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Pranayama is a Sanskrit word meaning "extension of the prana or breath" or more accurately, "extension of the life force". The word is composed of two Sanskrit words, Prāna, life force, or vital energy, particularly, the breath, and "āyāma", to extend, draw out, restrain, or control.


Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress related disorders, improving autonomic functions, relieving symptoms of asthma.
Pranayama is also beneficial in Psychosomatic Disorders incuding problems related to addiction, depression, mania and various other psychiatric problems.

Practitioners report that the practice of Pranayama develops a steady mind, strong will-power, and sound judgement, and also claim that sustained Pranayama practice extends life and enhances perception.

Types Of Pranayama include (but are not limited to):
1) Tribandha Pranayama - Pranayama with the 3 yogics locks engaged. Purakha - inhale, Rechaka - exhale, Kumbhaka - Breath Retention, Antara Kumbhaka - Inhale and hold, Bahya kumbhaka - exhale and hold.

Jalandhara Bandha
Jalandhara Bandha can be considered the throat lock that controls the flow of energy in the nerves and blood vessels of the neck. Jalandhara Bandha is normally performed in combination with specific breathing practices, and rarely done on its own. That said, it is immensely powerful, as it compresses the sinuses on the main arteries of the neck and in doing so helps regulate the circulatory and respiratory systems. The pressure on the throat helps to balance the thyroid and metabolism. And if no one is looking at you at work, engage Jalandhara Bandha as an instant trigger for mental relaxation as well as stress and anger relief.

Jalandhara Bandha

To find Jalandhara Bandha sit up tall, either in a comfortable cross legged position or on your shins with your hips on your heels. Place the palm of your hands on your knees. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, then exhale and bring your chin towards your neck and lift your sternum ever so slightly. Press down on your hands and straighten your elbows, pull your chin back further, and retain as long as possible. To exit, inhale and lift your chin.

2) Anuloma-Viloma (Alternate nostril breathing)

Anuloma Viloma

Anuloma Viloma is also called the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. In this Breathing Technique, you inhale through one nostril, retain the breath, and exhale through the other nostril and hold after exhaling. Continue this cycle for some rounds. The left nostril represents energy of the moon that symbolizes peace and tranquil and therefore, has a cooling effect. If you must purify the different Nadis or channels of the body, you must begin Anuloma Viloma pranayama with the left nostril and exhale with the right. This is referred to as "one cycle". Start the second cycle by inhaling with the right nostril and exhaling with the left. The left nostril is the path of the Nadi called Ida and the right nostril is the path of the Nadi called Pingala. Anuloma Viloma restores, equalizes and balances the flow of Prana in the body.

alternate nose breathing

Anuloma Viloma: The Scientific Confirmation

Medical science has recently discovered the nasal cycle, something that was already discovered by the Yogis thousands of years ago. Modern scientists found out that we do not breathe equally on both nostrils, that is one nostril is much easier to breathe through than the other at any particular time. Each nostril alternates about every three hours. The Yogis claim that the natural period is every two hours, but we must remember these studies were done on people who do not have an optimum Health level. Scientists also discovered that the nasal cycle corresponds with brain function. The electrical activity of the brain was found to be greater on the side opposite the less congested nostril. The right side of the brain controls creative activity, while the left side controls logical verbal activity. The research showed that when the left nostril was less obstructed, the right side of the brain was predominant - test subjects were indeed found to do better on creative tests. Similarly when the right nostril was less obstructed the left side of the brain was predominant - test subjects did better on verbal skills.

Medical science has not quite caught up with the ancient Yogis yet. The Ancient Yogis even went one step further. They observed that a lot of diseases were due to disturbances of the nasal cycle or if a person breathe for too long through one nostril. To prevent and correct this condition, they developed the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. This clears any blockage the airflow in the nostrils and reestablishes the natural nasal cycle. For example, the Yogis have known for a long time that prolonged breathing through the left nostril only (over a period of years) will cause Asthma. They also know that this so-called incurable disease can be easily treated by teaching the patient to breathe through the right nostril until the Asthma is cured and prevent it from recurring by doing the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. The Yogis also believe that Diabetes is caused, to a large extent, by breathing mainly through the right nostril.

Anuloma Viloma pranayama is an incredible energizer, which works effectively to relieve stress and anxiety. Regular practitioners have also treated their serious health conditions, which include heart problems, cartilage, depression, asthma, high blood pressure and arthritis. Some of the practitioners have also treated bent ligaments, neural issues, migraine pain and sinus by exercising Anuloma Viloma pranayama. The traditional practice is mainly exercised for relaxation and strengthening of the mind and it also prepares the entire body for meditation.

