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.

 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  1. Nadi Shodona ( Alternate Nostrils Breath)
    • What is it: breathing technique that helps clear blocked energy channels, thus calming the mind.
    • How to do it:
      1. Close the right nostril with the right hand tumb
      2. Breathe through the left nostril (6sec)
      3. Close the both nostril with tumb and 4th finger to hold the breath (6 sec, called KHUMBAKA
      4. Open the right nostril and close the left nostril with the 4th finger.
      5. Breathe through the right nostril (6 sec)
  • What I felt: It helped to relieve nervousness and headaches.

 

  1. 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.