Yoga breathing exercises or Pranayama is a vital aspect of Yoga. Pranayama plays an important part in maintaining your mental well being. Yoga breathing exercises help to calm the nerves, relieves stress, cure mental disorders like depression, memory loss etc. and it is also sleep inducing, thus it cures insomnia as well. Yoga breathing is highly invigorating and rejuvenating.
You can practice yoga breathing exercises in between yoga asanas or you may do Pranayama at any time of the day, keeping a gap of at least 30 minutes after meals. You can do breathing exercises in sitting or lying position, but make sure to keep your spine, shoulder and neck in a straight line. In yoga different types of breathing exercises are done to treat different types of ailments.
Types Of Breathing In Yoga
1. Bhastrika Pranayama
This type of yoga breathing is a good way to start your breathing practice. It is easy to do and can be done in a lying position. Bhastrika Pranayama calms the mind and it improves concentration power. You should observe your breathing while inhaling and exhaling, which will help you to regulate the breath.
Sit down in a cross legged position either in Sukh Asana or Padam Asana and keep your back straight. Close your eyes and inhale deeply through the nose. Expand your abdomen while inhaling, hold the breath for 2-3 seconds and then slowly exhale while contracting your stomach. Relax and repeat Bhastrika Pranayama 5 times to start with and gradually increase the holding time and the count of inhaling and exhaling.
2. Anulom Vilom Pranayama (The Alternate Nostril Breathing)
This type of yoga breathing helps to relax. It has tremendous health benefits as it strengthens the immune system, treats sinusitis and cold and flu. Anulom Vilom Pranayama is strongly recommended for people suffering from respiratory disorder.
Sit down in a comfortable cross legged posture. Fold the index and middle fingers of your right hand in the palm. Close your left nostril with your ring finger and deeply inhale from the right nostril, close the right nostril with the thumb and hold the breath for 5 seconds. Release your left nostril and exhale through it. Inhale through the left nostril and close it with the ring finger. Count till 5 and exhale through right nostril. This completes one round of Anulom Vilom Pranayama. Do at least 5 rounds and gradually increase the holding time.
3. Kapalbhati Pranayama
Kapalbhati Pranayama is cleansing, invigorating and it helps to treat various types of allergies. It also improves your skin tone and cures skin related problems like acne, dark circles, blemishes and wrinkles. Sit down in a cross legged position. Take two or three easy breaths to prepare. Take a deep breath slowly and then sharply exhale while sucking your tummy in.Again inhale passively and exhale with force. Keep inhaling and exhaling in a rhythmic motion. Do 2-3 rounds of 20-30 breaths each, resting in between to prevent exhaustion. Kapalbhati Pranayama should be done under expert guidance as it can make you feel light headed if done in the wrong way.