Most of you take your breath for granted. It is like some mundane activity for you, as you think that without it, you may die. But, breathing has a bigger role to play in everybody’s lives. Pranayama or yogic breathing is a way of life. It is also quite popular as the ‘heart of yoga practice’.
Amazingly, if you have gone through the eight limbs of yoga, you will understand that Pranayama is the fourth limb. If you thought that asanas are most important, then you are wrong. They will lend you the physical strength, that you so desire. If you are not strong from outside, you cannot be strong from within. From the ancient times, rishis and yogis believed that Pranayama breathing exercises, have immense power. If you are able to master breathing, you can elevate your mood and your spirit as well.
When you are just starting your Pranayama journey, it makes sense to say that, not all pranayama practices are for all. So, here are a few that you can try as a beginner.
Pranayama Practices For Beginners
You should know a fact about Pranayama, and that is, you can increase your longevity, if you practice breath control. That is exactly what the ancient yogis did. Now, you know the reason, why they live so long. The segment mainly consists of breathing practices, wherein you control breathing, release it, or practice alternate breathing. No matter, which Pranayama you are starting with, you must ensure that your body is strong and you are mentally in good space. And for that, asanas are important and so is meditation. Now, you will learn about some of the main Pranayama exercises for beginners. Always start the practice under the tutelage of a Pranayama teacher.
- Ujjayi Pranayama – It is also known as Victorious breath. Moreover, it is one of the most common Pranayamas that beginners start with. You have to start this exercise by constricting the throat passage to regulate the flow of air. When you gently breathe out and then you breathe in, with some resistance, a well-modulated sound emanates. It is something like the sounds of the ocean. That is the reason why, you will hear many people calling it, Ocean breath. You can incorporate the breathing technique with Savasana quite easily.
- Nadi Shodhana – It is another form of Pranayama that you can practice as an absolute beginner. It can actually calm and quieten the mind and body. Moreover, it can also regulate the functioning of the nervous system. It is quite easy to practice this pose. You can sit in the Sukhasana, and make the Vishnu mudra. Close the right nostril, with the thumb, and inhale through the left nostril. Then close it with the ring finger and little finger. After some time, exhale through the right nostril. Furthermore, you have to keep the right nostril open, and inhale through that again. Close it again like before and then exhale through the left. So, this goes on and on. It is a continuous process.
- Kapalabhati or the Skull-Shining pose – This is another beginner-friendly Pranayama, which you can practice as a standalone breathing exercise or as a part of Shatkarma. It consists of short, forceful exhalations and slow, passive inhalations. Exhalation can be as powerful, as you can make them. You have to contract the lower belly to let out strong flows of air in short bursts. Inhalation helps you to suck in the pure air again. You can practice this pose either in a seated position or a lying down position.
- Simha Pranayama – It is another one of those Pranayama techniques, which you can practice today. Moreover, it is one of the most animated of all Pranayamas. Lion’s breath, which is actually the literal translation of this exercise, improves the flow of blood within the body and also relieves facial tension. It is believed to activate the throat chakra. You can start this exercise, by sitting in Vajrasana. Take some air and exhale out, to cleanse the lungs. On your next active exhale, you have to stick your tongue out and make a sound, that resembles the roaring of the lion. You can bring your eyes to the middle of the eyebrows in this Pranayama. Stretch the facial muscles as much as you can. Five rounds of this Pranayama can do you good.
Benefits of the Pranayama Exercises
- If you practice Pranayama on a regular basis, you can get relief from hypertension. It does so by normalizing the heart beats.
- It can also improve your digestive system functions. When you do such breathing exercises along with abdominal contractions, you are gently massaging the organs in the abdomen. So, in such cases, your digestive juices start flowing.
- When you practice diaphragmatic breathing, the lymph fluid moves a lot, and so does the white blood cells. They increase the body’s immunity. Moreover, when you are retaining your breath, it can also lead to an increased immunity.
- If you practice Pranayama on a regular basis, you will soon experience better respiratory functioning. All those who have respiratory issues will do good with this asana.
- Many people suffer from chronic stress and tension. You can help the same people get instant relief through the practice of Pranayama.
There are many different kinds of Pranayama techniques that you can practice today. But always keep in mind, that you should start it under some guidance. That is the reason why, you need to head to a good teacher for your Pranayama practice. Enroll in a Pranayama course at one of the best ashrams in the town. Once you know how to manage your breathing, you can do the best with your life. Tortoises are the longest living animals, and the reason for that, is its slow breathing rate. You will find that dogs have a shorter life, of 7-10 years. That is due to the fact that they breathe fast. Likewise, you will find many animals who breathe from fast to slow. So, longevity has an instant connection with breathing. Try these today!