Pranayama is an important aspect of yoga practice. Pranayama is a Sanskrit name which is translated as an extension of the prana. Prana means life force. It helps in controlling the breath and soothing the fluctuation of the mind, body, and spirit. According to Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, Pranayama is the fourth limb of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga.
Pranayama Yoga practices preliminary focus on concentration, active thinking, helps you gain a sense of mindfulness, makes you self-aware and conscious, and syncs the body movement with the breath. So let’s know more about the Pranayama yoga breathing exercises for beginners.
Kapalbhati Pranayama (Skull Shining or Cleansing Breath)
Kapalbhati is a simple, best and powerful Pranayama yoga breathing exercise for beginners. In this yoga breathing, inhaling is passive and almost non- extant, while the exhalation is strong and forceful, which engages your abdomen muscles.
How to practice- Keep your spine erect and put your right palm on your stomach. Now take a deep breath in and exhale powerfully. Every inhalation should be passive, but exhalation should be powerful. As a beginner, practice it for 25 repetitions.
Benefits- It releases backache, neck pain, strengthens back and stomach muscles, rejuvenates tired cells, reduces aging signs, and improves circulation.
Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious Breath)
This yoga breathing exercise attains its name from the mild hissing sound that comes out as you breathe in. Sometimes ocean-like sound is also formed during the process of inhalation while practicing Ujjayi. This is one of the best yoga breathing techniques to calm the breath and build internal body heat.
How to practice- Sit straight with a relaxed neck and shoulder. Breathe in deeply through the nose and breathe out through the mouth. While exhaling through the mouth, make an ‘AH’ sound by constricting your throat. Once you get comfortable, close your mouth and start exhalation from the nose and make the same sound. As a beginner, start practicing it for five minutes and slowly extend your time.
Benefits- This exercise helps you to establish a link between the movements and the breath. It increases metabolism, enhances memory, improves skin, boosts the immune system, and promotes a sound mental health.
Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows Breathing)
The pranayama includes vigorous breathing which consists of powerful series of inhaling and exhaling. Bhastrika Pranayama is a fast-paced breathing exercise as compared to other techniques. This breathing exercise is a complete ‘no’ for those with respiratory or cardiac conditions and for menstruating and pregnant women.
How to practice- Sit straight and give your back support of a wall or chair. Now take a deep breath, filling lungs with air and then gently breathe out. Take the same length of time with each inhalation and exhalation. Try to do at least three rounds of ten breaths.
Benefits- This technique pressurizes the abdomen, so is good for the abdominal muscles. It helps in improving appetite, increases oxygen content in blood, and removes nose and chest congestion.
Sheetkari Pranayama (Cooling Breath)
Another of the amazing yoga breathing exercises for beginners, Sheetkari Pranayama is good for those who have frequent bouts of restlessness and anger. So for all the hot-heads, Sheetkari Pranayama will help you to go easy and cool down.
How to practice- Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Now press your teeth together, roll your tongue, and part your lips. Inhale slowly and deeply, through the gaps between your teeth through the rolled-out tongue. Try this exercise for 10 minutes and gradually increase the time.
Benefits- This breathing exercise helps lower the body temperature and is highly beneficial for those experiencing hot flashes and fever. You can also practice this yoga breathing technique during winters. It also benefits the throat, tongue and corrects your digestion.
Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
This yoga breathing technique is considered as the simplest breathing exercise among all. This breathing exercise has great healing powers to treat serious ailments.
How to practice- Sit in a relaxed position with your back straight. Now close the right nostril with the right thumb and place the index finger of your right hand between your eyebrows. Later, use the ring finger of your right hand to close the left nostril. Now slowly inhale from the left nostril and then remove the thumb from the right nostril to exhale. Repeat the process for 5 minutes while you can gradually increase the time.
Benefits- Good for concentration, cures mental issues, and is beneficial for breath-related issues.
With these yoga breathing exercises for beginners, take a deep breath, revitalize, and let it go.