Pranayama lies at the heart of Yoga. 2/6 Su Yeon (Janet) Hong
As going into 4 th week of YTT, I have realized and experienced the power and importance of pranayama in the yogo practice. I have read that yoga gurus actually rank pranayama over asana as the most important part of the practice.
I learned several types of pranayama during theory classes and actually had chances to practice before asana practice. Here are the summary of what I learned and felt in person.
- UJJAYI (Ocean’s Breath)
- What is it: Basic yoga breathing technique to slow down, regulate, extend the breath during active practice
- How to do it: Breath in & out through nose not mouth. During exhalation, create ‘Ocean sound’ by slightly constricting the back of the throat.
- What I felt: It helped calm and focus my mind during asana practice.
- Kapalabhati (Skull Shining Breath)
- What is it: advanced yoga breathing technique that cleanses and detoxifies the mind & body. (Traditional internal cleansing technique-Kryias)
- How to do it: passive inhalation, active exhalation. Rest the hands on lower belly. Forcefully expel all the air from your lungs while drawing your navel in toward your spine. (Cautions; Not for persons with high or low pressure, with heart disease, problem with eyes, ears, period, pregency)
- What I felt: I practiced 3 rounds of 10 exhalations and it totally warmed up my body and a bit dizzy. I felt so awaken and energized after the practice.
- Bhramari (Bumble Bee Breath)
- What is it: this breath works on calming the nerves especially around the brain and forehead. The humming sound vibrations have a natural calming effect to soothe anxiety.
- How to do it: Inhale through the nose, then hum like a buzzing bee as you exhale.
- What I felt: It brought the focus of mind by distracting thoughts and felt calm and very relaxed and at ease.
- Nadi Shodona ( Alternate Nostrils Breath)
- What is it: breathing technique that helps clear blocked energy channels, thus calming the mind.
- How to do it:
- Close the right nostril with the right hand tumb
- Breathe through the left nostril (6sec)
- Close the both nostril with tumb and 4th finger to hold the breath (6 sec, called KHUMBAKA
- Open the right nostril and close the left nostril with the 4th finger.
- Breathe through the right nostril (6 sec)
- What I felt: It helped to relieve nervousness and headaches.
- Bhastrika (Bellow’s Breath)
- What is it: powerful and energetic pranayama, the yoga breath of fire. It gives strength to lungs and improves immune system. Helps in allergies, asthama
- How to do it: Place hands on side of ribs. Breathe through nose. Active inhalation & active exhalation. Open and close ribs (not stomach) to get sufficient amount of oxygen.
- What I felt: it totally heated up my body.