means to control or restrain. Pranayama signifies an extension of breath and its control. It is typically defined as a set of breathing practices designed to control prana (energy) within the human body.
Diaphragmatic breathing is also referred to as abdominal breathing, or deep breathing since the belly expands and contracts with each inhalation and exhalation. Benefits: – It helps you relax and lower the stress hormone cortisol – It helps lower your blood pressure – Increases supply of oxygen and nutrients to cells throughout the body
Ujjayi is the most basic breathing practice done in yoga. In this process, lungs are fully expanded and filled with air. Benefits: – This pranayama ventilates the lungs and gives you strength – Improves your concentration – Releases tension throughout the body – Regulates heating and cooling of the body, warming the core from the inside – Ujjayi is practised without holding breath (Kumbhaka) and is beneficial for people suffering from blood pressure problems
Nadi Shodhana, also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing, is a powerful breathing practice. Nadi means channel and Shodhana mean purification. Benefits: – Reduces stress and anxiety – Calms and rejuvenates the nervous system – Helps balance hormones – Supports clear and balanced respiratory channels – Enhances the ability to concentrate – Brings balance to the left and right hemispheres of the brain
Kumbhaka is the retention of the breath in the hatha yoga practice of pranayama. It has two types, accompanied whether after inhalation or after exhalation and, the ultimate aim, unaccompanied. That state is kevala kumbhaka, the complete suspension of the breath for as long as the practitioner wishes. Benefits: – Clears your thoughts and develops concentration – Activates prana or vital energy, thus promotes mental and physical vitality – Supports the purification process and thereby is a great help in attaining the best possible health – Develops the capacity of your respiratory system
‘Kapala’ means skull and ‘Bhati’ means light. It is also referred to as Light Skull Breathing or Skull Brightener Breath. Benefits: – Kapalabhati is a warming pranayama. It helps to cleanse the lungs, sinuses, and respiratory system – Regular practice strengthens the diaphragm and abdominal muscles – This exercise also increases your body’s oxygen supply, which stimulates and energises the brain while preparing it for meditation and work that requires high focus