3) Surya/Chandra Bhedana Pranayama (Single Nostril Breathing)
  • Traditionally, Surya Bhedana is said to stimulate the brain and increase body heat.
  • Chandra Bhedana isn't usually listed among formal pranayamas in traditional texts; but it's reasonable to assume that its effects are opposite that of Surya Bhedana: it quiets the brain and cools the body.
4) Brahmari Pranayama

Bhramari pranayama

Brahmari pranayama is useful in curing paralysis and migraines. People of all ages can perform this breathing exercise including pregnant women. When performed during the period of pregnancy, it can help maintain and regulate the functioning of the endocrine system and provide trouble-free and easy child birth. The extended, buzzing exhalation makes it very beneficial for pregnant women, in preparation for labor. Brahmari pranayama is usually performed after completing Anulom vilom to obtain its full potential. Brahmari means Bumble bee.
In this breathing practice your lips are supposed to be shut, and you are supposed to gently and smoothly make a sound like a humming bee in your throat. Your arms are up with the elbows out and block your ears by placing the tips of your thumbs over the ears. Press your fingers on the eyes. Do not apply any pressure. Join the tip of the tongue to the upper palette of the mouth. Chant the humming bee sound from the base of the throat.
This simple practice is very helpful in making the breath smooth and quieting the mind. You can feel the sound vibrations in your throat, jaws, and face. This practice is so simple and straightforward, it can be done by anyone, regardless of age or background. It's a kind of breathing exercise that develops powers of concentration memory and confidence. Brahmari is sometimes known as humming breath and also renders a sweet clear voice to the practitioner. Hence it is highly recommended for singers.


6) Ujjayi Pranayama
Ujjayi is often called the "sounding" breath or "ocean sounding" breath, and somewhat irreverently as the "Darth Vader" breath.

Ujjayi Pranayama

It involves constricting the back of the throat while breathing to create an "ah" sound - thus the various "sounding" names. Ujjayi is engaged throughout the Ashtanga Yoga (Power Yoga) practise.


Benefits of Ujjayi:
1) Focuses the mind
2) Increases mindfulness
3) Generates internal heat

4) Peps up metabolism leading to greater weight reduction during Power Yoga practise

Agnisar Kriya

Agnisar Kriya

Agni means fire and Sara means wash so it literally means to wash the fire chakra (Manipur Chakra) located at the navel centre.
This yogic kriya stimulates the immune system, increases the power of digestion and increases the heat in the body, burning off toxins. It is also helpful for diabetes, naturally, stimulates the immune system of the individual.

Lean forward with the spine straight. Keeping the back straight, the head upright, allow the abdominal muscles to relax, draw the navel inwards, exhale out completely, holding the breath after exhaling, begin to snap the abdomen backwards and forwards 15 - 20 times. Breathe before it becomes too uncomfortable.



1. Happiness. Meditation can help us to cultivate a real abiding happiness. Meditation allows us to be in tune with our inner self. When we live in the heart we can experience a sense of oneness with others, this brings a happiness that does not depend upon outer events.

2. Inner Peace. Most people would like to experience more inner peace in their lives; at times peace feels an elusive quality because our lives are so hectic. Meditation teaches us how to switch off from the noise of the mind, we no longer give importance to the teeming thoughts which fly through our mind. Through meditation we can gain a clear state of mind; this is the secret of feeling a real inner peace.


3. Health Benefits. There have been numerous studies showing a link between meditation and improved physical health. Meditation is a practical solution to relieve stress. When we relieve stress we help to reduce our blood pressure and heart related diseases.

4. Simplicity. Meditation helps to simplify our lives. When we live in the mind we can feel life is nothing but teeming problems and worries. Through learning to meditate we find we can get joy from appreciating the simplicity of life.

Meditation simplifies our outer life and energizes our inner life. Meditation gives us a natural and spontaneous life, a life that becomes so natural and spontaneous that we cannot breathe without being conscious of our own divinity.


5. Living in the Present. When we analyse the thoughts that go through our mind we find that many of them are dealing with the past or present. We are either fearful of the future or ruminating on the past. However by dwelling on the past or future, it means we are unable to live in the present moment. When we meditate we are completely in the here and now. Meditation teaches us to appreciate life as it is; we learn to value our present circumstances.

6. Better Relations with Others. Often we can have minor conflicts with other people because we dwell on minor faults of the other person. Whether it is justified or not, it is a common source of unhappiness and division. Meditation teaches us to give no importance to minor thoughts. When we meditate powerfully we develop a sense of oneness with other people; we naturally look to their good qualities. Their minor faults seem unimportant.

7. To discover a real sense of who we are. Our intellectual mind can seek to discover the answer to many questions, but the one question of who am I? always remains unanswered. To discover our real self; to be aware of our own soul we have to go beyond the mind. It is in meditation that we can become aware of a living spiritual presence. When we find this we feel a new purpose in life.

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